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Climate Change Skeptics

Team

Sabine Niederer, Andrei Mogoutov, Bram Nijhof.

Introduction - Climate Change Skeptics Hold a Conference

In March 2008, the Heartland Institute organized the first Climate Change skeptics conference, "the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change." It was organized in a traditional scientific format with keynote speakers and 3 days of parallel tracks with panels. There are also proceedings in the form of audio and video clips. In his opening remarks, the organizer, Joseph L. Bast, states: "These scientists and economists have been published thousands of times in the world’s leading scientific journals and have written hundreds of books. If you call this the fringe, where’s the center?" (http://www.heartland.org/NewYork08/newyork08.cfm)

This project is an inquiry into the place and status of climate change skepticism. First, we would like to gain a sense of the composition of climate change skepticism by comparing the skeptics' disciplines with those of climate science. Do the skeptics have a similar distribution of disciplines as the non-skeptics?

Secondly, we are interested in how 'mainstream' or 'fringe' the skeptics are. Are they published in journals that are significant in climate science more broadly? What is the status of the publications and journals within climate science? Here a comparison of three types of journals is of interest: those publishing no skeptics, those publishing only skeptics and those publishing both. Are the journals that publish both the skeptics and the non-skeptics amongst the journals with the greatest impact in the climate-related fields? Are the journals that publish only the skeptics among the most significant journals?

Finally, we ask would like to inquire into the specificity of the expertise of the skeptics. Are they working exclusively or mainly in the area of climate change? Or, do they also work in other areas? In particular, we are interested in whether the skeptics have other issues they are skeptical about.

Lists of Climate Change Skeptics

There are a series of lists available with climate change skeptics, including wikipedia entries, compiliations by watchdogs as well as outcomes from more academic analysis. For the purposes of analysis we have compiled a short list as well as a long list of climate change skeptics. The short list is derived from a triangulation of sources (below) as well as the keynote speakers at the skeptics' conference, "the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change," organized by the Heartland Institute in March 2008. (Frederick Seitz passed away prior to the conference, yet has been kept on the list.)

The long list is the short list with the addition of those who participated in a panel at the skeptics' conference. (See the program of the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change at http://www.heartland.org/NewYork08/ConferenceProgram.pdf)

Skeptics shortlist:
  • Sallie Baliunas
  • Joseph Bast
  • Paul Driessen
  • William Gray
  • Sherwood Idso
  • Vaclav Klaus
  • Richard Lindzen
  • Patrick Michaels
  • Steven Milloy
  • Frederick Seitz
  • Fred Singer
  • Willie Soon
  • Roy Spencer
  • John Stossel
  • James M. Taylor

Skeptics' shortlist with URL of the homepages and other data: skeptics_list.rtf

Skeptics long list: heartland_conference_panel_participants_march2008.xls

Question 1: Does climate change science look like climate change skepticism? Does climate science have a similar distribution of fields as the skeptics'?

Does the composition of climate science mirror that of skeptic climate science? In other words, is skeptic climate science in its own field, in the sense of the particular distribution of disciplines?

Here we compare the disciplines of the journals in which significant climate change articles appear with those of the skeptics.

climate change skeptics' disciplines climate change disciplines


Picture_18.png

Articles per discipline Discipline (skeptics list) Discipline (climate sciences) Articles per discipline
2788 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES ECOLOGY 4262
2636 METEOROLOGY & ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES METEOROLOGY & ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES 4088
1333 AGRONOMY MULTIDISCIPLINARY SCIENCES 3178
1126 GEOSCIENCES, INTERDISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES 2761
1073 MULTIDISCIPLINARY SCIENCES GEOSCIENCES, INTERDISCIPLINARY 2179
1024 PLANT SCIENCES PLANT SCIENCES 941
649 ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS AGRONOMY 653
178 ECOLOGY BIOLOGY, MISCELLANEOUS 543
140 BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY FORESTRY 504
121 CHEMISTRY, MEDICINAL ENGINEERING, ENVIRONMENTAL 396
The top 5 disciplines in the climate sciences are among the top 10 disciplines in the skeptics' sciences.

Question 2: How 'mainstream' or 'fringe' are climate change skeptics within the fields of climate science?

Do the skeptics publish significant articles (heavily cited by others in the fields of climate science)? Do they publish in significant journals, according to those journals receiving the most citations for climate change related articles?

Are the journals that publish no skeptics more significant than those that publish only skeptics?

Here we query ISI's Web of Science for all articles on "climate change." On 9 July 2008 there are approximately 27,000 articles, 15,877 of which receive at least three citations. That set of almost 16,000 articles is retained for the analysis.

Nr. of citations Name Journal Climate SciencesSorted ascending Name Journal Skeptics Nr. of citations
6497
CLIM DYNAM B AM METEOROL SOC 294
8984
CLIMATIC CHANGE J APPL METEOROL 339
8868
ECOLOGY MON WEATHER REV 335
10572
GEOPHYS RES LETT GEOPHYS RES LETT 409
13586
J CLIMATE J CLIMATE 556
5048
J GEOPHYS RES J GEOPHYS RES 241
9424
J GEOPHYS RES-ATMOS J ATMOS SC 374
32558
NATURE SCIENCE 751
5733
OECOLOGIA MON WEA REV 267
4807
PALEOCEANOGRAPHY CLIMATIC CHANGE 23
6183
QUATERNARY RES AGRON J 287
26361
SCIENCE NATURE 651

The skeptics and the non-skeptics publish in the same top four climate change-related journals.

climate_change_journals_all.png:
climate_change_journals_all.png

Question 3: Are the climate change skeptics devoted mainly to climate change, or do they also have other issues (which they may be skeptical about as well)?

The question concerns the specificity of the skeptics to the issue of climate change. Are the skeptics primarily in the area of climate change, or do they have other issues (which they also may be skeptical about)?

In order to find the climate change skeptics' other issues, perform qualitative analysis of the climate change skeptics' homepages as well as pages about the skeptics (e.g., from Wikipedia, Sourcewatch as well as the DeSmogBlog).

method
  • Query ISI Web of Science for the skeptics' articles and download the articles' data.
  • Perform co-authorship analysis.

  • SkepticsRelatedIssuesDorling11 -07-08.png:
    SkepticsRelatedIssuesDorling11-07-08.png

Findings

Skeptics form a network through co-authoring articles.

Skeptics Co-Authors:
Picture_15.png

Do skeptics have related issues they are sceptical about?

Question 4: Related Issues

method 1:
  • update the list of climate change skeptics
  • query the source lists and the Web for other issues they are skeptical about (in their list of publications, Google Scholar, etc)
  • cloud the other issues climate change skeptics have (leaving out the skeptics that only focus on climate change second method

method 2:
  • query ISI web of science for the skeptics shortlist and download the articles data + citations
  • use reseaulu to perform textual analysis on the descriptions and on the skeptics biographies
  • visualize and analyze to find related issues

Finding the related issues by reading the source lists on:

Subsequently checking the homepages and publications (with Google Scholar) on issues other than climate change.

Misc.

-- SabineNiederer - 05 Jun 2008

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
ClimateChangeTopJournals.pdfpdf ClimateChangeTopJournals.pdf manage 101 K 11 Jul 2008 - 15:40 RichardRogers  
Picture_11.pngpng Picture_11.png manage 40 K 05 Oct 2008 - 12:20 Main.issuecrawler14 Heartland Conference Poster
Picture_12.pngpng Picture_12.png manage 180 K 10 Jul 2008 - 15:52 Main.issuecrawler14 SkepticsScienceJounals Picture
Picture_13.pngpng Picture_13.png manage 55 K 10 Jul 2008 - 16:17 Main.issuecrawler14 Dorling Map of Climate Change Science Disciplines
Picture_14.pngpng Picture_14.png manage 109 K 11 Jul 2008 - 09:08 Main.issuecrawler14 ExxonSecrets
Picture_15.pngpng Picture_15.png manage 118 K 11 Jul 2008 - 10:37 Main.issuecrawler14 Skeptics Co-Authors
Picture_18.pngpng Picture_18.png manage 86 K 11 Jul 2008 - 11:57 Main.issuecrawler14 Climate Change Science Disciplines Dorling Map (left: skeptics right: climate change skeptics).
SkepticsJournals11-07-08.pdfpdf SkepticsJournals11-07-08.pdf manage 73 K 11 Jul 2008 - 15:40 RichardRogers  
SkepticsRelatedIssuesDorling11-07-08.jpgjpg SkepticsRelatedIssuesDorling11-07-08.jpg manage 80 K 11 Jul 2008 - 16:04 Main.issuecrawler14  
SkepticsRelatedIssuesDorling11-07-08.pngpng SkepticsRelatedIssuesDorling11-07-08.png manage 53 K 11 Jul 2008 - 16:20 Main.issuecrawler14  
SkepticsRelatedIssuesDorling11-07-08.svgsvg SkepticsRelatedIssuesDorling11-07-08.svg manage 13 K 11 Jul 2008 - 15:41 RichardRogers  
SkepticsRelatedIssuesTagcloud11-07-08.pdfpdf SkepticsRelatedIssuesTagcloud11-07-08.pdf manage 137 K 11 Jul 2008 - 15:35 RichardRogers  
SkepticsRelatedIssuesTagcloud54-15-11-07-08.jpgjpg SkepticsRelatedIssuesTagcloud54-15-11-07-08.jpg manage 95 K 11 Jul 2008 - 16:01 Main.issuecrawler14  
SkepticsRelatedIssuesTagcloud54-15-11-07-08.svgsvg SkepticsRelatedIssuesTagcloud54-15-11-07-08.svg manage 199 K 11 Jul 2008 - 15:41 RichardRogers  
SkepticsRelatedIssuesTagcloud_small.jpgjpg SkepticsRelatedIssuesTagcloud_small.jpg manage 28 K 11 Jul 2008 - 16:12 Main.issuecrawler14  
SkepticsScienceJournals.pdfpdf SkepticsScienceJournals.pdf manage 106 K 10 Jul 2008 - 15:50 Main.issuecrawler14 Climate change science and skeptics journals
climate_change_journals_all.pngpng climate_change_journals_all.png manage 31 K 11 Jul 2008 - 16:16 RichardRogers  
heartland_conference_panel_participants_march2008.xlsxls heartland_conference_panel_participants_march2008.xls manage 201 K 11 Jul 2008 - 15:37 RichardRogers  
lijst_skeptics.rtfrtf lijst_skeptics.rtf manage 8 K 06 Jun 2008 - 14:39 Main.issuecrawler14  
skeptics_list.rtfrtf skeptics_list.rtf manage 4 K 11 Jul 2008 - 09:25 Main.issuecrawler14 Skeptics shortlist with homepage and additional info
Topic revision: r21 - 01 Oct 2014, SabineNiederer
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