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  (Source: Smart Power)
Study says skeptics are not well-informed on the topic

Stanford University recently conducted a study that shows a minimal number of scientists who do not accept that human beings have contributed to the Earth's climate change have "far less expertise and prominence in climate research" than scientists who do believe climate change has been affected by humans. 

The university came to these conclusions by analyzing the number of research papers published "by more than 900 climate researchers" and the number of times these researchers' works were cited by other scientists. The expertise was evaluated by citing the number of research papers written by scientists (with the minimum number for inclusion being 20).

Prominence was analyzed by finding the four most popular climate change and non-climate change papers published by scientists, and "tallying" the number of times these papers were cited. According to the results, approximately 64 percent of papers by climate researchers convinced of human contribution were cited more often than those who are unconvinced. 

"These are standard academic metrics used when universities are making hiring or tenure decisions," said William Anderegg, lead author of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists who participated in the study were also involved in creating the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which compiled and "assessed the evidence for and against human involvement in climate change, as well as any climate researchers who signed a major public statement disagreeing with the findings of the panel's report."

In addition, the university's team of scientists decided on who the top 100 climate researchers are by determining the "total number of climate-related publications each had." According to Anderegg, 97 percent of those in the top 100 agree with and/or endorse the IPCC's assessment. He also says that this result has been "borne out" by other studies that use different methodology.  

"We really wanted to bring the expertise dimension into this whole discussion," said Anderegg. "We hope to put to rest the notion that keeps being repeated in the media and by some members of the public that 'the scientists disagree' about whether human activity is contributing to climate change."

The scientists at Stanford have mentioned that they are ready to take some heat from doubters of anthropogenic, or human-affected, climate change who "object to their data." But according to Stephen Schneider, a professor of biology and a coauthor of the paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team "took pains to avoid any sort of prejudice or skewed data in their analysis." When selecting researchers for the study who either disagreed with statements of the IPCC or signed the petitions, the Stanford team was sure to stay completely neutral in the study by omitting "those who had no published papers in the climate literature."

Schneider says that despite the careful analysis of this study, skeptics of human-affected climate change will "claim foul" anyway, and will say that climate researchers who are onboard with the idea of anthropogenic climate change are "just trying to deny publication of the doubters' opinion," but he challenges them to "go out and do a study to prove it -- it is of course not true."

"I think the most typical criticism of a paper like this -- not necessarily in academic discourse, but in the broader context -- is going to be that we haven't addressed these sorts of differences could be due to some clique or, at the extreme, a conspiracy of the researchers who are convinced of climate change," Anderegg said. 

"When you stop to consider whether some sort of 'group think' really drives these patterns and it could really exist in science in general, the idea is really pretty laughable," he said. "All of the incentives in science are exactly the opposite."

This Stanford study is the first of its kind to address the issue of scientists' opinions of human-affected climate change, and what their level of expertise and prominence in the field is. 

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Is this news?
By Exodite on 6/28/2010 1:54:18 PM , Rating: 1

It's big money doing their best to spread FUD and trying to discredit legitimate research because they have significant investments into maintaining our current lifestyle and consumption.


Call it lobbying, astroturfing, clever language-wrangling, outright bribery or whatever but in the end it's still FUD.

As mentioned before it's exactly the same thing that were happening regarding the tobacco industry and their claims that 'smoking hasn't been proven detrimental to your health'.

Of course man has made a severe impact on the environment, it may well be a cascade effect further exacerbated by our current position in the natural warming/cooling cycle but the idea that we have no blame in the climate changes we're currently seeing is ludicrous at best. It's also as much a localized US phenomenon as the denial of smoking hazards were.

More importantly perhaps is the fact that it's also FUD.

By fueling the argument about who's to blame the more important issue, namely what we're doing about it, keeps getting neatly circumvented.

It doesn't matter whether or not humans are directly responsible, indirectly responsible or not at all responsible for global warming or through which means it came to be.

The only thing that matters is that we combat the effect to the point where we can maintain comfortable habitat zones, doesn't crash our overly fragile and willful world economy and avoid killing of a significant amount of bio-diversity outside of our own species.

As for the argument how we can care for the environment and improve our standard of living that's a trivial exercise.

Dislike smog? Into fishing and would prefer there actually being fish in the lakes as opposed to an aquarium? Don't like the smell, or look, of the growing landfill? Want to combat obesity and health issues with better food? Or even cheap and safe drugs derived from the many undiscovered species of flora still out there?

In the end being alive to enjoy the fruits of our hard work towards reducing the negative impact on our environment, as opposed to enjoying doing nothing right now and being dead when it matters, is a damn compelling argument.

Sadly humanity needs to be confronted with a hard, immediate choice to wake up. Merely warning signs won't do.

To use the smoking analogy once again, my father were a pack-a-day smoker for close to 50 years despite generally failing health and lung problems acquired from working in heavy industry. He kept smoking until his physician gave him the choice of giving up smoking immediately or dying within 18 months.

I'm not here to argue the point with the nay-sayers, they're a lost cause and nothing can be served by arguing, but I'd suggest those who feel themselves targeted stop and ask themselves what it'd take to convince them, personally, that our lifestyle isn't sustainable and do something about it.

Anybody can change the world, all that's required is that you start with the person in the mirror.

RE: Is this news?
By Stacey Melissa on 6/28/2010 5:57:08 PM , Rating: 1
As mentioned before it's exactly the same thing that were happening regarding the tobacco industry and their claims that 'smoking hasn't been proven detrimental to your health'.

It's also exactly the same game creationists play. See the Wedge strategy:

This Stanford study is great, but what climate scientists really need is their own Project Steve:

Ultimately, I think America will get past our AGW denial, unlike evolution denial, since AGW denial doesn't have anything to do with the Bible. The problem is that there are far more important and impending real life consequences to AGW denial than there are to evolution denial.

RE: Is this news?
By phxfreddy on 7/4/2010 12:02:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yes poor dumb America will get past its climate denial. But not for the reason you think.

We're currently in / entering the first phase of an economic depression. Soon the entire issue will be wiped off the political map.

Where there is no global warming scam there is no global warming "denial". Or as technically talented and truthful people call it "calling a scam ....a scam"

RE: Is this news?
By Paj on 6/28/2010 5:57:12 PM , Rating: 2

It's clear to anyone that our current levels of consumption will exceed the planets capacity. Our entire economic system is predicated on unlimited growth. I'm all for standard of living, and have utmost faith in human ingenuity to solve the problems we face. But we do need to solve them, and we dont have unlimited time in which to do so.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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