The Irrelevancy of Lynas ‘99.9 Percent Certainty Climate Change’ Consensus

Today, a new “peer-reviewed” paper is being released from Cornell University titled Greater than 99% Consensus on Human Caused Climate Change in the Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature.

The study is yet another attempt to convey the nebulous notion that widespread scientific consensus exists regarding the primary causal factor behind climate change. A previous study, spearheaded by climate blogger activist John Cook, concluded in 2013 there was “97 percent consensus.” Despite near universal acclaim and its citation by leading policymakers such as the United Kingdom’s energy minister, the study was inherently flawed.

Dr. Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia explains,

The ‘97% consensus’ article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country [UK] that the energy minister should cite it.

Even The Guardian – typically a stalwart supporter of climate activism – ran a headline stating: The claim of a 97% consensus on global warming does not stand up

After a thorough analysis, more than 100 published articles shredded the study’s faulty methodology and completely rejected its postulated consensus level of 97 percent.

Yet, Cook’s baseless study was still used as the inspiration for today’s release from Cornell – which, unsurprisingly, is similarly flawed. Regarding the researchers’ methodological approach, the article’s press release states, “In the study, the researchers began by examining a random sample of 3,000 studies from the dataset of 88,125 English-language climate papers published between 2012 and 2020.”

There are many issues with this approach, the primary concern being selection bias. The authors arbitrarily decide to look at just an eight-year range of climate papers, neglecting to examine the large number of papers published before 2012. This approach, therefore, conveniently “forgets” to incorporate the significant sample of climate skeptical papers written in response to the then-nascent concept of global warming in the 1970s.

They go on to say “case closed” even as the glaring bias of pre-selection ensures many skeptical papers from the 1970s, when global warming first appeared on the radar of science, to today, were excluded from the study.

Primary paper author Mark Lynas, visiting fellow with Cornell’s Alliance for Science, concludes:

We are virtually certain that the consensus is well over 99% now and that it’s pretty much case closed for any meaningful public conversation about the reality of human-caused climate change.

To cast further shadow upon the study’s conclusions beyond the glaring selection bias problem, Lynas himself inspires reason for distrust. The lead author has a history of climate activism.

Danish author Bjørn Lomborg, a former member of Greenpeace, penned a book titled The Skeptical Environmentalist. In that book, Lomborg suggested pragmatic solutions to climate issues. At a book signing in 2001 in Oxford, England, Lynas was caught on video throwing a pie in the face of a Lomborg, who was simply attempting to establish good scientific procedure. Rather than attempting to rationally object like an academic is expected to do, Lynas resorted to personal assault. 

To further confound the aforementioned issues with the study and its authors, the entire focus of the study is based on the flawed premise that consensus matters, or should even be sought.

Dr. Richard Tol effectively summarizes this problem in his rebuke of this study’s conclusions, claiming,

Consensus is irrelevant in science. There are plenty of examples in history where everyone agreed and everyone was wrong.

Indeed, there are many such examples. Consensus does not require truth or accuracy, it merely establishes that a group of any number of individuals congregated and agreed to a certain perspective – which is often based on nothing but misinformed opinions.

Author Alex Alexander explains this sociological phenomenon in his article, When Consensus is a Bad Way to Decide,

Consensus is about persuasion and compromise, not right or wrong, not what works best. Consensus is about human interactions, which are mainly about emotions, jumping to conclusions, and negotiation, and may or may not include facts and analysis. Consensus is about compromise, and compromise means that someone, maybe everyone, has to set aside an idea that may have value in order to satisfy the group, or the leader of the group.

Even world-renowned physicist Albert Einstein recognized the fallacy of consensus when it is applied to science. When the Nazi Party of Germany decided they didn’t like Einstein because he was Jewish, they set about to discredit him by publishing One Hundred Authors Against Einstein in 1931. In total, 121 authors were identified as opponents to Einstein’s special relativity theory.

Einstein, one step ahead of them all is said to have riposted,

It would not have required one hundred authors to prove me wrong; one would have been enough.

This is the essence of science – it only takes one author employing sound scientific experimentation to provide effective evidence in support of a theory or hypothesis. Needless to say, this is not how Lynas and many of his peers have historically operated.

So, when Lynas asserts that the case is closed, he has provided little to no valid evidence in support of his theory. More methodologically sound forays into predicting the effects of global warming have been attempted, but their results range everywhere from “little effect” to apocalyptic scenarios. It simply depends on the scientist, the specific question being asked, and the methodology employed to test that question.

Science cannot necessarily provide us with a foolproof answer to the exact effects that global warming may have on our planet, but one thing is certain: science is not a popularity contest. The study released today only further cements that consensus is completely meaningless as a means of establishing proof.

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October 19, 2021 3:49 pm

LOL Lynas is “virtually certain”. In other words, he knows it’s a fantasy. Maybe I’ll borrow that for when a situation is a bit tricky. The difficult part would be keeping a straight face ….

Reply to  Martin Clark
October 19, 2021 4:21 pm

It’s not prudent to be “virtually certain.”

Curious George
Reply to  Martin Clark
October 19, 2021 5:30 pm

It is a warm up to the COP26, Glasgow. Expect more.

Tom Halla
October 19, 2021 4:07 pm

Quite true. If something relies on consensus, it is politics, not science.

M Courtney
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 20, 2021 6:04 am

If there was a consensus among the thermometers that the models were right it would mean something.
Sadly, so many thermometers are AGW deniers. They keep saying it’s not warming as fast as we know it must be.

October 19, 2021 4:12 pm

As a point of rhetoric, if you are arguing this with anyone, I just want to point out the following “sleight of hand” / trick that is going on.

Most people, who are not scientists, are dependent on what they read about climate change. As a result, they have no real way to respond to a question like:

Q: “Is global warming real?”

So, what the “97% consensus” paper does is give them a ready response:

A: “99.9% of scientists say that it is occurring.”

In most cases, that will end (or shutdown) the discussion. However, if you look closely at the answer you will discover that it is an answer to a question that was not asked, it is a “substitute” answer. There is a mismatch between question and answer.

Here is a clearer example, to illustrate the “rhetorical trick“:

Lets say someone was murdered and the following Q & A takes place:

Q: “Did John kill Joe?”

A: “The jury said he did.”

You can see clearly there that the original question was not answered. We are not anywhere closer to answering the question about John’s culpability than before the question was posed. The response was an answer to a question I didn’t ask: “What was the jury’s verdict”.

I just bring this up because I have continually used this “observation” to get around the “97% consensus” response. It puts most people on the backfoot when they realize that the “97% consensus” is not an answer to the question I asked. It actually stuns some people when I point this out.

And that really puts me in the driver seat, because I become the “educator”… and have some immediate respect, because I actually taught them something about their own thinking.

Then I go on: “I know what other scientists say, but lets look at some NASA/ NOAA datasets and decide for ourselves.” … and I am back on track, and have defeated the “97% consensus” shutdown.

Try it, it has worked for me…

Reply to  Anon
October 20, 2021 1:50 am

And to be precise, it wasn’t a 97% consensus. It was a 33% consensus. Or less.

986 papers out of the 11,944 Cook and his team reviewed in 2013 that matched the topics “global climate change” or “global warming” explicitly endorsed the idea of human-caused global warming and 2,910 implied it without directly stating it. So being generous, 3,896 endorsed or implied it, which is 32.62%.

You can only arrive at 97% by discarding 10,934 papers (91.54%) that took no position or only implied global warming (or not) without stating it, and only focusing on just the 986 that explicitly endorsed humans as the cause of warming compared to the 24 (2.38% of the cherry-picked 1,010 papers) that explicitly rejected it. If you are more strict, it was really only 986 of 11,984 that explicitly blamed global warming on humans which is 8.25%, proving Cook to be spectacularly inept and/or biased. It was the most amazing cherry-picking since Michael Mann’s one anomalous tree ring that ruled them all.

Reply to  stinkerp
October 20, 2021 7:25 am

I agree with all that you are saying as well as what whatlanguageisthis said. However, I have found that that approach gets me into the minutia of Cook’s work, which is not really what I wanted. Given that I usually have about 5 mins to make a compelling point before I lose their interest, I began approaching this like an “elevator sales pitch”.

Anyway, it might be nice to have a discussion about the techniques people use to have these types of discussions with alarmists. Obviously, some are too far gone, but as for the “fence sitters”, I have been able to bring a remarkable number of them around, especially students (ages 20-30).

Sadly, five years ago, I was doing exactly the reverse, before I “did the math” myself.

Eric H.
Reply to  Anon
October 20, 2021 10:22 am

You have better luck than I do. I usually respond with a doubling of CO2 can only heat the globe approx. 1.2C, with all else held constant. Then they usually go straight to calling me names and talking about the weather. I even had a physics major in college tell me I didn’t know what I was talking about. I told him to go talk to his prof. Most warmistas don’t even understand that most of the heating that is being talked about is from assumed positive feedbacks to the temperature increase, not CO2 forcing.

Reply to  Eric H.
October 20, 2021 2:27 pm

I don’t know why that happens. But it always seems to start with a question posed to me. I have made it a rule that I won’t have climate alarmism mentioned or discussed in my home, office or vehicle. I have no problem taking part in a dinner gathering at another’s residence where they want to toast Michael Mann at the end of the evening, and will even join in on the toast/idiocy. It is the same as if someone wants to say grace before a meal.

So, I think it is the mystery or idiosyncrasy that elicits the questions? And I don’t ever try to “prove a negative”; but if you are practiced at it (which I am now) shredding the CAGW data is easy. And I leave it open ended; if they can satisfactorily provide answers to the 5 questions I pose, then I will relent.

And then invariably, in a few weeks the emails arrive: “I think this is an example of the 1979/1980 start point phenomenon you were talking about”. (lol)

Keep in mind I was teaching CAGW at University for years, so to make up for that, I really spent a lot of time looking at all sides of the argument to develop a position which I can substantiate. I got into science as an explorer and “truth seeker” so I am not really pleased with myself for those years of teaching… and have even gone back and apologized to skeptical students that I formerly had derisively dismissed.

Reply to  Anon
October 23, 2021 6:26 am

Hi Anon,
thanks for sharing this, very interesting.
If I may ask, what was it that made you research more and what eventually made you change your mind?

And would you mind sharing the 5 questions you referred to? I myself am trying to find the right approach, but can’t say I fully succeeded yet. First thing I do is to ask them what their strongest argument is. This sometimes makes them think, but not sure if it’s enough for them to actually start investigating both sides.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Anon
October 20, 2021 4:39 am

Of course the real question that is never asked is:
“What are the benefits of warming?”
Using that approach and getting people to understand the answer changes the perception of warming and removes the false fear that is perpetuated by the climate change cult. Much better than using scientific jargon which the average person cannot understand.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
October 20, 2021 6:02 am

According to the true believers, nature is perfect. Any change that is caused by man is by definition evil.
I remember being told that if we saw a planet killing asteroid on it’s way to earth, it would be evil to stop it, because stopping it would be man interfering with nature.

Reply to  Anon
October 20, 2021 6:57 am

Q: “Is global warming real?”

This is the question that is often asked to get the support for human caused. It is possible that the world can warm and not be human caused. So you often see articles and papers conflate the result and the cause with nothing more than a change in wording between two sentences. While being sure the answer matches the question, it is also a good idea to be sure the question matches the conclusion.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  whatlangaugeisthis
October 20, 2021 7:48 am

Even accepting that global warming can be caused by humans (though possibly so little warming we could never measure it) does not imply that most of the warming cannot be natural, that humans also might contribute to cooling, or that warming may be net benefit versus detriment. By asking and answering an irrelevant question, and then only by claiming consensus without providing actual evidence, they try to make their case in the only way they are capable – deception.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
October 20, 2021 8:39 am

It is a long series of questions that need to be answered, for sure. I don’t think we even close to having all the answers, or even all the questions, but these are some of the questions I have asked myself and looked for answers.

Is there global warming?
If so, is it bad?
If so, is it driven by human activity?
If so, is there anything to be done to change it?
Is CO2 the primary GHG?
Is CO2 a pollutant, or a beneficial trace gas?
Is renewable energy effective?
Does the technology exist on a commercial scale for renewable energy?
Is petroleum based fuel bad?
Do climate models sufficiently model the climate (are they meaningful)?

Based on the answers I have found to these questions, I am not in support of spending money on the topic. Just the first three questions get me to that conclusion with my answers being: looks like it, not so far, and no.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  whatlangaugeisthis
October 20, 2021 11:20 am

Yes better to save our resources for proven issue that truly affect us.

Reply to  whatlangaugeisthis
October 20, 2021 11:29 pm

If you ask the question “Is global warming real” then the answer is always no. This because of night (cooling) and fall, winter (also cooling). The answer is also always yes. This because of day (warming) and spring, summer (also warming).
Both answers are also true at the same time. This because there is always night and day at the same time on the globe. Same goes for the seasons.

This means it is the wrong question. Rephrase and retry please.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Anon
October 20, 2021 11:29 am

Anon: here is another response that should raise red flags.

88,000 peer reviewed climate papers in 8 years. That’s virtually impossible. Assume a standard work year at Uni of ~200days a year. That’s 55 papers a day!! that must be researched (months), reviewed and responding to comments and suggestions (weeks+), edited, printed, (week).

Okay, let’s say these clime folk are a particularly well oiled machine and all this can be rushed from conception to finished paper in one month! This means that it takes 55 months each year to accomplish this.

Regarding sceptics papers, Roy Spencer and others remark that their papers take many months – often they are rejected by the first journal and have to be resubmitted to another taking even a year or more. Lets be conservative and say it takes a 6 months for a sceptic’s paper and there are 500 sceptics publishing. Add in delays in the process of applying for and receiving grants for their research (o yeah) and sceptics max out at a paper a year. Meanwhile the clime syndicate has published 11,000.

Given this normal state of affairs, a proper study
would show 95.5% consensus anyway. It is not difficult to imagine that there are only 200 sceptic papers giving the Clime Syndicate 98.2% of the papers or that journal gatekeeping and stacking editorial boards by Organized Clime is is even more prevalent than I assumed.

A Question: if sceptics account for 1 paper in a thousand, why all the calls for Nuremberg trials, jail time, losing employment, grant’s, denial of promotion, lawsuits, threats …

An Answer: because the consensus doesn’t have game. The tons of chaff that they turn out is necessarily of mediocre quality. Every projection/forecast made in this 100s of tons of papers has failed by 100s of percent. They haven’t engaged in a debate in a decade because every time they did they lost miserably. It is why a mining consultant and an economist were able to cause climate science papers to be retracted.

Peter Muller
Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 20, 2021 12:31 pm

AND…how many of these 88,125 peer-reviewed papers are really written by climate scientists versus climate/environmental policy persons, science communication types, ecologists, etc who simply make a statement that humans are causing global warming (citing the usual alarmist sources), but provide no independent data to support this in their paper?

Jeffrey H Kreiley
October 19, 2021 4:14 pm

Didn’t Einstein say something like that it would only take one person to prove him wrong when asked about the amount of scientists who disagreed with him?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jeffrey H Kreiley
October 19, 2021 8:15 pm

Since you apparently didn’t actually read all (any?) of Anthony’s short article, I’ll quote his prescient pre-response to your question:

“Even world-renowned physicist Albert Einstein recognized the fallacy of consensus when it is applied to science. When the Nazi Party of Germany decided they didn’t like Einstein because he was Jewish, they set about to discredit him by publishing One Hundred Authors Against Einstein in 1931. In total, 121 authors were identified as opponents to Einstein’s special relativity theory.
Einstein, one step ahead of them all is said to have riposted,

It would not have required one hundred authors to prove me wrong; one would have been enough.”

October 19, 2021 4:16 pm

“Overall, the search yielded 28 papers that were implicitly or explicitly skeptical, all published in minor journals.”

What counts is the fact that there are still 28 papers around. What did they say, and why were their claims could not be refuted using scientific method?

These claims could not be refuted using the scientific method because 99.9% of these people do not employ scientific method.

My last word for the authors of this stupid paper, “Hey, your paper also appeared in a “minor journal”.

Reply to  ChrisB
October 19, 2021 6:36 pm

I’ll add that no account was taken of all the scientific papers written challenging the ‘consensus’ which are cancelled by journals and reviewers who won’t entertain any opposing opinions.

It’s also worth noting the opinion of Richard Horton, the Editor of the Lancet who claimed up to 50% of all peer reviewed medical papers were nonsense, bedevilled with small sample sizes, amongst other criticisms. With a sample size of 85, this would most certainly fall into that category.

Furthermore, ‘climate science’ falls well behind medical science in terms of academic rigour in my opinion.

We also know there are innumerable AI generated ‘studies’ reviewed and published, particularly amongst the minor journals. The Chinese are past masters at it as continued employment in any academic field is reliant on publication.

4 Eyes
October 19, 2021 4:21 pm

It was a simplistic algorithmic literature survey which means it is scientifically useless. Why not directly survey the scientists who wrote the papers, and all the other climate scientists whose papers were not reviewed, with clear, specific and unambiguous questions about the accuracy, extent and consequences of anthropogenic GW? Then publish each scientist’s answers against their name. This will never happen of course because, apart from being too hard for lazy data manipulators, many of the consensus scientists would refuse to be involved because (1) as time goes by their dire predictions are being seen to be wrong, (2) they would upset their funders if they indicated they were only lukewarm and (3) not all climate scientists are honest, just like any other group in society. IIRC, an APS survey of member scientists (not their papers) a few years ago indicated a 55/45 split on the issue, nothing like 999/1

Reply to  4 Eyes
October 19, 2021 6:16 pm

What’s the funding split between the catastrophists vs middle vs rejection? How has that changed over the years?

Chris Hanley
October 19, 2021 4:22 pm

From the paper:

Method: … We searched the Web of Science for English language ‘articles’ added between the dates of 2012 and November 2020 with the keywords ‘climate change’, ‘global climate change’ and ‘global warming’ ….

‘Human-caused’ or similar has become an implied prefix to the keywords, that would automatically bias the result.
As a commenter on the previous thread said it’s ‘begging the question on stilts’, the conclusion reached is already embedded in the premise of their study.

October 19, 2021 4:29 pm

We need a University of Chicago. Economists accepted the Keynesian paradigm that only fiscal (budget) policy determined economic outcomes until Milton Friedman and other Chicago economists challenged the prevailing paradigm. They were called eccentrics, but were proved correct when inflation took off in the late 1970s. Chicago had one weapon that skeptics don’t, it published two journals -The journal of Political Economy and the Journal of Law and Economics. Both had impeccable credentials and provided Chicago economists with an outlet. How can we develop credible outlet for skeptical views.

Reply to  Mohatdebos
October 19, 2021 6:27 pm

As time goes on, people are starting to realize that the web is a better “journal” than any of the so called official journals.
No gate keepers and instant feedback. If there is a problem, somebody will point it out.

Reply to  MarkW
October 19, 2021 9:54 pm

Ah yes, the horse dewormer that won the Nobel Prize for Medicine and is classified by W.H.O. as an essential medicine for people. That Ivermectin?

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2021 2:13 am

Most drugs prescribed for humans have their veterinary equivalents, Ivermectin being one of them.

Were you unaware of that?

Reply to  Graemethecat
October 20, 2021 6:04 am

From the tone of the comment, I get the feeling that there are lots of things Jeffrey is not only not aware of, but doesn’t want to be aware of.

Jeffrey C. Briggs
Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2021 9:13 am

Someone hijacked my email. I did not write this. Very disturbing, does anyone have a remedy?

Jeffrey C. Briggs
Reply to  Graemethecat
October 20, 2021 9:12 am

Yes. Someone hijacked my email address, I did not write this comment. Very disturbing, does anyone know a remedy?

(I shall look into it and tell the boss about it) SUNMOD

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2021 6:03 am

Some people don’t believe what they are told to believe, therefore everything on the web is garbage.

Why don’t you try thinking for yourself for once?

Jeffrey C. Briggs
Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2021 9:10 am

Guys, there might be two of me. This Jeffrey C Briggs who is not a scientist and voraciously reads but very occasionally comments on WUWT did not write the comment on horse/cow dewormer and would not have written it. Apparently someone has hijacked my email address for some reason. Seriously, this is really disturbing to me.

(I have taken his comments to the Mod bin and notified the Administrators, thanks for the tips) SUNMOD

Jeffrey C. Briggs
Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2021 9:11 am

Someone hijacked my email. I did not write this comment.

Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 21, 2021 1:49 am

My apologies then to the real JCB for my snarky comment.

Jeffrey C. Briggs
Reply to  Graemethecat
October 21, 2021 10:12 pm

I would have said something similar in response to the idiocy attributed to me, I may be an idiot, but of my own making, I don’t need help from some coward email name thief. So, no worries Graemethecat!

Steve Taylor
October 19, 2021 4:32 pm

Didn’t 100% of doctors disagree with Semelweis ? Who was wrong ?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Steve Taylor
October 19, 2021 5:12 pm

I had to look him up.
He reminded me of Jenner and smallpox.
There was a phase that a girl’s skin was “Smooth as a milkmaid’s” that persisted until about 50 years ago.
In the 1700’s when smallpox was a scourge that killed or left the survivors scarred, he noticed that milkmaids, girls that milked the cows, rarely got smallpox.
Cows got something similar called Cowpox with open sores. He reasoned that being exposed to cowpox somehow protected milkmaids from smallpox.
He would put the puss of the cow into a cut.
And thus the first vaccine was discovered by someone who didn’t know what a virus was.
He was just observant.

Reply to  Gunga Din
October 20, 2021 6:48 am

The word ‘vaccine’ comes from ‘vacca’ meaning cow.

October 19, 2021 4:32 pm

”Today, a new “peer-reviewed” paper is being released from Cornell University titled Greater than 99% Consensus on Human Caused Climate Change in the Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature.
Oh really? Excellent! Now they will finally be able to explain the temperature rises of the past with 99.9% accuracy! Can’t wait….
Oh and this also means job done! No need for any further research into this question. They will all go home now. I’m so happy!

October 19, 2021 4:41 pm

There are two serious logical fallacies that this paper commits. First, is the appeal to authority logical fallacy. Also known as argument from authority. Just because a person claims to be or is made out to be an expert does not mean their position is correct. History is filled with experts who were wrong — such as miasma theory, the cause of ulcers, plate tectonics. Before proven right, all the experts said differently.

The second logical fallacy is the ad populum fallacy. It doesn’t matter if 7 billion people say something is true, that does not make it true. Again, history is filled with examples where everyone believed something to be true that was not true.

The CAGW movement has nothing but logical fallacies, lies, and half-truths. How can they have anything else when every long-term prediction they have made has been wrong? How can they have anything else when their prophets refuse to live by the same rules they require of the people they openly abhor?

October 19, 2021 4:41 pm

I sense a great unease in the Matrix ahead of the Glasgow fear-mongering festival

I really do think an implosion of the climate change industry, and it is an industry, is nigh.

The PR and spin from all the usual suspects seems to be more frenetic than usual and the crass stupidity of pronouncements is at an all time high.

The illuminati and high priests of the religion of climate change are starting to realize that it’s almost time to pay the piper.

Reply to  mike
October 20, 2021 3:16 am

Well, …it’s almost time to pay the piper, Glasgow’s the place to do it.

M Courtney
Reply to  mike
October 20, 2021 6:19 am

Nah. It’s always like this before a COP.

The media gets all excited as big people are about to talk about the end of the world!
The activists have their days out, which is fun and they might get on the telly.
The “scientists” compete to see who can get published the paper with the most sensationalist finding so as they can be quoted at the COP – and thus get funding for being influential.

Then the COP dramatically over-runs…

Until finally they make a breakthrough where by everyone nobly agrees to sacrifice a lot at some unspecified time in the future (as circumstances allow).

And then we start planning for the next jamboree.

Think of this period as being like Green Advent. The Carol singers are caroling and the fairy lights are glistening and all the sales people are pushing their wares. But we’ll all be sleeping it off on Boxing Day.

Gunga Din
October 19, 2021 4:44 pm

What is, is.
Nature, natural laws in action and the effects of those laws is, well, “what is”.
“Science” is trying to understand those natural laws.
Sometimes the present consensus rejected what other scientists, sometimes a lone scientist, hypothesized. (Einstein, Pasteur, Copernicus, Galileo, etc.) But they ended up being vindicated (or at least having a better understanding than the previous “consensus”).
The result was a better understanding and application to benefit all.
Enter “Politics”.
“Political Science” to further a political agenda, not a genuine search to understand.
How does politics keep “scientist” on their side? Fund them if you like the conclusions.

William Haas
October 19, 2021 4:53 pm

Unless they register all scientists and have them vote on the validity of the AGW conjecture, the consensus is all speculation. But even if there was such a vote, the results would have been meaningless because science is not a democracy. Scientific theories are not validated by a voting process or by some other form of a popularity contest. Such a consensus does not change the fact that the AGW conjecture is full of flaws. For example a very important part of the AGW conjecture is that H2O acts to amplify the warming effects of CO2. The idea here is that CO2 based warming causes more H2O to enter the atmosphere which is suppose to cause even more warming because H2O is also a so called greenhouse gas with LWIR absorption bands. In fact, molecule per molecule, H2O is a stronger LWIR absorber than is CO2. But what the AGW conjecture ignore’s is the fact that besides being the primary greenhouse gas, H2O is a primary coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere. The overall cooling effects of H2O are evidenced by the fact the the wet lapse rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate in the troposphere. Hence adding H2O to the atmosphere must cause cooling and not warming so H2O must act as a negative feedback diminishing any warming that adding CO2 to the atmosphere might provide. These are facts that a consensus opinion cannot change but apparently all scientists are not aware of the various flaws in the AGW conjecture.

October 19, 2021 4:58 pm

This is an easily testable fact-
The more energy into the ice free oceans (surface and atmosphere above), the cooler the ocean surface gets.

Easy to test using readily available satellite data.

October 19, 2021 5:04 pm

If you read the paper they found 409 out of the 2,718 papers they sampled randomly explicitly state that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming. I make that 15%. 85% of scientific papers on climate change do not believe that humans are the main cause of recent warming.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Lawrence
October 19, 2021 6:59 pm

85% of scientific papers on climate change do not believe that humans are the main cause of recent warming.”

Papers don’t have beliefs. And, just because such statements may not be in those papers doesn’t mean the scientists don’t have those beliefs.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 21, 2021 7:06 am

Since it works both ways you agree that the paper is garbage.

Nicholas Harding
October 19, 2021 5:13 pm

Didn’t 100% disagree with Galileo?

October 19, 2021 5:18 pm

I don’t think even Stalin claimed 99.9% election victory. This kind of arrogance just cements their reputation for tone-deaf nonsense and is why the public doesn’t believe them or care about their cause.

Reply to  Felix
October 20, 2021 6:37 am
October 19, 2021 5:33 pm

Obviously it is coming around to grant time again so he is licking ass of BOJO for some more funding
Good science research doesn’t pay
public hysteria with XR gets you the money
shame the government doesn’t apply a contract warranty like you have to provide for real projects such as a Nuclear reactor power station
they would then learnt to be responsible if they were going to have to pay back funds and become deregistered

October 19, 2021 5:37 pm

I’ll bet you couldn’t get a 99% consensus on use having a climate, or that the earth is round or that the sun rises in the East because of misunderstanding the question, errors and a few intentionally wrong answers.

October 19, 2021 6:02 pm

The AntiSci of consensus “science”. A cargo cult with secular treats.

October 19, 2021 6:09 pm

The period being samples is explained by assuming the previous study upto 2012 explains the consensus prior to 2012. So you could say the new study does represent recent publications (current situation).

But 31.1% (845/2718) represent endorsement, 0.15% (4/2718) represent rejection (explicit or implicit).

It’s unclear as to how much of the statistics rely on keywords & automation vs indepth reading of the papers & manual assessments. Unclear of objective vs subjective. Unclear of just making the assumption of endorsement/rejection of AGW/CC is just in the introduction/conclusion/discussion vs based on empirical results of the actual paper (the paper being checked for stance). So what are they actually measuring?

“In other words, the predictive keywords successfully allowed us to identify a total of 28 papers from the full dataset of 88125 which appeared implicitly or explicitly sceptical of ACC.”
The 28/88125 would be ~0.032% but based on several unknowns. How many AGW/CC endorsement papers are based on groupthink, plagiarism, fabrication, faulty methodology or unable to be replicated?

Can the papers that rejects AGW/CC be verified (independently tested & replicated) and disprove the AGW/CC papers? or is the reverse true (AGW/CC more likely than not)?
Whether I think (or 99% consensus think) the globe is spherical or not doesn’t change the fact the globe is basically spherical. Likewise, the number of papers may not affect the reality & future discoveries. Are they saying we should mistrust & maybe test claims being made by 1 side but not the other? Blind acceptance or blind rejection is not scientific. All publications should be open to differing opinions but focus on what can be verified or disproved based on the empirical evidence.

Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 19, 2021 6:32 pm

I feel sorry for you Mr. Watts, being on the wrong side of the science.

(You have been caught again, using other peoples IDs to hide behind innocent people, pathetic that you keep coming back after you were banned a few years ago) SUNMOD

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 19, 2021 8:27 pm

Just who are you to think that you have a special gift for recognizing the truth, and that you have the arrogance to offer your ‘condolences’ to someone that you think is wrong? You are a real piece of work! However, that fits the profile of an alarmist, someone who has a certainty commonly found in those who have a deeply religious justification for their view of reality.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 19, 2021 8:30 pm

Does it make you feel special to hold such a high opinion of yourself that you go around offering your condolences to those you disagree with?

Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 19, 2021 9:08 pm

The question is: what exactly is the 99% consensus? This is not clear from the summary of the piece. There is a vast difference between a consensus that human activity has influenced and continues to influence the climate, and a consensus that human caused global warming by CO2 emissions will lead to a climate disaster.

Almost anyone who has looked at the matter seriously will agree that there is human influence on climate, both local and global. The question is how much and whether it is dangerous, and what if anything can and should be done about it.

Anthony’s view is not, I think, that human activity has had and is having no effect on the climate.

I imagine it would be something like my own: that the effects are moderate, the consensus exaggerates the scale, and that many of the proposed remedies are both pointless, being directed at non-existent problems, and useless, not having any chance of achieving the goals which are used to justify them.

Is this ‘on the wrong side of the science’? I don’t think so. I think you will find, if you look, a lot of evidence in the peer reviewed literature to support the unalarmed view of the scale. And even more in the available evidence on alternative energy to support the view that most policies proposed in the name of combating climate change are worse than useless.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 19, 2021 9:48 pm

Why do you warmunists say such demonstrably stupid things? Where did you ever get the idea there’s a right and wrong side of science? There is science with and without evidence. You’re on the later.

Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 20, 2021 2:18 am

Go on, present real, empirical evidence (NOT models) that atmospheric CO2 controls Earth’s temperature. We all need a laugh.

Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 20, 2021 6:38 am

Do you have any evidence that Mr. Watts is on the wrong side of science? Or is that just what you have been told to believe?

Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 20, 2021 6:39 am

Actually it’s 0.1%, and you haven’t addressed the many arguments that show your claim to be wrong.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 20, 2021 3:01 pm

Are you basing your feeling sorry on examining the evidence via the scientific method or just your “feelings”?

Jeffrey C. Briggs
Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 20, 2021 10:28 pm

I hope everyone realizes from SUNMOD above that I did not write this or prior comments in this thread attributed to me, only those noting my name had been hijacked by some ahole who evidently has done this before.

(The bad guy wrote all those bad comments which have been DELETED except the one where the bad guy attacks Anthony Watts in the comment above because that is where I posted the Moderators comment there to explain what happened to the bad guy. the bad guy is BANNED) SUNMOD

(You here is the GOOD guy, the real Jeffrey Briggs) SUNMOD

Jeffrey C. Briggs
Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 20, 2021 10:53 pm

Thank you so very much from the real Jeffrey C Briggs. Love this site and appreciate all the participants. I am a non-scientist but come here to learn, and I do. I occasionally comment and I am very thankful you figured out about the ahole. Well done, just like everything else here. Thank you again.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Jeffrey C. Briggs
October 21, 2021 5:30 pm

WUWT has always have a very good “ModSquad”.
From Anthony on down, they hate deception but they love honest and (on topic) free speech within the site’s policy.

Aaron D.
October 19, 2021 6:34 pm

That Einstein quote is probably fake. No one can find a primary source for it. A lot of claimed Einstein quotes are fake such as the definition of insanity saying.

Reply to  Aaron D.
October 19, 2021 8:22 pm

Aaron D.
There is no primary source for the Einstein quote so it may be apocryphal.

  1. There was a publication “ One Hundred Authors Against Einstein”,
  2. Whether Einstein said it or not, the riposte is true in the same way the saying attributed to Senator Everett Dirksen, “A billion dollars here and a billion dollars there and suddenly you’re talking real money”, (probably apocryphal) is also true.

Or as Yogi Berra said, “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

Reply to  Herbert
October 20, 2021 6:40 am

I believe the original “quote” was a million here, a million there”.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Aaron D.
October 19, 2021 10:03 pm

Famous people often say things they didn’t say. It comes with the territory. There are many quotes attributed to Stalin because it makes a better story than attributing it to the real author. Some famous sayings where said by many.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
October 20, 2021 7:18 pm

Many quotes by politicians & science celebrities are from other people. It’s sometimes funny to fact check political speeches to find the sources they plagiarised or quoted (gave attribution) but the politician is re-quoted like gospel while the sources doesn’t get repeated.
For example Obama quoted Jay Inslee & the original Obama speech mentioned the source but you’re more likely to see..
than the source..

Rory Forbes
Reply to  tygrus
October 20, 2021 9:00 pm

True … O’Biden also famously lost his 1988 Presidential bid by plagiarizing one of UK Labour parliamentarian, Neil Kinnock’s, speeches. He’s a famous pathological liar, given to claiming credit for many of the accomplishments of others. It isn’t that these people have low morals, poor ethics and dubious values. They lack them altogether and are likely true sociopaths.

He should never have been considered for president in 2020.

October 19, 2021 6:46 pm

Has someone now defined what is and what isn’t “climate change”? Because to make the claim that 99.9% of studies agree that humans caused it, would require a definition that all studies examined adhered to.

I sincerely doubt that is the case. Which makes the claim unsupportable.

Reply to  Doonman
October 20, 2021 2:21 am

If climate changed in the past, before Human intervention, why should current climate change be any different?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Graemethecat
October 21, 2021 5:42 pm

Money, Power, Politics.
The Hockeystick gave both a lever and a club to support “The Cause”.

October 19, 2021 7:30 pm

I find “we searched the web” to be a disqualifying criteria.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Rob_Dawg
October 21, 2021 5:56 pm

A few keystrokes and the data is suddenly … different.

Chris Hanley
October 19, 2021 7:38 pm

From a dataset of 88125 climate-related papers published since 2012, when this question was last addressed comprehensively … (paper Abstract)

88125 papers and still no definite number for climate sensitivity, in fact the range of possible values has widened.
Lack of progress is an indicator of pseudoscience.

Richard Thornton
October 19, 2021 7:40 pm

After reading the study I found the author made an error in calculations. In fact 104.375% consensus exists in peer reviewed papers. Which is the highest on record since satelite records began. We expect the consensus to be higher next year due to global warming.

October 19, 2021 8:19 pm

Primary paper author Mark Lynas”

There’s the problem. A serial liar concocted the whole mess by imitating J. Cook.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  ATheoK
October 19, 2021 10:12 pm

… and John Cook’s ‘study’ is a model of bad scholarship. It was soundly debunked by Legates et. al. … who proved that the actual consensus, using Cook’s own data, was 0.3%. This proves that fully 99.7% of scientists disagree with Cook’s premise.

Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change

“However, inspection of a claim by Cook et al. (Environ Res Lett 8:024024, 2013) of 97.1 % consensus, heavily relied upon by Bedford and Cook, shows just 0.3 % endorsement of the standard definition of consensus: that most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic.”

anna v
October 19, 2021 9:22 pm

“bias of pre-selection ” must be large, because serious researchers checking the first “global warming” scare, after making sure that the case was bogus, and changed subjects. One is bored in spending time on the same thing, if one enjoys physics research.

October 19, 2021 9:34 pm

892 papers out of 3000 = 99.9%. That’s new maths for you. 😉

Reply to  lee
October 19, 2021 10:10 pm

the 88,125 was distilled down to 3,000

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  lee
October 20, 2021 10:08 am

Which means they essentially made up the number they liked. IOW, business as usual for the bullshit “consensus” claims.

The only real purpose for claims of “consensus” is to make people stop thinking, questioning, researching, etc. Because they know the climate crap won’t stand up to the slightest bit of reason.

Bryan A
Reply to  lee
October 20, 2021 12:02 pm

85,125 Were eliminated as to their stated views on Natural Warming

Bjarne Bisballe
October 19, 2021 10:41 pm

Article received 7 June 2021. The conclusion refers to IPCC AR6 from 9 August 2021. Strange.

October 19, 2021 10:52 pm

What if the 4 skeptical studies mentioned in the paper are correct? In fact the very existence of skeptical peer reviewed papers proves that the science is not in fact settled.

Vincent Causey
October 20, 2021 12:45 am

This will eventually backfire on science itself. Once reality prevails at some point in the future, and the end of the world does not happen despite the unrelenting rise of CO2, people will blame science and scientists because they will see them as one undifferentiated blob, all agreeing 100%, rather than realising that a spectrum of opinions existed but groupthink, politics and money worked to suppress the more skeptical wing.

October 20, 2021 1:21 am

They’ve only moved the needle from 97% to 99.9%. If they were serious about the imminent climate apocalypse, the “sixth mass extinction”, the “existential threat”, they would have turned the dial up to 11. They should be talking about the 110% certainty. Maybe next year…

John Phillips
October 20, 2021 1:35 am

Even The Guardian – typically a stalwart supporter of climate activism – ran a headline stating: The claim of a 97% consensus on global warming does not stand up

A guest opinion piece by Professor Richard Tol, critical of the methodology. However 

The consensus is of course in the high nineties. No one ever said it was not. We don’t need Cook’s survey to tell us that.”

Richard Tol

Reply to  John Phillips
October 20, 2021 2:26 am

Why are you Warmunists so obsessed with “consensus”? It has been explained many times on this blog that consensus is completely irrelevant.

Please present empirical evidence for the hypothesis that atmospheric CO2 controls temperatures.

John Phillips
Reply to  Graemethecat
October 20, 2021 4:00 am

Heh. Try this Google search: “97%” “consensus” “Cook”. Eight articles in the weeks following publication alone.

The point of formally quantifying the consensus is not to prove any scientific hypothesis, the motivation was that the degree of consensus was not generally known amongst the public and this had the potential to dilute the political will for action. From Cook et al.

An accurate perception of the degree of scientific consensus is an essential element to public support for climate policy Communicating the scientific consensus
also increases people’s acceptance that climate change (CC) is happening. Despite numerous indicators of a consensus, there is wide public perception that climate scientists disagree over the fundamental cause of global warming

Given that the paper went viral and ‘97%’ is now a meme, you’d have to say Job Well Done 🙂

Reply to  John Phillips
October 20, 2021 4:42 am

Truly a Goebels-worthy effort.

Reply to  John Phillips
October 20, 2021 5:53 am

Thank you so much for confirming my point. CAGW is entirely political and the so-called “Science” is merely window dressing.

Reply to  John Phillips
October 20, 2021 6:44 am

When skeptical papers are actively being suppressed, is it any surprise that most papers published support the consensus?

Dave Fair
Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2021 8:34 am

No government will pay for “science” that undermines its policies. Since it is government funding CliSciFi, you get lots of pee-reviewed nonsense. Cargo cult science.

Eric Vieira
October 20, 2021 1:39 am

They could have also taken only the peer reviewed papers since 2010. Then there would have practically been only alarmist papers there due to selection bias of the journals themselveves.

Anders Valland
October 20, 2021 1:54 am

Since the paper itself shows shy of 30% agreement with their search terms it is of course ridiculous. They say more than 2000 out of their subset of 3000 paper do not take any position on the issue. But of course, they ignore this and say that they only count their own definition of skeptical papers and thus come up with 99%. As if these guys would ever understand what ‘skeptical’ means.

Peta of Newark
October 20, 2021 2:08 am

Lynas is a total wimp, coward and mendacious scumbag.
But, being so brings home the bacon.

Because used the words highlighted:
Quote:”We are virtually certain that the consensus is well over 99% now and that it’s pretty much case closed for any mea…..’

That’s all you need to know and is in fact all that POTUS Trump needed to know.
Unfortunately we see where it got him.
As ‘someone famous’ once said: Beware of stupid people, especially when they occur in large numbers..

and *that* is The Problem we all have here, large numbers of stupid people.
It gets worse, much much worse because they are not intrinsically stupid – ‘something’ is making them so.
See if you can figure the connection with this

Clue: When you sit down for any one of your ‘3 square meals’ every day (and the snacks in between), are you hungry for the calories you get, or hungry for something else?
How would you know………….
How do you know when it’s time for another cigarette, a glass of wine or a spliff.
How DO you know?

Its a very telling picture of the Duchess in there isn’t it – how she towers over the 2 televisual muppets she’s addressing.
btw: How tall is Mr Trump? How tall was Abe Lincoln?
Attached: Another (pictorial) clue concerning/explaining the Duchess, (which I found when I learned to dance and something you’d notice if you did too)

(All a bit cryptic but, I want you to think, Not be told, Not click links, Not watch TV.
I want you to dig…)

The Digger Secret Garden Party.gif
Dave Andrews
Reply to  Peta of Newark
October 20, 2021 9:37 am


Don’t forget Lynas wrote the book ‘Six Degrees’ published in 2007 and in 2020 did a rewrite wth the even more lurid, sensationalist title ‘Our Final Warning – Six Degrees of Climate Emergency’
Needs to keep the bacon comlng in!

Rudiger Eichler
October 20, 2021 2:28 am

It is also 100% consensus that the temperature of the Baltic sea will increase if I pee in the water here in Stockholm, that is a fact. The dispute is not “if” but “how much” and if it is worsening the conditions for life or not and if there are tipping points that can be induced with CO2 outside of the climate models. (Earth history does not imply that)

Captain climate
October 20, 2021 3:20 am

They never state their null hypothesis.

Malcolm Chapman
October 20, 2021 3:28 am

“This is the essence of science – it only takes one author employing sound scientific experimentation to provide effective evidence in support of a theory or hypothesis.”

I am entirely on the side of the skeptics here, but I think we need to be hyper-careful about our own epistemology (since we hold alarmist epistemology in such generalised and justifiable contempt). Popper comes in. It is not that “it only takes one author to prove…”. It is rather that “it only takes one author employing sound scientific experimentation to provide effective evidence against a theory or hypothesis”.

I do hope we are nearing the end of this CAGW fantasy.

October 20, 2021 5:09 am

What a fitting name.

Mark BLR
October 20, 2021 5:23 am

On my first read of the new paper I noted the following (in the “Conclusion” section on page 7 of 8 in the PDF file of the article I downloaded) :

Of course, the prevalence of mis/disinformation about the role of GHG emissions in modern climate change is unlikely to be driven purely by genuine scientific illiteracy or lack of understanding [14].

Curious to see what “peer-reviewed” justification there was for this casual pre-dismissal of any possible “scepticism” about their beliefs, it turned out “Reference 14” was to a “Perspective” piece by Fritz Reusswig (of PIK) back in 2013 on the Cook et al paper.

It included :

My seemingly paradoxical thesis is that this consensus will become less and less relevant in the future.

If this hypothesis is correct, wonderful papers like the one discussed here will become very rare.

It seems odd to me that Lynas (et al) decided to explicitly choose for their “References” section a commentary piece containing a “hypothesis” that the publication of yet another “97+% consensus” paper actually helps to falsify

October 20, 2021 5:40 am

Lord Kelvin once said everything had been learned in physics. Only tidying up decimal points was needed. Until Roentgen, Curie, Einstein…. came along.

John Phillips
Reply to  Buckeyebob
October 20, 2021 10:51 am
October 20, 2021 6:52 am

By the methods used in Lynas 2021 — if they stuck strictly to their own rules, the consensus in published papers would be 100% — heck, even here at WUWT, the consensus that the world has warmed since the Little ice age and that the human population has caused at least some of that warming is 100%.

Even the CO2 Coalition, of which I am a member, would rate as a 100% Consensus organization!

They might as well have surveyed for papers that support the idea of gravity.

October 20, 2021 7:37 am

It’s about more than consensus, it’s about support and grant money for research. Think of the research that is suppressed by this kind of force requiring the focus on one issue.

October 20, 2021 8:02 am

So, who shall submit the counter weight according to the correct standards outlined in this piece? Bueller? PS I would pay money to fund a rebuttal.

Kevin kilty
October 20, 2021 8:27 am

Geophysical data almost always is ambiguous. Sometimes greatly so; sometimes only a bit so. People who post on this site often like to speak about “falsifiabilty”. Ambiguous data make any attempt to falsify a claim tricky. Instead, an alternative approach is to trim the question or claim back and then distill the data down to a robust residue. This carefully trimmed question or claim may not answer the question one hoped to answer in the first place, but it can establish an unassailable position which may still be fruitful.

To examine these 97% or 99.9% claims with great enough detail to establish their “bogusity” will pass over the head of ordinary persons. They will tune out. Thus the trimmed question to these specific claims, is “So what?” The 97% claim says nothing at all about the important questions: Does this establish a real problem with Earth’s climate? If so, what response should we enact? Is do nothing a viable option?

October 20, 2021 12:33 pm

In the era of publish or perish combined with the zero likelihood of being published with a contra-narrative it would hardly be surprising to find the majority of papers agree with the existing dogma.

Mike S
October 20, 2021 2:00 pm

Unfortunately, Lynas was right about one thing:

it’s pretty much case closed for any meaningful public conversation about the reality of human-caused climate change.

Meaningful public conversation has been closed down for a while.

October 20, 2021 5:43 pm

Large, diverse, and complex phenomona do not exist in reality in a form to allow a univariate explanation.The belief in such is a cult and the activities encouraged by such cults are the lazy and resentful person’s substitute for actual accomplishments.

D Cage
October 20, 2021 10:32 pm

So we can make all renewable energy and other climate change spend voluntary now.

October 21, 2021 12:31 am

Not a match for Kim Jung-un – for whom 100% of North Koreans believe is their greatest leader.

Roger Knights
October 21, 2021 8:58 am

Great! This means that 99% of consensus climate science will be discredited when Global Cooling sets in, not merely 97%.

October 21, 2021 9:13 am

Feynman said it, too:

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