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A look back - SkS in 2016

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW


Making lemonade from lemons

As a reaction to continued attacks on our paper – and especially a published comment by Richard Tol in which he manages to misrepresent several other consensus studies – we collaborated with the authors of these studies and published "Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming" in April (Cook et al. 2016). The two key conclusions from the paper are:

1) Depending on exactly how you measure the expert consensus, it’s somewhere between 90% and 100% that agree humans are responsible for climate change with most of our studies finding 97% consensus among publishing climate scientists

2) The greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.


The National Center for Science Education (NCSE)NCSE-Award – a big non-profit organisation supporting teachers in the U.S. who want to teach evolution and climate science without interference from religious or political groups – had a nice suprise for us in May when they named Skeptical Science as one of this year's recipients of their Friend of the Planet Awards. The other recipients were Katharine Hayhoe for her work as an atmospheric scientist and John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli for their 97%-blog at The Guardian. So, Dana got "double-dippings"!

thesisIn August John received notification that his PhD thesis had been accepted without revision. I'm fairly certain that he would have called anybody crazy who suggested back in 2007 that creating SkS would lead to him becoming Dr. John Cook 9 years later!  You can download his thesis, aptly titled "Closing the “consensus gap” by communicating the scientific consensus on climate change and countering misinformation” from SkS. It consists of 9 papers published in peer reviewed journals and other publications, the different chapters woven together into a single document by introductory comments. It makes for quite an interesting read!

John co-authored the paper – published in September – "The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism" with Stephan Lewandowsky and Elisabeth Loyd. The three authors looked at both rhetorical and scientific arguments put out by deniers and listed examples of where these various arguments contradict each other as outlined in Graham Readfearn's explainer.

As in previous years, members of our team regularly published articles in various other outlets:

2016 came to a close with about a dozen members from the SkS- and Denial101x-team coming together at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco in December to again present their research in several oral and poster sessions. You can read more about the meeting in this article: Skeptical Science at AGU 2016: a recap.


One of the highlights of this particular AGU meeting was the presentation of the NCSE-award mentioned above. This happened at the "SkS-Shindig", held on Monday evening, Dec. 12 when those from the SkS-team attending AGU's Fall meeting came together with many others interested in climate science. As about a dozen folks from the SkS- and Denial101x-team were at the shindig we used the opportunity to get a group picture - quite a rare opportunity for our team which mostly collaborates virtually and doesn't have many chances to meet face to face!


From the left: Mark Richardson, Howard Lee, John Mashey, Collin Maessen, John Cook, Baerbel Winkler, Peter Jacobs, Rob Honeycutt, Sarah Green, Dana Nuccitelli, Keah Schuenemann, Dan Bedford

Like with other posts in this series, only some highlights of the year could be included. You can read a lot more in this recap for 2016.

During the year, 364 blog posts were published, with John Hartz contributing 104, Dana 59 and various guest authors around 130.


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