Energy Policy 73 (2014) 709

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Energy Policy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic
global warming in the literature: Rejoinder
In my critique of Cook et al. (2013), I raised a number of issues
(Tol, 2014). Cook et al. (2014) respond to a few only. They do not
dispute
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)

that their sample is not representative,
that data quality is low,
that their validation test is not passed,
that they mistake a trend in composition for a trend in
endorsement,
(5) that the majority of the investigated papers that take a
position on (anthropogenic) climate change in fact do not
examine any evidence, and
(6) that there are inexplicable patterns in the data.
Cook et al. (2014) take issue with my procedure for correcting
erroneous data. Specifically, I apply the marginal distribution of the
data corrections applied by Cook et al. (2013). Cook et al. (2014)
argue that I should have used the conditional distributions. The
difference is stark: the dissensus rate rises from 2.0% to 8.6% when
the marginal distribution is used, but falls to 1.9% when the
conditional distributions are used. Cook's error correction procedure uses the same data twice; the erroneous data is used (1) as an
anchor point for the corrected data and (2) to determine the
extent of the correction. Besides, there are too few observations to
reliably estimate the conditional distributions for the high and the
low ratings. I therefore argue that my error correction procedure is
superior.
Fig. 2 in Cook et al. (2014) is misleading: it compares the
consensus rate in the original data to the error-corrected
consensus rate.
In Tol (2014), I note that there is drift in measurement.
Cook et al. (2014) counters that there is no drift in the parameter
of interest, the consensus rate – which excludes two-thirds of their
observations. They do note, though, that the rolling consensus rate

DOI of original article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2014.04.045
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2014.06.003
0301-4215/& 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

falls too often inside its bootstrapped confidence interval. In other
words, the parameter of interest suffers from confirmation bias.
I am disappointed that Cook et al. (2014) do not show a
histogram of the rating times. That would put to rest the concerns
that some of the ratings were done too quickly to be reliable. I am
disappointed also that they do not test for inter-rater agreement.
A simple table would suffice to prove Cook's contention that the
raters were unbiased. I am disappointed further that data are still
hidden, and that even the survey protocol is not available for
inspection.
In sum, Cook et al. (2014) do not take away my concerns with
Cook et al. (2013). In fact, they add a hitherto overlooked flaw:
confirmation bias in the consensus rate.
References
Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S.A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., Way, R.,
Jacobs, P., Skuce, A., 2013. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global
warming in the scientific literature. Environ. Res. Lett. 8 (2), 024024.
Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S.A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., Way, R.,
Jacobs, P., Skuce, A., 2014. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic
global warming in the scientific literature: a comment. Energy Policy, in press,
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2014.06.003.
Tol, R.S.J., 2014. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the
literature: a re-analysis. Energy Policy, in press, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.
enpol.2014.04.045.

Richard S.J. Toln
Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9SL,
United Kingdom
Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam,
The Netherlands
Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam,
The Netherlands
Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
CESifo, Munich, Germany
E-mail address: r.tol@sussex.ac.uk

n
Correspondence address: Department of Economics, University of Sussex,
Falmer BN1 9SL, United Kingdom.

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