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The Climate Experts

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJune 22, 2010 4:45 AM


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In the comment thread, Judith Curry identifies what she considers to be "the big flaw" in the PNAS paper.


Over at Dot Earth, Eric Steig, a Real Climate contributor, said he agrees with Roger Pielke Jr. "that the 'blacklist' metaphor is appropriate."


Real Climate officially weighs in.

There's a new PNAS study out today called, "Expert Credibility in Climate Change," that is sure to reverberate throughout the climate blogosphere. Over on the other thread, which had a relevant discussion, Judith Curry asked:

Does anyone find this a convincing analysis of credibility?

Let's take her up and offer feedback. But do read the study first, which is freely available from that link above. (The PDF is on the right side of the abstract.) As Judith also pointed out, the data for the study can be found here. It'll be interesting to see mainstream media coverage and blogospheric reaction to the study. I'll post the relevant links in an update at the bottom of the post as they come in. UPDATE: 6/21, 11:15pm: Eli Kintisch at Science is among the first out of the box with this story earlier today. Unsurprisingly, Joe Romm lauds the results of what he calls an "important first-of-its-kind study." (To fully appreciate how novel this "first-of-its kind" study is, you have to read the Science article.) Meanwhile, Roger Pielke Jr. dissects the study's methodology and adds some supplementary information on one of the authors. UPDATE: 6/22, 7:00am: Leo Hickman in the Guardian says the study "throws some new light on the 'expertise gap'" between climate science factions. 10:30am: Justin Gillis, writing at the NYT Green blog: "The results are pretty conclusive." Eh, maybe not, if you listen to Eric Steig (of Real Climate), who comments at Roger Pielke, Jr.'s blog:

Wow. Roger, you know I disagree with you on many things, but not on this. What the heck where they thinking? Even if the analysis had some validity -- and from a first glance, I'm definitely not convinced it does -- it's not helpful, to put it mildly. I'm totally appalled.

12:30pm: On the study, Chris Mooney at his Discover blog writes, "that journalists who have given a lot of weight to climate 'skeptics' have some 'splaining to do." Over at Time, Michael Lemonick writes that what constitutes a top climate researcher is "laid out in detail" in the paper. The BBC has a story up that quotes Stanford's William Anderegg, a lead author of the paper, on what motivated the study:

We really felt that the state of the scientific debate was so far removed from the state of the public discourse and we felt that a good quantitative, rigorous comparison of this would put to rest the notion that the scientists 'disagree' about global warming.

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