Disturbing research about the use of “narratives” in climate science papers

Here’s a reblog of a fantastic Fabius Maximus post about a recently published scientific paper confirming what I have suspected for a long time: that narrative-style writing increases, in the realm of climate science (an especially important point), scientific papers’ (and thus their authors’) influence. This is very important to consider when discussing this issue, because it is corrupting climate science research. We’ve seen this happen time and time again. For example, a paper was published earlier in Nature this year claiming earth system sensitivity (similar to climate sensitivity) was 9 degrees Celsius, in the range of 7 to 13 degrees Celsius, and that because of the CO2 humanity has already put in the atmosphere, earth is locked into 3 to 7 degrees Celsius of warming. This was outlandish, as even the mainstream scientific community and media recognized. But it was published in perhaps the most prestigious scientific journal in the world. Why? I would say that it was because it was written in a narrative style, and I would also add that this narrative style probably actually increased the paper’s influence! This ties right in to what this paper has so importantly noted.

Watts Up With That?

By Larry Kummer. Posted at the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: A new paper provides valuable information about climate science — evidence of the politicization that helped collapse the public policy debate. The authors conclude that narratives are “used to positive effect” in peer-reviewed papers. It puts science on the slippery slope to becoming propaganda (or, in today’s jargon, “fake news”). Scientists can achieve career success but destroy the public’s esteem for science accumulated over centuries.

Narrative Style Influences Citation Frequency in Climate Change Science
By Ann Hillier, Ryan P. Kelly, and Terrie Klinger.
PLOS ONE, 15 December 2016.
Excerpt. Red emphasis added.

“Climate change is among the most compelling issues now confronting science and society, and climate science as a research endeavor has grown accordingly over the past decade. The number of scholarly publications is increasing exponentially, doubling every 5±6 years. The volume of climate science publications…

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Roger Pielke Jr.: My unhappy life as a climate heretic 

Here’s Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., climate realist extraordinaire, excellent as always, writing in the Wall Street Journal about the previously documented organized campaign to discredit him. It’s certainly worth a read, and I applaud Dr. Pielke for his courage and steadfast devotion to communicating climate science accurately and clearly.

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Tropical storm [image credit: BBC] Tropical storm [image credit: BBC]
Despite being what might be termed a ‘lukewarmer’, this professor has been a target of climate fanatics for a long time for pointing out a few inconvenient truths they would prefer the public not to hear, as the Wall Street Journal reports. Now with a new US President on the way he has chosen to speak out about his unfair treatment.

My research was attacked by thought police in journalism, activist groups funded by billionaires and even the White House. Much to my surprise, I showed up in the WikiLeaks releases before the election.

In a 2014 email, a staffer at the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta in 2003, took credit for a campaign to have me eliminated as a writer for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website.

In the email, the editor of the think tank’s climate blog bragged to one of its billionaire…

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Wikileaks and Me

Here’s Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.’s excellent response to what WikiLeaks email dumps reveal as an organized campaign to discredit him, despite his statements and views being supported by the scientific peer-reviewed literature. The campaign was successful, and Dr. Pielke has since stopped studying and writing about climate change and was subject to an investigation from Congress. It’s a very sad day for both politics and science.

I apologize for the lack of posting recently, but hopefully I will be able to pick it up soon.

Roger Pielke Jr.

I haven’t had a chance to update this blog with anything related to the surprise (to me at least) at finding myself the subject of an email in the John Podesta email leaks from Wikileaks. That email revealed that an organization that was fouinded and led by Podesta, the Center for American Progress, engaged in a successful effort to have me removed as a writer at 538, the “data journalism” site created by Nate Silver.

The Boulder Daily Camera has a very good series of articles about the revelation that there was an organized political effort against me.

The multi-year campaign against me by CAP was partially funded by billionaire Tom Steyer, and involved 7 writers at CAP who collectively wrote more than 160 articles about me, trashing my work…

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Impact of the ~ 2400 yr solar cycle on climate and human societies

Here’s an excellent essay posted at Climate Etc., an excellent, climate realist blog run by Dr. Judith Curry, a climate scientist, climate realist, and professor at Georgia Tech, by a guest author named Javier. The article has a great summary of the solar effect on climate, more particularly the effect of the ~2400-year Bray solar cycle on climate, and I thought it so good I should share it with you. (Javier and I share many similar views on the effects of solar activity variations on climate and their implications for current climate debates.)

Climate Etc.

*by Javier

The role of solar variability on climate change, despite having a very long scientific tradition, is currently downplayed as a climatic factor within the most popular hypothesis for climate change.

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Another example of PolitiFact’s climate propaganda

Here’s an excellent essay posted at WattsUpWithThat by the editor of the website Fabius Maximus, an excellent blog on geopolitics, though they post on climate often from, a climate realist perspective. The article has a great summary of the supposed 97% consensus on climate change, and I thought it so good that I should share it with you.

Watts Up With That?

By Larry Kummer. From the archives at the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: This vignette illustrates important aspects of the climate change debate, and why it has failed to gain sufficient support from Americans to pass large-scale public policy measures. For two decades journalists and scientists have cooperated to produce political propaganda, exaggerating and misrepresenting the work of the IPCC. Their failure should inspire us, showing a resistance to manipulation greater than many people expected (it surprises me).


Attributed to George Orwell. He would have agreed.

My post, which started this kerfuffle

In July I published The 97% consensus of climate scientists is only 47%, which showed the hidden results of an excellent survey of scientists’ agreement with the IPPC’s attribution statements about the role of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in global warming. It was high, but lower than usually described — and below the standard for significance. The question…

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