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Media Visibility

By:
Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Oct 8, 2019  at  at 6:00 AM
Category
Climate Change

The journal Nature Communications recently published a study (Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians) conducted by researchers at the University of California Merced. The authors defined groups of individuals as either Climate Change Scientists (CCS) or Climate Change Contrarians (CCC). They contend that, while both of these groups of individuals receive approximately the same exposure in the mainstream media, the growth of alternative media has resulted in members of the CCC group receiving approximately 50% greater exposure.

“These results demonstrate why climate scientists should increasingly exert their authority in scientific and public discourse, and why professional journalists and editors should adjust the disproportionate attention given to contrarians.“

The authors begin from the presumption that: “the 2–3% of researchers unconvinced by evidence for anthropogenic CC were not only small in group size but also had substantially lower levels of authority in the CC literature(REF 10), essentially the Skeptical Science study assertion. The study focuses on: “on a select set of contrarians who have publicly and repeatedly demonstrated their adamant counterposition on CC issues(REF 12) —as extensively documented by the DeSmog project (DeSmogblog.com), a longstanding effort to document climate disinformation efforts associated with numerous contrarian institutions and individual actors.

The UC Merced press release announcing the study quotes one of the co-authors of the study as follows: “Most of the contrarians are not scientists, and the ones who are have very thin credentials. They are not in the same league with top scientists. They aren’t even in the league of the average career climate scientist.” Dr. Judith Curry provided a sub-list of “prominent, currently active climate scientists” from whom she has learned. Dr. Curry notes that this list of climate science ‘contrarians’ is heavily populated by experts in climate dynamics, i.e. how the climate system actually works.

I have prepared a list of skeptical climate scientists whose names appear frequently in the public press. I have listed the universities from which they received their doctorates, the global ranking of those universities, the scientific focus of their doctorates, the universities at which they are or have been employed and the global ranking of those universities.

 

Richard S. Lindzen, PhD

Harvard (6)

Atmospheric Physics

MIT (4) (E)

John R. Christy, PhD

Illinois (50)

Atmospheric Sciences

UAH (401+)

Roy Spencer, PhD

Wisconsin (43)

Meteorology

UAH (401+)

Wei-Hock Soon, PhD

USC (66)

Astrophysics

MIT (4)

Judith A. Curry, PhD

Chicago (10)

Geophysical Sciences

GT (34) (R)

Patrick J. Michaels, PhD

Wisconsin (43)

Ecological Climatology

UVA (107)

Henrik Svensmark, PhD

TU Denmark (163)

Physics

TU D (163)

Nir J. Shaviv, PhD

Israel Inst T (301+)

Physics

HU. J (201+)

David R. Legates, PhD

U Delaware (251+)

Geography

U Del (251+)

William Happer, PhD

Princeton (7)

Physics

Princeton (E)

Freeman J. Dyson, PhD

Cornell (19)

Physics

Princeton (E)

 

I doubt that any of those listed could be accurately described as having “very thin credentials”, especially the Emeritus (E) chaired professors from top ten universities.

The reliance of the studies authors on sources such a Skeptical Science and DeSmog and the use of terms such as “disinformation” and “deniers” says much about the study, none of it good.