97% of pictures are worth 1000 climate words

Guest essay by By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

The Guardian, one of the fastest-collapsing “legacy” news media in Britain, is bleeding circulation more rapidly than almost any other national newspaper. One reason, perhaps, is that on the question of the climate it has long ceased to be even remotely credible.

A recent piece by Ketan Joshi on a Guardian blog trots out, yet again, the notion of “an already well-established scientific consensus on the influence of human activity on climate change”. Inevitably, there is a link to the discredited Cook et al. paper pretending there is a “97% consensus” to the effect that most of the global warming since 1950 was manmade. Unaccountably, there is no link to the subsequent paper by Legates et al. (2013), who showed that Cook et al. had themselves marked only 0.5% of the 11,944 abstracts they examined as explicitly endorsing the “consensus” as they had defined it.

The good news (regarded by Mr Joshi as bad news, of course) is that “The most recent survey of public views on anthropogenic global warming, the CSIRO’s fourth annual survey of Australian attitudes to climate change, show 39% of Australians reject a human role in global warming, a further 8% think the climate isn’t changing at all, and 6% can’t say either way.”

Take-home message: notwithstanding decades of relentless propaganda, more than half of those surveyed have not been taken in by the imagined (and imaginary) “97% consensus”.

More good news: “When asked to rank 16 social issues in terms of importance, climate change came third last. You’d be hard pressed to find any other form of scientific denialism [that hate-speech word again] with such a significant impact on the priorities of Australians.”


Mr Joshi continues with a graphic by Cook, whom he entertainingly describes as a “climate science communication expert”, purporting to show that while the public think 55% of scientists agree on global warming the true consensus is 97%.

Appealing to consensus is not a very grown-up way to conduct a scientific argument. It is the logical fallacy of the argumentum ad populum. But it is enough to fool your average “legacy” news journo, an incurably lazy beast at the best of times, into thinking that the Party Line just might – notwithstanding the volcano of real-world evidence – be right after all.

Trouble is, graphics like that of Cook are effective ways of conveying falsehoods as though they were truths. Well, it’s time to do it back to Them by using graphics as effective ways of dispelling Their falsehoods and illustrating the truths of science. I’m compiling a book of graphs and other images, impeccably sourced and accurately presented, that display the truth in a manner that cannot be dismissed or denied.

Here is an accurate graphic on the “consensus”, as determined from the data file eventually released by Cook et al.:


There seems to be something shoddy about popularizing the truth via colorful graphics rather than relying on the obscure, fuzzy charts that are the norm in most scientific journals. Yet if They colorize Their lies, we must popularize the objective scientific truth by making it visible to those who cannot read equations.

Mr Joshi maunders on: “Cook terms this the ‘consensus gap’. It’s precisely the outcome we’d expect from a systematic effort to distance public opinion from the outcomes of science. It’s likely this gap has been forced open by the efforts of conservative media commentators producing a relentless output of doubt.”

It’s also what one would expect given a growing awareness among all but the invincibly ignorant that my graphic is true. The “consensus” is now known to be 0.5%, not 97%.

Readers of WUWT are invited to join in the fun. Let me know, via comments, which your favorite graphs or other visual images are. I’ll include the best ones in the book.

Footnote. The Eschenbach Rule applies. If you want to take issue with what I have said here, don’t be a climate Nazi (© Roy Spencer, MMXIV). Please cite me accurately rather than rewording what I have said to suit the Reichspropagandaamt.


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The Doran Zimmerman “consensus” was at least higher than Cook’s. It comes in at an astounding 0.7%!


So 0.5% of papers blamed a 0.01% change in atmospheric composition for causing at least a 0.1% change in the lower troposphere’s average temperature (measuring it in Kelvin). This is all small stuff, indeed.


Name 97 of them??

John s.

Based on Gallup, BBC, and Der Spiegel polls, skeptics are majorities or near majorities in the USA, UK, and Germany. So when alarmists insult skeptics, they insulting about 1/2 of the population. Many of whom they are trying to persuade to join their side. As a skeptic, I say if our opponents are hanging themselves, then let’s give them more rope…

John West

Not really a graphic on consensus but I always liked the cover art on Jo Nova’s skeptic’s handbook.


“© Roy Spencer, MMXIV”
Just out of curiosity, what’s up with the fetish for writing dates and Nth of some sporting competition in roman numerals?


Thanks for the comedy.


Nylo says:
February 26, 2014 at 11:23 am
So 0.5% of papers blamed a 0.01% change in atmospheric composition for causing at least a 0.1% change in the lower troposphere’s average temperature (measuring it in Kelvin). This is all small stuff, indeed.
Or to put it another way, a 43% increase in CO2, causing, what a 0.3% (1C) rise LT temps

The replies to the Doran Zimmerman survey by those surveyed were quite revealing. Many questioned the validity of the survey questions, such as requesting a definition of “Pre-Industrial” and pointing out the huge changes in CO2 over the history of the Earth. The 79 respondents who made the “Consensus” had self-identified as having published over 50% of their papers in the field of “Climate Science.” Only two questions had to be answered “Yes.” Zimmerman was a grad student, actually did the entire thing herself as classwork for Doran.
The Main Stream Media use this absurd statistic from this even-more-absurd survey in nearly every Climate Change piece. They don’t have to make sense, they just have to have plausibility to technically illiterate people. As Will Rogers put it so well, “Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel…”


I like to show a bars graphic with the composition of the atmosphere, pre-industrial and current. The length of the bar needs to be at least about 2400 pixels for CO2 to appear with a single pixel width at current concentration. Which means it will not appear on a normal monitor unless you zoom in, and both atmospheric compositions will look exactly the same. Most people don’t really realize what ppm means and how minuscule is the change in atmospheric composition that we are causing. It is also instructing to show them the atmospheric composition without any labels for the different gases and ask them which of the sectors they think represents CO2.


@Anthony Watts,


Nylo says:
February 26, 2014 at 11:43 am
I like to show a bars graphic with the composition of the atmosphere, pre-industrial and current.
The point is that the O2, N2 & Argon are transparent to IR radiation
– so they are irrelevant……
– it’s only the molecules that can interact with the photons that are of relevance when discussing the Green House effect
– that’d be CO2, H2O, CH4 …
… and CO2 has increased by 43% since pre-industrial times


If 0.5% of Doctors you ask agree that you need surgery…


C3 are big on graphics Lord M, although I dare say you’re familiar with them already.
Worth a look for sure.

mpcraig says:
February 26, 2014 at 11:19 am
There’s a couple of interesting graphics here:
I have seen the graphics, my reaction was the same as from several commenters: you can’t count everybody who didn’t sign the Oregon Petition as being pro-consensus.
And about the question why so many engineers are amongst the signers: their daily work implies accuracy. If they don’t, lives may be lost. In my (pre-retirement) job as good as for many of the signers’ jobs: I have been working with the practical appliance of computer models in a real factory. Some models did do an excellent job, some were disasters, costing a lot of money by product and production loss (lucky no lives). Thus I may be entitled to comment on the performance of climate models, even if I have not the slightest degree in climate related sciences.
And the climate models are in the disaster category: if the cruise control of your car was performing as good, you would drive 100 km/h with your control set to 50 km/h, heading for disaster…

Lord M,
Excellent analysis, as usual.
Re: your ‘interesting graphics’, there is a problem with that.
First, the vast majority of US scientists were never approached with the OISM Petition, which was circulated just prior, and in response to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. [The US never joined Kyoto, so the tens of thousands of scientists probably had a sufficient effect.]
Also, no group of alarmist scientists has ever been able to produce anything near to the OISM numbers. Therefore, their attempt to denigrate the OISM numbers is just sour grapes.
If you can produce a similar co-signed statement by thousands of alarmist scientists with similar qualifications, stating that CO2 is measurably harmful to the planet, please do so.
Post it here. I’ll wait. ☺

Dave G

Thank you Lord Monckton .
I think a simple one glance graphic is a potent messenger. I like the
clip_image004 = http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/clip_image0042.png


Having some experience in communicating simple yet hard to communicate ideals, I might suggest a bar chart of the 11,944 vs 64. It places a relative scale in the forefront of the discussion.

David L. Hagen

Re: “don’t be a climate Nazi (© Roy Spencer, MMXIV)”
Please correct. Roy Spencer actually posted: Time to push back against the global warming Nazis

Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.
I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.


I”nevitably, there is a link to the discredited Cook et al. paper pretending there is a “97% consensus” to the effect that most of the global warming since 1950 was manmade.”
The warmists’ most powerful weapon…a supposed 97 percent consensus on CAGW…. is fraudulent. Without their overwhelming consensus myth, the warmist argument for draconian mitigation efforts becomes toothless. Imvho, this is where a major part of our fight should be focused…that is on relentlessly challenging all claims of consensus. If I were an ill-informed warmist (which i was just a few years ago), I would not be swayed by lofty philosophy of science arguments, no matter how eloquently framed…. about the pitfalls of scientific consensus. And in fact they are not…
We can play dueling papers from now until the next ice age, but nothing will put a stake into the beating heart of the warmist cause than demonstrating the falsity of the consensus claim.

Even if it could be proven that 97% of the entire Earth’s population believed in a fallacy, it would still be a fallacy.
At one time, if you had asked people if the Earth was the center of the universe, you would have gotten a resounding “yes”. Learned men in the Church and in the scientific community believed this, the average man on the street wouldn’t have dreamed of questioning it. It was still a fallacy.
I don’t buy the “consensus” theory now. “Consensus” proves nothing in and of itself.
Right now, the CAGW community will have a hard time convincing me if only because their methods are that of a cult, for want of a better term. “Get on the bandwagon, everybody believes this is true”– “There is no debate, we’re right and everybody else is wrong” and of course don’t forget the “kill the heretics” statements that have come out lately.
I’m still waiting for my share of the loot that is supposedly being paid to those who deny CAGW, by the way. When do I get the first check? Oh, I don’t? Pshaw, CAGW promoters told me I was being paid to say these things. No check, eh? Well, I guess I’ll just keep saying the emperor is naked anyway.

Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
February 26, 2014 at 12:02 pm
I have seen the graphics, my reaction was the same as from several commenters: you can’t count everybody who didn’t sign the Oregon Petition as being pro-consensus.

Um, if one could use that logic, then everybody who didn’t sign the Oregon Petition (unless they signed a paper stating they are not going to sign it) could be considered “scientists who haven’t signed it yet”.

David L. Hagen says:
February 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm
Re: “don’t be a climate Nazi (© Roy Spencer, MMXIV)”
Please correct. Roy Spencer actually posted: Time to push back against the global warming Nazis
Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.
I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.

Yeah, but he may have chosen “global warming Nazis” because
Climate Change Nazi and Climate Disruption Nazi was already used.

Ed, 'Mr' Jones

>>> invincibly ignorant <<<
Good God man, you have a gift!

Gunga Din
Reasonable Guy

I would like to see graphs that show surface temps from around 1990 and the newer versions. Concentrating on Medieval warming period and others showing the pre and post updated version like GISS for example.
I am not sure if the one that show high CO.2 and ice ages (Dr. Moore just mentioned this in his testimony the other day) would be effective, but I would think so.
How about a skeptical version of the “step” gif used at skeptical science. Showing how the 1910-1940 increase is eerily similar to the warming from 1975 to 2000.
Good luck!

Chris B

Ed, ‘Mr’ Jones says:
February 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm
>>> invincibly ignorant <<<
Good God man, you have a gift!


Michael Moon says:
“Zimmerman was a grad student, actually did the entire thing herself as classwork for Doran.”
Actually Zimmerman did it as a thesis in partial fulfillment for a Masters degree. Doran was her graduate adviser.

I have long said that the only way to shut them up, is to use their tactics against them. Either they will pipe down, or they’ll change their tactics because “their” tactics are now “our” tactics. If graphics catch low information readers, then we should use them. Same style, same font etc-with just a little difference so people can tell the difference and with the TRUTH on them. Subconsciously people WILL start to register that just because it’s in a red circle or uses a “professional” looking image doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s the WHOLE REASON Cook changed his current course of study from “science” to communications. He’s studying social sciences and how to “influence” people subtlety with propaganda. Scarey little man that he is.
So I’m all for it Lord M! Give me all their best graphics with the truth in them. I can’t wait to post them in response every time one of their fallacies get’s posted somewhere.


dbstealey says:
February 26, 2014 at 12:11 pm
Re: your ‘interesting graphics’, there is a problem with that.
I guess I should have put “interesting” in quotes because I’m well aware of the problems with those graphs.
The first and most obvious is that the Oregon Petition statement doesn’t indicate that it “disagrees with human-induced climate change”. That’s a blatant misrepresentation of the actual statement of which the main point is:
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”
I had interpreted that Monckton also was going to include a section on ridiculous or distorting pictures as well. That’s what I meant by “interesting”.


I was always fond of the “green bars” chart published By Lawrence Solomon in the Financial Post, depicting how rare it is to be living in such a confortable clime and how soon much colder temperatures may soon prevail. Reported by WUWT over four years ago:


Too many words on the 99.5% graphic. It will be confused with Cook’s by the minimally-informed. You must keep it simple.

David L. Hagen

John Who
Global warming fascist
By “Global warming Nazi”, Roy Spencer was is pointing out that global warming extremists/alarmists are imposing their beliefs on all others by dictatorial authoritarian methods. The Nazis were the worst example.
An equivalent characterization is: “Global warming fascist”
See the definition of facism:

a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government
: very harsh control or authority

See usage:
Global warming fascist.
Climate facism
Climate Facist

Robert W Turner

Denier or “scientific denialism” (whatever they mean by that), it’s clearly just a projection of guilt now.

John West

@ mpcraig
How many scientists have said in writing that they haven’t seen credible evidence suggesting the North American Wood Ape exists?

Tom G(ologist)

The bar graph you would like to see would need to be plotted on logarithmic paper to make the 64 papers even visible, as the two values are three orders of magnitude different. And then we would be accused of cooking the numbers (pun intended) by plotting on a logarithmic scale rather than actual values.

Chuck Nolan

So….45% of Brits are getting their all their climate info from watching Fox News.
Who knew?

Richard Mallett

My favourite graph is at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/ – not only does it come from the longest temperature record in the world, it shows the current cooling, and it shows a lot of warming and cooling periods in the past.

Thanks, Christopher.

Lao Tzu in Art of War would never respond to chants from the enemy because its just playing their game with their narrative adopting their framing. e.g the denier word. So i despair when people respond to them using the word nazi etc because it means they have framed the debate so one is always being reactionary and without the initiative.
The same with statistics. People have a distrust of them anyway.
In war you identify where people are weak and hit with speed and surprise. Where is the co2 deathstar camp weak?
1. Their predictions are based on unverified models that cannot model historical climate so why even look at their predictions and place huge billion dollar tax money bets on them? Ask people why they promote predictions from unverified models that cannot model historical known climate?
2. Their use of world averages. World averages hide a lot of regional sins and give the impression their data is valid globally [global is a key word for them]. e.g world temp av and world sea level rise av [tide gauges show drops of -6mm in cases]
3.taxes can micro manage climate
there are more but space is limited
the munch scream kinda sums the ‘a co2 deathstar is coming to kill us’ mindset up imo and if you want to live in a munch scream the fast decaying magnetic shield would give u more to scream about than warming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream

Mike McMillan

mwhite says: February 26, 2014 at 11:31 am
Name 97 of them??

Close. More like
you gotta name 32 warmists for every skeptic I name.
Anthony Watts says: February 26, 2014 at 11:40 am
See: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/weareskeptics.jpg

Like you three hoplites are worried about getting stabbed by icicles. Sure.
Here’s my favorite graph, poster child for improving the “raw” USHCN data.


97% R 95% certain it COULD be and 0% R certain it WILL be and 31 years of nothing beyond COULD BE proves it won’t be a cataclysmic climate blame crisis. Deny that!

if you have the funds just make a measured documentary with a richard curtis style dismantling of An Inconvenient Truth. u might even get a nobel prize lol
An Inconvenient Truth says it ‘ ultimately shows us that global warming is no longer a political issue but rather, the biggest moral challenge facing our civilization today’. So they not even selling science but politics and morality?
what has politics and morality to do with predictions from unvalidated models that cannot model past history? I would get psychologists in to comment on what type of personality bases politics and morality upon fictions and myths of ‘co2 deathstars coming to kill us all’?
it would probably fit the official criteria for a cult?

basically you are trying to talk down severe anxiety/hysterical people who are/have been convinced the end of the world is coming [which is childish].
its not easy to know what to do. but one can identify what NOT to do. one needs the skills of a psychologist.to reassure and stablise them in a comfort zone.These are highly stressed out people with no sense of humour so making them laugh [at themselves] is a good way because they know deep down there are flaws and contradictions in their calculations but they are just too terrified to admit it..
an airplane! type comedy film on climate science would work.
as long as they think you are ‘the enemy’ they won’t fight among themselves [which they will]


I saw a great cartoon years ago on a different topic, but still a taxation issue, that could possibly be adapted.
Two panels. The first one shows how many cars and houses (for example) Al Gore has now. The next panel shows 2/3 of them gone. The caption reads, “This is how many he will have left if we implement de-carbonization of the economy. How many will you have left?

Paul R

From the title, I thought this would be pictures of mother Nature’s graphic pushback. (All the snow and cold)