We’ve all been subjected to the incessant “97% of scientists agree …global warming…blah blah” meme, which is nothing more than another statistical fabrication by John Cook and his collection of “anything for the cause” zealots. As has been previously pointed out on WUWT, when you look at the methodology used to reach that number, the veracity of the result falls apart, badly. You see, it turns out that Cook simply employed his band of “Skeptical Science” (SkS) eco-zealots to rate papers, rather than letting all authors of the papers rate their own work (Note: many authors weren’t even contacted and their papers wrongly rated, see here). The result was that the “97% consensus” was a survey of the SkS raters beliefs and interpretations, rather than a survey of the authors opinions of their own science abstracts. Essentially it was pal-review by an activist group with a strong bias towards a particular outcome as demonstrated by the name “the consensus project”.
In short, it was a lie of omission enabled by a “pea and thimble” switch Steve McIntyre so often points out about climate science.
Most people who read the headlines touted by the unquestioning press had no idea that this was a collection of Skeptical Science raters opinions rather than the authors assessment of their own work. Readers of news stories had no idea they’d been lied to by John Cook et al².
So, while we’ll be fighting this lie for years, one very important bit of truth has emerged that will help put it into its proper place of propaganda, rather than science. A recent real survey conducted of American Meteorological Society members has blown Cook’s propaganda paper right out of the water.
The survey is titled:
Meteorologists’ views about global warming: A survey of American Meteorological Society professional members¹
Meteorologists and other atmospheric science experts are playing important roles in helping society respond to climate change. However, members of this professional community are not unanimous in their views of climate change, and there has been tension among members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) who hold different views on the topic. In response, AMS created the Committee to Improve Climate Change Communication to explore and, to the extent possible, resolve these tensions. To support this committee, in January 2012 we surveyed all AMS members with known email addresses, achieving a 26.3% response rate (n=1,854). In this paper we tested four hypotheses: (1) perceived conflict about global warming will be negatively associated–and (2) climate expertise, (3) liberal political ideology, and (4) perceived scientific consensus will be positively associated–with (a) higher personal certainty that global warming is happening, (b) viewing the global warming observed over the past 150 years as mostly human-caused, and (c) perception of global warming as harmful. All four hypotheses were confirmed. Expertise, ideology, perceived consensus and perceived conflict were all independently related to respondents’ views on climate, with perceived consensus and political ideology being most strongly related. We suggest that AMS should: attempt to convey the widespread scientific agreement about climate change; acknowledge and explore the uncomfortable fact that political ideology influences the climate change views of meteorology professionals; refute the idea that those who do hold non-majority views just need to be “educated” about climate change; continue to deal with the conflict among members of the meteorology community.
From the abstract, it is clear the authors didn’t expect to find this result, as they were likely expecting something close to the fabled 97%. They give this away when they advise in the abstract steps that can be taken to “correct” the low number reported.
The introduction says:
Research conducted to date with meteorologists and other atmospheric scientists has shown that they are not unanimous in their views of climate change. In a survey of earth scientists, Doran and Zimmerman (2009) found that while a majority of meteorologists surveyed are convinced humans have contributed to global warming (64%), this was a substantially smaller majority than that found among all earth scientists (82%). Another survey, by Farnsworth and Lichter (2009), found that 83% of meteorologists surveyed were convinced human-induced climate change is occurring, again a smaller majority than among experts in related areas such as ocean sciences (91%) and geophysics (88%).
So clearly, none of the work to date matches Cook’s pal reviewed activist effort.
The most important question in the AMS survey was done in two parts:
“Is global warming happening? If so, what is its cause?”
Respondent options were:
- Yes: Mostly human
- Yes: Equally human and natural
- Yes: Mostly natural
- Yes: Insufficient evidence [to determine cause]
- Yes: Don’t know cause
- Don’t know if global warming is happening
- Global warming is not happening
Here’s the kicker:
Just 52 percent of survey respondents answered Yes: Mostly human.
The other 48 percent either questioned whether global warming is happening or would not ascribe human activity as the primary cause.
Here is table 1 from the paper which shows the entire population of respondents (click to enlarge):
Note the difference between those who cite some climate publications and those who don’t. People are often most convinced of their own work, while others looking in from the outside, not so much. As we know, the number of “climate scientists” versus others tends to be a smaller clique.
Dr.. Judith Curry writes:
Look at the views in column 1, then look at the % in the rightmost column: 52% state the the warming since 1850 is mostly anthropogenic. One common categorization would categorize the other 48% as ‘deniers’.
So, the inconvenient truth here is that about half of the world’s largest organization of meteorological and climate professionals don’t think humans are “mostly” the cause of Anthropogenic Global Warming the rest will probably get smeared as “deniers”
That’s a long way from Cook’s “97% consensus” lie.
 Meteorologists’ views about global warming: A survey of American Meteorological Society professional members doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00091.1 http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00091.1
 Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024