100% consensus

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher. He denied the consensus on man-made climate change. It’s what he does. He’s a denier.

To support his claim that the 97% consensus isn’t real, Santorum said “The head of the U.N. IPC [sic] said that number was pulled out of thin air.” Rick Santorum is wrong.

He’s almost certainly referring to Richard Tol, who actually said that the 97% figure was pulled out of thin air. Richard Tol was one of the “lead authors” of the latest IPCC reports — one of over 680 lead authors of the latest IPCC reports. Richard Tol contributed to one chapter out of three reports: chapter 10 of working group II: “Key economic sectors and services.” He was one of 8 lead authors on that one chapter of one of the three IPCC reports: the one about economic sectors and services. You see, Richard Tol is not a climate scientist. He’s a professor of economics at Sussex University, and of “the Economics of Climate Change” at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He’s an economist.

Richard Tol isn’t the head of the U.N. IPCC. Where Rick Santorum got that idea? I don’t know; maybe he pulled it out of his ass.

Out of over 680 lead authors, Rick Santorum managed to find 1 of 8 lead authors on one chapter in three massive reports who dismisses the 97% consensus — then told America that he was “head of the U.N. IPC” (it’s IPCC, not IPC). Richard Tol damn sure ain’t “head of the U.N. IPC [sic].”

Santorum went on to say that the 97% consensus was based on a survey of 77 scientists. Rick Santorum is wrong again. He’s probably referring to the study by Doran (2009), which found 75 of 77 actual climate scientists endorsed the consensus view. But the consensus comes from many studies, not just one survey, starting with Oreskes 2004, in which, out of 928 scientific research papers about climate, none disagreed with the consensus view. Cook et al. (2013) found that of 4,014 climate science research papers, 97% which stated a position endorsed the consensus view, and among the 10,356 scientists who authored those 4014 papers, 98.4% endorsed the consensus view.

But misstating “facts” is the kind of thing we expect from Rick Santorum. Rather than do some of the work required actually to learn about the subject, he’ll do nothing more than listen to those who tell him what he wants ot hear, then lie to America so he can push his political agenda. I’d rather have a president who was willing to get to the bottom of things, to find out the real deal, than one who’s intellectually lazy and so agenda-driven that he’ll spout drivel about an issue as important as global warming.

While we’re on the subject of consensus, consider this: here in the U.S. our nation’s science academy is called the “National Academy of Sciences” (started during the administration of President Lincoln). They’ve stated clearly, unambiguously, that climate change is real, it’s caused by human beings, and it’s dangerous.

Perhaps the most prestigious national science academy in the world is that of Great Britain: the Royal Society. They’ve stated clearly, unambiguously, that climate change is real, it’s caused by human beings, and it’s dangerous.

The same is true of the national science academies of France, Germany, Italy, Russia, China, Japan, Belgium, Australia, etc. etc. etc. Worldwide, over 30 national science academies have said the same thing: climate change is real, it’s caused by human beings, and it’s dangerous. The number of national science academies which have made contrary statements, equals zero.

That’s one hell of a consensus — not of single scientists, or thousands of scientific research papers, but of the most prestigious science academies of the nations of the world. Among those that have weighed in on the subject, the consensus isn’t 97%, it’s 100%.

21 responses to “100% consensus

  1. Or at least >99,9% according to James Powell http://www.jamespowell.org/

  2. Richard Tol is also a member of the “Academic Advisory Council” of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, (a the Chairman of which is former Conservative Chancellor (Finance Minister) Nigel Lawson.
    The Chairman of the “Academic Advisory Council” is Ross McKitrick, and fellow member include Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, Freeman Dyson, Richard Lindzen, Matt Ridley, Nir Shaviv, Henrik Svensmark, David Whitehouse and Philip Stott.

    Rather than make any further comments concerning this bunch of misinformers, I would merely remark that I am not at all surprised to learn that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum apparently regards them as a source of information.

  3. While this Rick Sanatorium may be a proper signed-up member of the US Republican Guard, here in the UK we do things properly. As well as the Royal Society, we further cultivate education with the likes of charitable educators like the GWPF, the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy (they being paid for by the taxpayer, they being a charity and all). These self-appointed philanthropists tell us they are (thank goodness) “unique. (They) are an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity which, while open-minded on the contested science of global warming, is deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated.” Okay they are full of total crap.
    To keep these numpties on the straight and narrow they employ an Advisory Academic Council which includes the likes of Dr Tricky Dicky Tol. Now Tricky Dicky doesn’t really say that the AGW consensus is drawn from thin air. Rather he says “There is no doubt in my mind that the literature on climate change overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that climate change is caused by humans. I have very little reason to doubt that the consensus is indeed correct. Cook et al., however, failed to demonstrate this.” Thus his complaint isn’t the conclusion which he entirely agrees with. Rather it is the evidence supporting that conclusion he attempts to discredit (a task he fails to achieve).
    Of course the confusion wrought by such as Dr Tol is simply too much for simpletons like of Rick Sanatorium. We can but hope that the UK Charity Commission will eventually realise the GWPF and their so-called Academic Advisory Council (‘so-called’ because do they actually ever meet or even communicate to give council? Is their existence any more that nameplate bullshit?) are simply taking the piss and that they decide to remove their charitable status properly. These lying scoundrels at the GWPF bring the word “charity” into disrepute!!!

  4. Believe me, like J.B.S. Haldane’s statement about the universe, Mr. Santorum is crazier than you can imagine. Of all the candidates running, he’s the only one I seriously think needs psychiatric help. Please don’t ask me for details, but it’s something we’re acquainted with in this state (Pennsylvania). Check the internet if you want details.

  5. Actually you underestimate the breadth of the Royal Society. It consists of the leading scientists not just from Great Britain but from the Commonwealth which includes India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and a bundle of other countries that were once part of the British Empire

  6. AndereggEA also worth a mention.

    Then there’s Wiki


    As of 2007, when the American Association of Petroleum Geologists released a revised statement, no scientific body of national or international scientists rejects the findings of human-induced effects on climate change.”


    “AAPG president Lee Billingsly wrote in March 2007:

    Members have threatened to not renew their memberships… if AAPG does not alter its position on global climate change… And I have been told of members who already have resigned in previous years because of our current global climate change position… The current policy statement is not supported by a significant number of our members and prospective members.”

  7. Horatio Algeranon

    “Richard Tol isn’t the head of the U.N. IPCC. Where Rick Santorum got that idea? I don’t know; maybe he pulled it out of his ass.”

    Richard Tol is up Rick Santorum’s ass?

    No wonder they both always seems so agitated.

  8. I would assume, perhaps wrongly, that Santorum doesn’t believe a word he says. Indeed, that he cares not one wit if what he says is true of false, as long as it helps him gain power. Of course, he could passionately believe this stuff, but that would seem to be an untestable hypothesis.

  9. Pete Dunkelberg

    I take it Santorum did not name Tol. My guess is that Santorum never heard of Tol and his whole statement is fantasy.

  10. I saw that episode and it really depressed me, because I felt that, if I were your typical science-challenged ignorant American, I would have thought Santorum was more convincing. He exuded confidence (of course, because he believes his own bullshit). Maher by contrast seemed uncharacteristically flummoxed. I don’t have to take a survey to know that 99.99% of the audience isn’t going to check this blog to see who was actually correct.

    [Response: I quite understand. That’s why it’s up to us to spread the word. And we must not just emphasize that the consensus is oh-so-real, we must emphasize, beat the drum, shout from the mountaintop that Rick Santorum and his ilk are deliberately misleading us.

    It will be difficult to do. But if we succeed, we can turn Santorum’s “triumph” into his own downfall. That’s worth the effort.

    I suggest that everyone reading this can start by spreading the word via twitter. Maybe use a good hashtag, like #RickSantorumLied]

  11. I heard some of a speech then-Sen. Santorum gave a few years ago. I recall he said he was a “man of faith” who takes his guidance on legislation (I believe that was the subject he was carrying-on about) from God. I wondered how such men reconcile their faith with the actions they take on behalf of corporations (creations of laws made by men). Especially when the actions of these entities so clearly “defile” (a good Biblical word if there ever was one) places of sublime value such as the mountains, streams and woodlands of the Appalachian Mountains. Of course, he was only representing the State of Pennsylvania in the Congress at the time. I suppose he will recognize a higher standard of stewardship when he takes on the responsibility of the President of the United States after he is elected…

  12. Santorum also cited “the most recent survey of climate scientists” who according to him, “said about 57% don’t agree with the idea that 95% of the change in the climate is being caused by CO2“. When asked to repeat what he said by Maher, Santorum said something else: “there was a survey done of 1800 scientists and 57% said they don’t buy off on the idea that CO2 is the knob that’s driving the climate“. If asked to repeat a third time he’d probably come up with something different again. The lie is the big lie, i.e. look how confident I am as I say science is bullshit. The details don’t matter, i.e. he feels the presentation is more important than making sense as he talks about this.

    The study Santorum is referring to appears to be a 2014 article in Environmental Science and Technology, i.e. “Scientists’ Views about Attribution of Global Warming” by Verheggen, Strengers, John Cook, van Dorland, Vringer, Peters, Visser, and Meyer. (PDF here More detail on the questions asked of the scientists who participated is in this paper

    By the time types like Santorum finish quoting each other’s misinterpretation of papers like this they might as well just pull whatever they are saying out of their ass.

    • For those who don’t watch Bill Maher, there’s a U-Tube of the interchange here. It’s 4.5 mins long. The actual interchange ran:-

      BM-“…because I don’t think you think climate change is a real problem.”
      RS-“And I’m not alone. The most recent survey of climate scientists said that 57% don’t agree with the idea that 95% of the change in the climate is being caused by CO2”
      BM-“Say that again.”
      RS-“There was a survey done of 1,800 scientists and 57% said they don’t buy off on the idea that CO2 is the knob that’s turning the Cli(mate).”
      BM-“I don’t know what arse you’re pulling that out of.”

      The arse it was being pulled out of is likely this Fabuis Maximus website (named for “Warty” Quintus the Delayer) which examines the findings of the survey you link to; or to be exact just Q1a & 1b of the survey.

      The 1,800 survey respondents come from 6,550 who were contacted. They were mostly authors of work with a key phrase like “global climate change” in the title but there were other sources used to chose respondents and it was noted that 5% of the respondents were seriously signed-up deniers, those who were “signatories to public statements disapproving of mainstream climate science”, half of which were unpublished in scientific journals.
      The results of Q1 show that those surveyed who were unpublished or very little published were greatly more ‘skeptical’ than the AR4 contributors & the more-published respondents. Of these more accomplished respondents (more than 10 papers published), the number who agree with the IPCC that 50% or more of recent warming was caused by AGW is 92%. If you take out the respondents who faffed rather than answered, those who agree still tops 90%.
      Interestingly, given the assertion made by Sanatorium that he was not alone in not seeing AGW as a real problem, Q12 of they survey actually asked “How concerned are you about climate change as a long-term global problem?” to which just 2.6% of all respondents replied “Not concerned at all.” A further 6.2% replied “Not very concerned.” I suppose that does show Sanatorium is correct in saying he is not alone in his delusion.

  13. Sanotrum represents a segment of conservative society that truly believes simply insisting that certain things are true will make them so. It is fantasy and perhaps a pathological form of confirmation bias. It is a world in which dogma trumps evidence. They see only that which they wish to be true as possibly being true. So rational discussion is impossible.

  14. And, I wonder, when unequivocally attributable climate disruption events begin happening, e.g., akin to massive Arctic melt off in late summer, will the Santorites dismiss them as “one offs” or “acts of God”? On the latter possibility, will they appeal to insurance companies appealing to that description to “prove” that they are?

  15. Why is anyone still listening to Santorum. After all his very name is synonymous with [censored–or see Dan Savage’s definition]

  16. He’s an economist.

    Given the difficulty that he has with numbers, my impression is that he’s not even good at that.