The Misrepresentation Of The Scientific Consensus On Climate Change

Iain Aitken

[Note: This essay is abstracted from my eBook Myths: Widely Held But False Beliefs In The Climate Change Crisis, available on Amazon]

In their Fifth Assessment Report the IPCC, the ‘internationally accepted scientific authority on climate change’, gave their opinion of how much of the recent global warming was caused by human activity: ‘It is extremely likely [95-100 percent confidence] more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [i.e. man-made] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together’. Reflecting that opinion Wikipedia states that the ‘Scientific consensus on climate change’ is that ‘the Earth is warming and… this warming is mainly caused by human activities’. It claims that 97-100% of actively publishing climate scientists endorse this opinion. Similarly, NASA claim that, ‘A consensus on climate change and its human cause exists… human activities are the primary cause of the observed climate-warming trend over the past century.’ And in an October 2020 interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes climatologist Dr Michael Mann said, ‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.’ So is it actually true that 97-100% of climate scientists explicitly or implicitly endorse this key IPCC opinion?

Although science is not remotely democratic (it only needs one scientist to prove that the ‘consensus view’ is wrong and it is wrong) the fact remains that if this 97-100% consensus assertion is true then it is indeed very powerful. If the ‘internationally accepted scientific authority on climate change’ says something is almost certainly true and almost all climate scientists in the world agree then it almost certainly must be true – mustn’t it? Whilst there is undoubtedly almost total scientific consensus amongst the scientific authorities (literally dozens of scientific academies from around the world explicitly or implicitly endorse the IPCC’s opinions) that does not necessarily reflect the consensus view amongst climate scientists themselves. So what exactly is it that climate scientists agree on?

The consensus argument is epitomized by Barack Obama’s 2013 tweet that, ‘Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous’. He tweeted this immediately after the publication of the most famous climate change consensus survey, Quantifying the consensus on man-made global warming in the scientific literature (John Cook et al, 2013) conducted by Skeptical Science, a small group of climate change activists, who, despite their name, are precisely the opposite of climate change skeptics (their strapline is ‘Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism’). This study examined the Abstracts from 11,944 climate science papers published over the twenty-year period from 1991 to 2011. It concluded that 97.1% of the Abstracts (that actually expressed an opinion on the causes of global warming) endorsed the view that man-made greenhouse gas emissions (or, at least, greenhouse gases) cause global warming. Although this was 97% of Abstracts, not 97% of climate scientists, it is not unreasonable to suppose that, based on this survey, about 97% of climate scientists endorse the view that man-made greenhouse gas emissions (or, at least, greenhouse gases) cause global warming. It said nothing whatsoever about how much warming those emissions were causing and whether or not such warming was ‘dangerous’. It is probably the case that at least 99.9% of people who might describe themselves as climate scientists (including those most skeptical about the climate change crisis idea) endorse the view that man-made greenhouse gas emissions (or, at least, greenhouse gases) cause global warming, i.e. some global warming. That is not in any serious dispute. The dispute is about how much global warming human activity is causing and whether or not it is ‘dangerous’. So the study revealed nothing that was not already well known and uncontroversial.

Skeptical Science summarized their findings with the statement, ‘97% of climate papers expressing a position on human-caused global warming agree: global warming is happening and we are the cause’ – where ‘we are the cause’ clearly implied ‘we are the sole cause’ instead of what it actually found, viz. that we are the cause of some of the global warming. If the study had been able to show convincingly that 97% of climate scientists endorsed the IPCC’s opinion that human activity was the predominant cause of global warming between 1951 and 2010 then that would certainly have strongly supported the view that there was almost total scientific consensus that the IPCC was right. But of all the Abstracts reviewed in this study only 0.3% explicitly endorsed that central IPCC opinion1. Even (ex-IPCC) Mike Hulme has noted that, ‘The Cook et al study is hopelessly confused… in one place the paper claims to be exploring “the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW [Global Warming]” and yet the headline conclusion is based on rating abstracts according to whether “humans are causing global warming”. These are two entirely different judgements.’ The recently published paper Greater than 99% consensus on human caused climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature (Lynas et al, 2021) claims that the consensus is actually 2% higher – but once again only actually finds a 99% consensus that human activity contributes to climate change to some extent2; in fact about 99% of the papers reviewed in this study failed to explicitly quantify the extent. A survey3 of more than 1,800 climate scientists conducted in 2015 concluded that just 43% of them would endorse the IPCC opinion about our recent predominant role in global warming (and how many of them were agreeing based primarily on their faith in the IPCC and/or their self-interest in staying ‘on message’ to the climate change crisis narrative?)

Mike Hulme has stated that, ‘Claims such as “2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate” are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts.’ Supporting that view, an independent study4 found that the views expressed by the IPCC were the consensus of a leadership cadre of just 53 (about 2%) of them, 44 of whom were very closely linked professionally, having co-authored papers with one another and so very likely to share the same opinions. The author of the study, John McLean (climate data analyst at the Australian Climate Science Coalition and an Expert Reviewer for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report), concluded that ‘Governments have naively and unwisely accepted the claims of a human influence on global temperatures made by a close-knit clique of a few dozen scientists, many of them climate modellers, as if they were representative of the opinion of the wider scientific community.’

One of the most comprehensive reviews5 ever performed of surveys of the scientific consensus on climate change concluded:

  • The articles and surveys most commonly cited as showing support for a ‘scientific consensus’ in favor of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis are without exception methodologically flawed and often deliberately misleading.
  • There is no survey or study showing ‘consensus’ on the most important scientific issues in the climate change debate.
  • Extensive survey data show deep disagreement among scientists on scientific issues that must be resolved before the man-made global warming hypothesis can be validated. Many prominent experts and probably most working scientists disagree with the claims made by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

So what is the real scientific consensus on climate change? There is almost total scientific consensus that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing, that that increase is predominantly due to human activity, that the climate system is warming, that climate change is happening and that human activity has contributed to some extent to the warming, changing climate. Note again that skeptical scientists, like Dr Roy Spencer and Dr Judith Curry and Dr Richard Lindzen, are part of this ‘scientific consensus on climate change’; the idea that they constitute the 3% of scientists who do not support the scientific consensus on climate change is a false idea, misrepresenting what the ‘scientific consensus on climate change’ actually is6. This misrepresentation is designed to bolster the ‘climate change crisis’ narrative and to marginalize and neutralize the skeptical scientists by making their views appear to fall far outside the overwhelming consensus view, even though they actually share that consensus view. Basically, the ‘consensus’ breaks down over the issue of whether or not human activity has been predominantly responsible for recent warming – and whether or not that warming is ‘dangerous’. The power of the false ‘97% scientific consensus that human activity has been predominantly responsible for climate change’ meme, perpetuated by Wikipedia, NASA, Facebook (and many others) is that it can be used very effectively to strangle at birth any debate about the science. As Dr Richard Lindzen has put it, ‘The claim is meant to satisfy the non-expert that he or she has no need to understand the science. Mere agreement with the 97 percent will indicate that one is a supporter of science and superior to anyone denying disaster. This actually satisfies a psychological need for many people.’

So if we return to Dr Michael Mann’s statement that, ‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity’ this is very disingenuous. Whilst there is almost total scientific consensus that climate change is ‘real’ and happening and that there has been some human-caused influence, there is no such scientific consensus over the extent of the human-caused influence and whether or not it could reasonably be described as ‘dangerous’, let alone a ‘crisis’.

References

1 Legates et al. (2015), Science & Education and ‘Consensus? What Consensus?’, GWPF Note 5, thegwpf.org, September 2013 and ‘Richard Tol’s Excellent Summary of the Flaws in Cook et al. (2013) and ‘The Infamous 97% Consensus Paper’, wattsupwiththat.com, 26 March 2015 and ‘The Cook ‘97% consensus’ paper, exposed by new book for the fraud that it really is’, wattsupwiththat.com, 12 March 2016

2 ‘Cooked Up Consensus: Lynas et al “Should Rather Be Classified As Propaganda, Bad Science”’, wattsupwiththat.com, 26 October 2021

3 Bart Strengers, Bart Verheggen and Kees Vringer (2015), Climate Science Survey, Questions and Responses, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, pp 1 – 39

4 ‘Prejudiced authors, prejudiced findings’, John McLean, (Science and Public Policy Institute), July 2008

5 Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming (2015) – Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, S. Fred Singer

6 ‘Study: 3% Contrarians Derailing the 97% Climate Consensus’, wattsupwiththat.com, 18 December 2021

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Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 6:20 am

Cook or Oreskes make claims using questionable methods to note agreement with a trivial statement that is not the item of controversy. Some portion of global warming is real, and some portion is due to human activities.
Agreeing with those statements is not agreement with the IPCC, or that Michael Mann is unquestionable in his “hockey stick”. Nevertheless, Obama acted as that were the case.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 6:37 am

well, Obama is a liar— er, I mean lawyer- trained to defend any side of any legal argument- and especially any political argument

Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 7:10 am

The book “100 German scientists against Einstein” comes to mind.

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 7:49 am

Most of the human caused influence on temperature proxies is from the Urban Heat Island effect and not CO2 emissions.

Dean
Reply to  co2isnotevil
February 10, 2022 2:47 pm

On surface temperatures. These are hopelessly corrupted number sets.

Burl Henry
Reply to  co2isnotevil
February 11, 2022 6:49 pm

co2isnotevil:

Nonsence!

Heat Islands have only a minor effect, if any.

John Entwistle
Reply to  Burl Henry
February 11, 2022 8:30 pm

”Nonsence”

care to back that up with data?

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/11/19/heat-waves-vs-observed-data/

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 9:13 am

Beyond that, there was never any sort of agreement that global warming, caused by humans or not, was in any way, shape or form, was dangerous.

TEWS_Pilot
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 9:18 am

comment image 

Michael Mann Hockey Stick on Head.jpg
Rick C
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 10:44 am

Tom Halla> Absolutely correct. You could say 51% of warming is human caused but that would include land use changes over 100’s of years and urban heat island effect. So GHG emissions might be about 1/3 of the human caused warming. So GHG emissions could be responsible for less than 0.17 C (1/3 of 51% = 17%) of the observed ~ 1 C of warming and still be consistent with the 97% consensus claim. No reason to be concerned or to dismantle our economy and reliable energy infrastructure.

Vincent
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 2:10 pm

“Some portion of global warming is real, and some portion is due to human activities.”

All global warming, or climate change, is real, whatever the cause.

DonM
Reply to  Vincent
February 10, 2022 4:51 pm

The (Mann) hockey stick ‘global warming’ is not real … it is a lie.

The (Hansen) fool people in a hot room ‘global warming’ in not real.

The ‘global warming’ represented by the hide the decline methodology is not real.

Almost all of the projected (modeled) global warming has been shown to be ‘unreal’.

Estimated ‘global warming’, through rough measurement, is not real … it is estimated. It may be relatively accurate, but not real.

Marcos
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 10, 2022 7:32 pm

Yeap, 75 out of 77, which is 97.4%. But they didn’t mention why they “filtered” out over 3K+ responses from over 10K+ sent surveys. I don’t claim to be a smart person, but if you can’t freaking predict the weather over the 7-day trend, then how can you predict something over 100 years horizon. Btw, now they said the “cloud” factor has “messed” up their computer modeling. What a joke? I wonder how much CO2 is in the atmosphere. Humans are hubris, to think a colony of ants can affect the universe’s climate pattern.

MarkW
February 10, 2022 6:20 am

Didn’t Saddam Hussein win election with 99.9% of the vote?

Hari Seldon
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 7:02 am

The situation was very similar also in the former East-block countries. For example Mr. Honecker could win the elections in East-Germany always with 95+% result. And one day he had only some minutes to flee from East-Germany to escape to be lynched…

Mr.
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 7:43 am

Yes, and coincidentally 92% of them answered to the name “Ahmed”.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 8:56 am

97% of acupuncturists believe it is a legitimate medical treatment…..oh-oh, I feel some downvotes coming….

Rick C
Reply to  DMacKenzie
February 10, 2022 10:55 am

And yet only 84% of clergymen profess complete belief in the existence of God.

DonM
Reply to  Rick C
February 10, 2022 4:56 pm

“Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I’m not Him.” … Father Cavanaugh

Ken Irwin
February 10, 2022 6:30 am

”Genius abhors consensus because when consensus is reached, thinking stops.”  Albert Einstein.

A number of “studies” have been conducted to further the 97% consensus myth – via questionnaires that even a dyed in the wool sceptic such as myself would come out as part of the consensus.
 
https://climatechangedispatch.com/97-percent-consensus-climate-myth/

Questions such as “Do you believe that CO2 is a greenhouse gas ?”, “Do you believe man’s CO2 emissions are contributing to global CO2 levels ?”, “Do you believe the climate is warming up ?” “Do you believe additional CO2 will cause warming ?” etc. etc. I would have to answer “yes” to – but that still does not make me part of the consensus. This is an example of a “scientific survey” being crafted to get the answer they were looking for in the first place.
In addition the bulk of persons responding are either unqualified to answer or have not researched the topic and are answering with their heart rather than their head.
These are invariably poorly constructed and conducted studies which violate all standard practice with respect to scientific conduct of such studies to eliminate bias in the process – just the opposite in fact the studies are contrived to “mine” that bias.

Try these questions :-

Do you believe man’s CO2 output will cause significant climate change ?
My Answer – No!
Do you believe man can significantly influence the climate by adjusting his CO2 output ?
My Answer – Absolutely not!
Do you believe the benefits of reducing CO2 output will outweigh the cost ?
My answer – I doubt that there will be any benefits from reducing CO2 and the cost will be so outrageously high it will impact overwhelmingly negatively on your health & wellbeing.

George Daddis
Reply to  Ken Irwin
February 10, 2022 7:26 am

I became interested in this subject 20 years ago after a luncheon presentation by a University of Rochester Emeritus Professor who was using his new spare time to help a buddy at MIT – Richard Lindzen – investigate the Climate issue. (Regrettably I forgot the Prof’s name.)

What he showed to a group of retired business execs was a very extensive logic tree for which every branch would have to be TRUE for the conclusion of man made dangerous Global Warming (the title at the time) to be TRUE. He let us play with the probabilities of each branch. The presentation was very convincing, without a lot of technical content.

Reply to  Ken Irwin
February 10, 2022 7:43 am

I agree with most of what you wrote, Ken, but I disagree with your answers to the first two of your last three questions. Our CO2 production has significantly changed the Earth’s climate… for the better.

It is measurable by satellites. Here are some articles and peer-reviewed papers about it:
https://tinyurl.com/co2greening
 
Here’s a NASA video about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOwHT8yS1XI

CO2 emissions are environmentally very beneficial, and also very beneficial for agriculture. Here’s a National Geographic article about it (which they’ve since removed):

https://sealevel.info/Owen2009_Sahara_Desert_Greening-NatGeo30639457.html

EXCERPT:

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍ Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍ The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan. …

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍ In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne’s Africa Research Unit in Germany.

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍ “Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass,” said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades. …

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍ “Before, there was not a single scorpion, not a single blade of grass,” he said.

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍ “Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back,” he said.

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍ “The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable.”

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍ 

Here’s a New Scientist article about it:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2811-africas-deserts-are-in-spectacular-retreat/

comment image 

MarkW
Reply to  Dave Burton
February 10, 2022 9:20 am

The only disagreement I would have with your point is that greening is not part of the climate. It can be affected by climate, but is more properly thought of as part of the biosphere.

Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 2:15 pm

But surely the “climastrologists” have carelessly opened the door to the ‘greening’ argument.
Greening is part of the effect that climate has on the biosphere. If they are going to “blame” CO2 for whatever it is they are blaming it for — and increasingly they are tying themselves in knots trying to be convincing about what it is they are in reality blaming it for — then they have to accept the other side of the coin, that increased CO2 levels have been wholly beneficial to the biosphere.
And a global temperature (which even Hansen admitted is “not a useful metric”) around 2° above some arbitrary post-LIA level (which Schellnhuber admitted was a political ‘plucked from the air’ figure with no grounding in climate science) cannot be considered in any way threatening when all previous Warm Periods from the Holocene Optimum onwards have been at least that warm.
This war is not going to be won by arguing semantics.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2022 4:48 am

“Greening” is part of the climate. Climate is a lot more than just changes in temperature and precipitation. Physical geography and vegetation are probably the two most decisive factors in climate classification.

Thomas
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2022 6:07 am

The biosphere has huge effects on the climate. Plant transpiration adds to atmospheric moisture levels, bacteria and plankton provide cloud nucleating particles, termites produce CO2. Without life the climate would be very different, probably much hotter and drier, due to reduced moisture levels and cloud cover.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2022 10:25 am

Land plants pull CO2 out of the air, while adding O2 to it. Animals and fungi add CO2 to it and remove O2. The biosphere has created our present atmosphere.

Last edited 3 months ago by John Tillman
Derg
Reply to  Dave Burton
February 10, 2022 1:38 pm

significantly 🤓

Bryan A
Reply to  Dave Burton
February 10, 2022 10:43 pm

Our kids simply won’t know what a desert is!!!

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Ken Irwin
February 10, 2022 9:15 am

But every one of your questions uses the word “believe” – so such surveys just aren’t scientific.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
February 11, 2022 6:34 am

Those weren’t “My” questions – its how they are posted in the surveys – and yes that is unscientific – that’s my point – its a religion.
Besides asking your average Joe a question framed by science – such as – “Do you currently accept the thermodynamics as propounded in greenhouse gas theory ?” will just cause them to glaze over – you can’t even ask such a question to well over 90% of university educated people (Arts & Humanities) – much less Mr Average Joe. Its all part of the same problem.

MarkW
Reply to  Ken Irwin
February 10, 2022 9:17 am

Once again, “significant” is a weasel word because it means different things to different people.
To a scientist, any factor that is large enough to affect the results of your experiment is significant. So if CO2 is responsible for 1 to 5% of the warming, it is considered to be “significant”.
To many lay people, significant means a much larger fraction, perhaps even a majority.

Old Cocky
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 12:02 pm

It’s always difficult when a term has a technical meaning in a particular field that differs from its meaning in general usage.
Such ambiguity can become even more challenging (or entertaining for bystanders) when the same term has different definitions in related disciplines.

Chris Nisbet
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 4:38 pm

I suspect that is exactly why words like ‘normal’ and ‘significant ‘ get used.

tommyboy
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2022 6:50 pm

Are we conducting the survey to collect facts or opinions?

Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 6:35 am

“….climatologist Dr Michael Mann said, ‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.’”

When Isaac Newton explained gravity- there probably was a 97% consensus that he got it right.

Then came Einstein with a more profound understanding of gravity. Science is never settled so any consensus in worthless.

That statement by Mann shows that he really just ain’t that bright. It’s OK to be not so bright- but when so many people think you’re a genius and leader in your field- then that shows just how stupid they all are.

Kalsel3294(@kalsel3294)
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 7:43 am

Tim Flannery, (Flim Flam Flannery) is living proof of your last point.

Peter K
Reply to  Kalsel3294
February 10, 2022 8:50 pm

Most of the school teachers in Australia, think that Tim is a genius.

Kalsel3294(@kalsel3294)
Reply to  Peter K
February 11, 2022 12:54 pm

Therein lies the problem.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 7:55 am

And even Einstein’s GR is incomplete and not ‘settled’, as the particle singularity can’t be reconciled with quantum mechanics and the other forces despite the fact that on the other side of the curvature equation is the stress energy tensor which for all intents and purposes can represent all forms of matter and energy.

Bob Hunter
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 8:20 am

Dr Mann loves: media attention; being quoted by DiCaprio; Congress testimony etc. He also loves using the media and the flawed legal system to attack those that disagree with him, ie Dr Ball, Steyn, McKitrick, McIntyre (or maybe he dislikes CDNs) Sorry, can’t remember the name but years ago, Mann had a New Zealand Professor removed from the IPCC but that wasn’t enough for the jac***s, tried to get the Professor fired from the New Zealand University. Climategate etc. So sad he is one of the leading spokesman for the climate debate.

Streetcred
Reply to  Bob Hunter
February 10, 2022 1:37 pm

Gray ?

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 3:38 pm

Raise hands:

How many think Mickey Mann can do tensor mechanics?

c1ue
February 10, 2022 6:41 am

Cook isn’t a climate scientist yet somehow positive opinions on CAGW by non-climate scientists are fine.

King Coal
February 10, 2022 6:42 am

Surely a biased trusted science based entity like the IPCC wouldnt fabricate stats to verify its very existence and further funding?!!!!!!!🤣🤣🤣🤣

97% of an handful of over zealous climate alarmists is not a scientific concensus

Res ipsa locquitor

Danley Wolfe
February 10, 2022 6:43 am

Nothing new in this post, rehashing of old information. Agreed, 97% of this massive field of climate science cum orthodoxy is on the payroll. if you agree with the consensus you will bbe given your salary, your university chair, you research grant in all of which you will be welcomed into “the 97% of scientists agree that …club” but if you don’t do this you will not get that salary, that university chair and that grant !! Can we focus on and develop strategies on what we can do to coiunter these myths.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Danley Wolfe
February 10, 2022 9:08 am

Nothing new in this post, rehashing of old information.

True, but every once in a while, it’s good to review the battlefield and remind one’s self what the enemy’s weaknesses are and how they can be exploited.

MarkW
Reply to  Danley Wolfe
February 10, 2022 9:22 am

Occasionally old information has to be rehashed. There are still a lot of people who believe in the 97% lie and will trot it out whenever they are challenged as their defense.

Bill Rocks
Reply to  Danley Wolfe
February 10, 2022 12:26 pm

The 97% “consensus” is a convoluted and deceptive claim. I do not mind a refresher course and another reference.

By the way, Andy May’s recent book re politics and climate change also has useful detailed dissections of same.

Nick Schroeder
February 10, 2022 6:44 am

Once upon a not so long ago time published, peer reviewed, main stream, scientific consensus included:
phlogiston,
caloric,
luminiferous ether,
spontaneous generation,
water filled Martian canals,
planet Vulcan,
medical humors,
four elements of matter,
cold fusion……..
And they all turned up wrong.
RGHE theory is going to join them. 

Dave Fair
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
February 10, 2022 11:35 am

The physics of (misnamed) GHGs is well-established, Nick. Please set up your own blog and quit Theadbombing WUWT.

Nick Schroeder
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 10, 2022 2:19 pm

I might be a broken record but I’m hardly on here so frequently as to say I’m “bombing.” I actually have a life away from the keyboard unlike some.

leitmotif
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 10, 2022 3:13 pm

The physics of (misnamed) GHGs is well-established, Nick.

So why has no paper ever been produced that shows evidence that back radiation from CO2 causes surface warming?

If the physics of ghgs was well established wouldn’t there be a trail of research papers in its wake?

And stop trying to cancel posters, Dave Unfair.

John Entwistle
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
February 11, 2022 8:42 pm

Newtonian mechanics
sound barrier
heavier than air flight
travel faster than a running horse

Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 6:44 am

“Skeptical Science, a small group of climate change activists, who, despite their name, are precisely the opposite of climate change skeptics (their strapline is ‘Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism’).

I posted a comment there a few years ago asking if it was OK to be skeptical of people who are skeptical of climate change skeptics. That got me a warning that any more comments like that and I’d be canceled from their site.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 7:57 am

Yes, they are cowards who are afraid of the truth.

Dave Fair
Reply to  co2isnotevil
February 10, 2022 11:39 am

They are simply protecting their profitable gig.

Burl Henry
Reply to  co2isnotevil
February 11, 2022 6:57 pm

Yes, and so are you

Reply to  Burl Henry
February 13, 2022 7:38 am

I’m the furthest thing from being afraid of a scientific truth that undermines what the political left considered to be their most supportable cause.

Andy Wilkins
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 9:56 am

Go over to SkS now and there are hardly any comments. They are shouting into a void.

Graemethecat
Reply to  Andy Wilkins
February 11, 2022 3:03 am

More and more ordinary people in the UK at least are beginning to question the CAGW narrative, if comments on British media websites are any guide.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Graemethecat
February 11, 2022 4:50 am

True.
Power prices are hammering the UK population and people are waking up to the scam that is “net zero”

Dave Fair
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 11:37 am

Truth doesn’t require protection (censorship), Joseph.

bonbon
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 11, 2022 6:18 am

The pursuit of Truth can be savagely murdered, though.
And systematically hammered into pulp over millennia.
Kepler indicted Aristotle for 1000 years of darkness.
To keep the flickering flame alive is paramount.
So it is written in the US Constitution – Article 1 Section 8 :
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

No matter what libertarians and charlatans say, the US commitment is clear.

Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 6:49 am

“….99% of the papers reviewed in this study failed to explicitly quantify the extent…”

Sheesh- science is ALL about quantifying. If they don’t dare to quantify the extent- they’re really just philosophizing but showing they’re singing the party line and deserving of more grant money.

MarkW2
February 10, 2022 6:49 am

There is one argument that I can guarantee will scare the life out of any climate scientist and the reason is because nobody can argue against it. It’s remarkably simple and I’m very surprised more people don’t use it.

Just ask them to tell you the confidence intervals for predictions made by models looking 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 years into the future. I’ve never had a single climate scientist who can answer this fundamental question. In fact I’ve NEVER seen a confidence interval quoted for a climate model prediction.

The key point here is to emphasise the confidence intervals for the PREDICTED values, not the models themselves. Anyone who uses computer models will know there’s a big difference. In truth, of course, given the number of interacting variables for a non-deterministic system such as climate, the confidence interval for any prediction isn’t going to be worth the paper it’s written on.

This is the Achilles heel of climate science and more should be made of it. Without reliable predictions the argument for the trillions being spent on crazy green measures collapses and there’s nothing any climate scientist can do about it.

Reply to  MarkW2
February 10, 2022 7:33 am

It’s actually worse than you say, Mark. Climate modellers, and the IPCC, are clever at fooling people. Unlike proper scientists who seek to test a hypothesis against reality, their models don’t actually make predictions! They only make “projections.” That way, they are excused from providing confidence limits. They are also excused, when their model fails to predict reality (within the confidence limits they didn’t state), from having to accept that they were wrong, and from having to modify or even scrap the model.

Reply to  MarkW2
February 10, 2022 8:03 am

Conservation of Energy is their Achilles heel. Each w/m^2 of solar forcing results in 1.62 w/m^2 of surface emissions, yet to achieve their presumed sensitivity of 0.8C per w/m^2 of forcing, the next w/m^2 must increase the surface emissions by about 4.4 w/m^2. In other words, the climate must distinguish the next Joule from the average Joule so that it can do much more work than any other. It’s like they don’t understand that 1 watt is 1 joule/sec, that Joules are the units of work and that the 4.4 w/m^2 of incremental emissions takes work to sustain.

Bill Rocks
Reply to  co2isnotevil
February 10, 2022 12:35 pm

Is this a concise statement of the feedback error promoted by Christofer MOB and associates?

Reply to  Bill Rocks
February 10, 2022 5:08 pm

Feedback can’t tell one w/m^2 from any other either.

Burl Henry
Reply to  MarkW2
February 11, 2022 7:09 pm

MarkW2:

Our climate is completely driven by differing levels of SO2 aerosols in our atmosphere, primarily of volcanic origin.

Because of their random nature, it is impossible make any future predictions Recognition of this should kill the gravy train…

Reply to  Burl Henry
February 12, 2022 7:13 am

The only thing that drives the climate is the Sun. If the Sun was not shining, aerosols, GHG’s and the many other mis-idendified ‘forcings’ would have absolutely no effect.

Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2022 6:53 am

Mike Hulme has stated that, ‘Claims such as “2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate” are disingenuous.

Isn’t it the case that most of 2,500 are NOT climate scientists? I seem to recall seeing the list and it included all sorts of totally irrelevant sciences.

Phillip Bratby
February 10, 2022 7:13 am

There is no such thing as “scientific consensus”. Science is evidence-based, it is not based on opinion.

oeman 50
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
February 10, 2022 7:34 am

Right on. As I have told anyone who will listen, consensus is a political term, not a scientific one.

leitmotif
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
February 10, 2022 3:54 pm

Unless you are a lukewarmist.

George Daddis
February 10, 2022 7:15 am

I don’t get why no one challenges statements like Mann’s ‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity’ 

Per NASA’s Q&A Site: Q – What is gravity?

A- We don’t really know. We can define what it is as a field of influence, because we know how it operates in the universe. And some scientists think that it is made up of particles called gravitons which travel at the speed of light. However, if we are to be honest, we do not know what gravity “is” in any fundamental way – we only know how it behaves.”

(My emphasis.)

We of course know HOW climate behaves, we just don’t know with certainty WHY it behaves like that.

MarkW
Reply to  George Daddis
February 10, 2022 9:25 am

We don’t really know how climate behaves. We can document how it has behaved in the past, but can’t make any predictions of how it will behave in the future.

Gregory Woods
February 10, 2022 7:22 am

Please correct me if I am wrong: There is no correlation between levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and temperature. There has been no experimental data showing any such correlation. Ekspurts base their conclusions on computer simulations. There is no such animal as a ‘global temperature’.

February 10, 2022 7:24 am

Even if the “97%” claim weren’t a lie (which it is), it would still be a useless datum.

If a survey of specialists in reflexology reported that 97% of them said that it works, would you take that as evidence that it really does work?

If 97% of astrologers agreed that the alignment of the stars and planets are an effective source for dating advice, would you accept their authority as experts?

If 97% of practicing homeopaths agreed that repeated dilutions of a homeopathic medication make it more potent, rather than weaker, would you defer to their expert opinion?

Agreement among specialists in a field about that same field’s core assumptions is not strong evidence. In fact, specialists in a field are the worst people to judge the correctness of the field’s core assumptions. Instead, you should ask people in “neighboring disciplines.”

So don’t ask homeopaths about the efficacy of homeopathy, ask MDs and pharmacologists.

Don’t ask cold fusion researchers whether it works, ask the broader community of physicists & chemists.

You certainly shouldn’t ask climate modelers whether GCMs are fit for purpose! It is far better to ask other scientists, like meteorologists and atmospheric physicists, whose opinions are less likely to be biased.

In the words of Berényi Péter:

To test consensus position on a particular topic of science, correct methodology requires genuine experts of that very field to be excluded from the poll.

If you wanted to know for example, that homeopathy was science or pseudoscience, so it deserved financial support from government on taxpayer’s money, you’d never ask a group of homeopaths if they believed substances diluted until not a single molecule of the supposed agent remained in them had still beneficial effect, would you? Even if you would and found 98% consensus on this issue among them, it would be utterly meaningless.

On the other hand, asking experts of neighboring disciplines like doctors, pharmacologists, biologists, nurses and the like makes sense.

It is the same with climatology. As soon as the scientific value of the basic paradigm of a field, in this case fitting multiple computational models of high complexity to a single run of a unique physical instance is questioned, it is up to experts of neighboring fields to decide its validity. They may not be able to do their own research in that field, but they do have ample background to understand and evaluate the methods applied in the field in question.

John Power
Reply to  Dave Burton
February 13, 2022 3:12 pm

“Even if the “97%” claim weren’t a lie (which it is), it would still be a useless datum.”
 
I think that depends on the purpose for which you want to use it, Dave. If your purpose is to know the objective truth about man-made global warming, then I agree, it is a useless datum because it is completely irrelevant to the question.
 
But if your purpose is, say, the political one of implanting a false meme into the minds of the public which will cause them to believe that the alarmists’ apocalyptic rhetoric of an impending man-made climate catastrophe is backed by the incontestable authority of organised, institutional science, then I can see that it could be very useful indeed.
 
“If a survey of specialists in reflexology reported that 97% of them said that it works, would you take that as evidence that it really does work?”
 
No. I would try it out to see for myself whether or not it really does work for me. If it performed as claimed in my experience, I would accept that it does work regardless of what anybody else had to say about it.
 
“If 97% of astrologers agreed that the alignment of the stars and planets are an effective source for dating advice, would you accept their authority as experts?”
 
Again, No. I would try it out for myself by using astrological principles to select my date-partners. If I found that these partners were outstandingly attractive and appealing to me, I would accept that as evidence that the astrological advice is good, regardless of what the designated ‘experts’ had to say about it.
 
“If 97% of practicing homeopaths agreed that repeated dilutions of a homeopathic medication make it more potent, rather than weaker, would you defer to their expert opinion?”
 
Once again, No. I would have to try it out for myself in my own experience before I could form any real conviction about it either way. If, when I tested them, homeopathic remedies performed as it was claimed they would do, I would have to accept that homeopathy really works for me, regardless of what anyone else said about it or what results they might claim for the double-blind studies that they claim to have carried out on it. ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating,’ as it is said.
 
“Agreement among specialists in a field about that same field’s core assumptions is not strong evidence. In fact, specialists in a field are the worst people to judge the correctness of the field’s core assumptions. Instead, you should ask people in ‘neighboring disciplines.’ ”
 
I’m afraid that method is not going to lead anyone any closer to knowing the truth about the validity of any proposition, or set of assumptions about anything in the objective real world. The only information it can give is about the opinions of the specialists in the ‘neighbouring disciplines’, which may be just as faulty and flawed as those of the specialists in the field whose veracity you’re wanting to judge. So that method leads only to more uncertainty and therefore it constitutes an epistemological dead end as far as I can see.

leitmotif
February 10, 2022 7:27 am

There is almost total scientific consensus that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing, that that increase is predominantly due to human activity, that the climate system is warming, that climate change is happening and that human activity has contributed to some extent to the warming, changing climate.

And that’s where the trouble lies.

Compare this to

There is almost total scientific consensus that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing, that that increase is predominantly due to human activity, that the climate system is warming, that climate change is happening and that human activity has contributed catastrophically to the warming, changing climate.

and you have the difference between lukewarmists and alarmist warmists.

The difference is only a matter of degree. However, the similarity is that they both adhere to a belief in junk science in order to form their opinion.

Big-Endians and Little-Endians comes to mind.

MarkW
Reply to  leitmotif
February 10, 2022 9:29 am

Believing that CO2 has some affect on climate is following the science.
Believing that more CO2 will cause a catastrophic impact on climate is rejecting science.
Believing that there is no such thing as a greenhouse gas is rejecting science.

leitmotif
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 3:28 pm

Believing that CO2 has some affect on climate is following the science.
Believing that more CO2 will cause a catastrophic impact on climate is rejecting science.

You’ve just contradicted yourself, MarkW. CO2 either has an impact or it doesn’t.

What is your evidence that CO2 has any sort of impact on the climate?

Instead of stalking a genuine seeker of truth why do you not produce some evidence?

Believing that there is no such thing as a greenhouse gas is rejecting science.

Haven’t you said in he past that the GHE is true because CO2 is a ghg? Does that come with fries?

I hope I don’t see the time when generally good guy MarkW , lukewarmist, comes out of the closet as a full blown warmist.

But I fear it won’t be long.

MarkW
Reply to  leitmotif
February 10, 2022 4:02 pm

Unless you are actually going to argue that any impact is by definition catastrophic, that has got to be the dumbest thing you have ever written. And that’s against some pretty stiff competition.

So unless one agrees with you 100%, they are part of the enemy?
Just when I thought you couldn’t get any lower, you do.

Last edited 3 months ago by MarkW
leitmotif
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2022 12:25 pm

Unless you are actually going to argue that any impact is by definition catastrophic

Do you actually read anything before you rant, MarkW?

Whether your stance is that CO2 affects the climate or is catastrophic for the climate, you still have to provide evidence that CO2 does anything to the climate.

As far as I know you have failed to provide any evidence whatsoever for either of these assertions.

Repeatedly failing to understand a simple request is what I call dumb.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  leitmotif
February 10, 2022 3:50 pm

Analogy fail:

Big-endian and little-endian are nothing but arbitrary standards to store digital numbers larger than eight bits in computer memory.

MarkW
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
February 10, 2022 4:03 pm

He was probably referring to the book, Gulliver’s Travels, there was one episode where a war was almost started over whether a soft boiled egg should be opened from the big end or the little end.

Old Cocky
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 6:38 pm

and that was the source of the terms when used for CPU architectures.

bonbon
Reply to  Old Cocky
February 11, 2022 5:06 am

Exactly, and for hard engineering reasons.

leitmotif
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
February 11, 2022 12:28 pm

You’ve obviously not read Swift.

Graemethecat
February 10, 2022 7:32 am

Why are we even bothering with the so-called 97% Consensus? What is the evidence for CAGW?

leitmotif
Reply to  Graemethecat
February 10, 2022 7:59 am

Or even AGW?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Graemethecat
February 10, 2022 1:08 pm

There is no evidence for CAGW. It’s a figment of alarmist minds.

fretslider
February 10, 2022 7:34 am

“Misrepresentation”

Is all they really have – ask Joe Rogan.

Kalsel3294(@kalsel3294)
February 10, 2022 7:37 am

Skeptical Science and John Cook are hardly reliable sources. The website was distinctly biased and any contrary opinions were quickly censored or blocked.

The distinction between the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and greenhouse gases needs to be made given water vapour is the main greenhouse gas having the greatest effect being part of the whole hydrologic cycle and the fixed points at which the changes of state occurs controlling it all.

Walter Sobchak
February 10, 2022 7:43 am

“‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.’” saith Michael [Da] Mann.

Which would mean that the issue is deeply shrouded in mystery.

For almost a century, the physics community has been embroiled in controversy over the nature of gravity and the consistency of the leading, and deeply confirmed by experiment and observation, theory of gravity: Einstein’s General Relativity with the leading theory of the electromagnetic and nuclear forces: Quantum Mechanics and the “Standard Model”.

Beginning with Einstein himself and continuing for 5 generations into a sixth, physicists have theorized and argued about this issue without any effect other than the destruction of hundreds of acres of forests and the consumption of millions of liters of adult beverages at thousands of fruitless conferences.

Metaphors are dangerous, especially in the hands of shallow thinkers like Mann and the other sogenannten “climate scientists”.

bonbon
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 11, 2022 5:13 am

Despite the heroic efforts of Einstein, Planck, and decades of String Theory, we still do NOT have a Quantum Theory of Gravity – see Lee Smolin’s work, from an expert in all these fields.
So the Mann must be told, in the woodshed, he is barking up the wrong tree.
For those brave enough to look :

Lee Smolin: The quantum universe as a collection of partial views of itself. QISS Virtual Seminar
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrGFc1XtKj0&t=3485s

Even if 97% of string theorists say we have, not one quantifiable prediction resulted from their utopian maths in 30 years.

Duane
February 10, 2022 7:51 am

Until just very recently, the last few years, the “scientific consensus” was that dinosaurs were cold blooded reptiles. Everybody on the planet was well informed of that consensus conclusion.

But in the face of paleontological research conducted over the past two decades, that consensus has now evaporated. Indeed, extensive dinosaur fossils have been found in the extreme far north of Alaska, well above the Arctic Circle. During the Jurassic dinosaur age, ending approx. 66 MYA, the entire earth was substantially warmer than it is today (what? I thought global warming was “destroying Mother Earth”?!!!), but even still the arctic areas of Alaska were still cold with extensive periods of no sunlight at all during winter. Yet these large concentrations of dinosaurs lived there. The new consensus is that dinosaurs were actually warm blooded predecessors of today’s birds.

Duane
Reply to  Duane
February 10, 2022 8:05 am

The moral to this story being, “scientific consensus” is bullshit. Even the so-called “settled science” of 17th century Newtonian gravity – cited as the example of “scientific consensus” similar to global warming, by the warmunists above in the post – is coming under strong attacks as no longer valid … due not only to Einsteinian physics, but even due to much more recent data collected from space indicating that gravity really isn’t what scientists use to think it was, i.e. “gravity waves”.

The only thing that is ever “settled” is that scientific knowledge continually evolves and in some cases is refuted by better data and understanding.

bonbon
Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 5:17 am

Einstein predicted exactly these gravity waves 100 years ago.
The yawning abyss is the problem of Quantum Gravity – it does not yet exist. The extremely embarrassing failure of 30 years of String theory – do not go there…

MarkW
Reply to  Duane
February 10, 2022 9:30 am

The belief that dinosaurs were reptiles was discarded well over 100 years ago.
Neither have dinosaurs ever been considered the ancestors of modern birds. Rather they share a common ancestor.

Last edited 3 months ago by MarkW
Dean
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 3:11 pm

They have never been considered birds ancestors??

MarkW
Reply to  Dean
February 10, 2022 4:05 pm

Not by paleontologists.

Duane
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2022 5:07 pm

You’re full of shit. Dinosaurs as cold blooded reptiles was the scientific concensus as recently as a decade ago. Dinosaurs are directly related to and ancestors of todays birds.

bonbon
Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 5:21 am

https://www.britannica.com/animal/Archaeopteryx
Archaeopteryx, genus of feathered dinosaur that was once thought to be the oldest known fossilbird.

Look up this critter. It sure had paleo’s flapping!
A bird with toothed beak – yet a major tourist attraction…
Now we know Raptors were feathered, flightless…

Mike G
February 10, 2022 8:12 am

One question no one can answer is how much of global warming of perhaps 2F degrees is caused by humans.Is it…1%?…10%…50%…80%?Is it most of it?Much of it?Some of it?Or is it only a small and insignificant part of that 1C increase since the 19th century?

MarkW
Reply to  Mike G
February 10, 2022 9:34 am

Half of that 2F warming occurred prior to the increase in CO2 levels to be enough to make any difference. Therefore even if you assumed that all of the warming since that time was caused by CO2 you could not conclude that more than 50% of the 2F warming was caused by CO2.

Bruce Cobb
February 10, 2022 8:20 am

Of all the bogus claims of the Climate Caterwaulers, the one about the so-called 97% consensus” pegs the bogosometer the most. It is comprised of lies within lies within still other lies. But as Joseph Goebbels knew, the bigger the lie, the more easily believed it is.

Pat Smith
February 10, 2022 8:23 am

Shibboleth, I say, shibboleth. When scientists agree on something that is considered good, it is called ‘consensus’. When bad, it is ‘groupthink’. Perhaps we should start using that word.

UzUrBrain(@usurbrain)
February 10, 2022 8:23 am

Appears to me that the Government PsyOp staff has used the same techniques on the COVID Realignment Program as the Envirowhacos did to establish AGW, Global Warming, Climate Change, whatever firmly part of the political ideology and programs.

Rui Monteiro
February 10, 2022 8:31 am

Scientific consensus does not exist. Galileo and Einstein did not need that. It’s against scientific method.

Tom.1
February 10, 2022 8:37 am

I’m sorry, but the 97% thing has been debunked here more times than I care to count. I think another debunking is just redundant.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom.1
February 10, 2022 9:35 am

For something that has been debunked, there are still a lot of people who believe in it.
Until the number of people who believe in it approaches 0%, more debunkings are always useful.

bonbon
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2022 5:24 am

Appraching asymptotically might take Eternity. Boredom is sure to set in long before…

bonbon
Reply to  Tom.1
February 11, 2022 5:26 am

WUWT better make sure boredom does not set in, at least for those who’ve been there done that.

whatlanguageisthis
February 10, 2022 8:40 am

The consensus argument means absolutely nothing. It is the shutting down of debate and attempted silencing of alternative positions that is anti-science and criminal in how it is being achieved. There are multiple examples of counter viewpoints against ‘scientific consensus’ that are not treated like those in the climate change discussion. Want to argue that evolution is not how mankind came to be and put forth the evidence that ancient extraterrestrial intelligent beings made humans? – you get a show on the History channel. Want to claim Earth is flat? – your Facebook group is fine to continue. Say that global temperature rise is not catastrophic and you are labeled a science denier. Say that CO2 doesn’t have enough influence on the climate to drive the global temperature, you are labeled a terrorist by DHS. It is beyond criminal.

Hoyt Clagwell
February 10, 2022 9:05 am

And what would the consensus be on the existence of BigFoot if, like John Cook, I limited my study to self described “BigFoot researchers”, who are currently publishing about BigFoot, and claim to know the origins of BigFoot? It’s so easy to select the participants to get the result you are looking for.

DonM
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
February 10, 2022 5:34 pm

conduct the survey at an alien convention?

Are you an alien researcher?
Do you believe aliens visit, have visited, or are visiting earth?
Do you believe aliens will visit earth in the future and we will have issues with them?

RESULT WOULD BE: ‘99% of Alien researchers believe aliens are coming, and we will have to deal with them. Therefore we should allocate the needed resources right now.

C. R. Dickson
February 10, 2022 9:23 am

Some relevant viewpoints from a scientist who has helped bring many products to the marketplace while working at Polaroid (SX 70) and RCA (thin film solar cells) is in three articles here:
1) The Scientific Process, 2) Numbers in Science, 3) and Pathological Science.
Article 3 specifically addresses catastrophic global warming and many of the above topics, while articles 1 and 2 present and define most of the concepts in science that are needed for article 3.
The author has made (and reported on) atmospheric measurements (two of the many examples: ozone and particle size distributions of aerosols using light scattering) while developing a communications system based on UV (solar blind) light scattering. He has also conducted cooperative research projects with Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Penn State, and the University of Delaware.

meab
February 10, 2022 9:41 am

One of the earliest 97% consensus paper was entitled “Expert Credibility in Climate Change”. But was the paper itself credible? 

The authors did not survey a broad set of scientists and engineers well versed in climate issues; instead, they arrived at this conclusion by reviewing publications written by a group of 1,372 researchers who often published papers on the topic of climate change and global warming. The authors of the study did not interview or poll these researchers; they concluded for themselves what the selected researchers support and what they don’t by nothing more than reading their papers. So should you trust their conclusions? 

The study’s authors consisted of a climate campaigner for the Rainforest Action Network with a Master’s degree in BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION and a summer-school certificate in “Complex Systems” from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Harold), a computer programmer with a double-degree in POLITICAL SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY (Prall), a STUDENT of Ecology, Evolution, and Population Biology (Anderegg), and a (now deceased) MECHANICAL ENGINEER working in “Environmental Biology and Global Change” (Schneider). Not only did these authors not have any demonstrated experience in climate science, each author had a severe conflict of interest as the result of their study would influence how much funding they would receive to continue their “work”.

In addition, their approach was highly flawed as the papers they reviewed were handpicked from journals known to be hostile to papers that criticize the poor quality of work done in the “Global Warming” field. Finally, they did not ever claim that there is a consensus that global warming will be ‘dangerous’, ‘catastrophic’ or a ‘crisis’; that implication comes almost entirely from a vocal group of alarmist activists.

MarkW
Reply to  meab
February 10, 2022 10:13 am

If is this is the study I’m familiar with, they also only counted those papers that explicitly disagreed with the global warming narrative as being negative. All papers that didn’t mention global warming at all, were included in the “supporting” column.

Ted
Reply to  meab
February 10, 2022 11:27 am

meab,
One the one hand you have mis-stated the method of the Anderegg study, while also missing the the mistakes that made it far worse than you think.

To determine author’s views, they collected singed letters that explicity supported or opposed the IPCC. The paper would have been questionable but worthy of discussion had they stopped there. The first main problem was that in addition to counting scientists that overtly supported the IPCC as ‘convinced’, they added 619 scientists listed as a supporting authors by the IPCC – even though the standard to be in that group was to merely have the IPCC make any reference of your work. Some author have sued to be removed from the IPCC works and lost, because they are merely references. Anderegg acknowldged they were added by assumption; subtract those 619 and the result is 2 to 1 opposition to the IPCC.

To make matters worse, Anderegg decided to judge expertise based on the number of papers published in the field. A scientist that pubshiled ten individual papers that each took a week of research would be considered an expert, one that pubished five papers that took five years each was not. By his standard, Einstein’s opinions on physics could be disregarded when he first published on Special Relativity because most of his published work before that were revews of others work.

Meab
Reply to  Ted
February 10, 2022 12:40 pm

Different paper.

Ted
Reply to  Meab
February 11, 2022 3:13 pm

Different from this paper by Anderegg with 1,372 scientists?:

https://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107

Please post a link.

Brent Qually
February 10, 2022 9:43 am

The majority of AGW endorsements in the Cook et al, 2013 paper were implicit, and the report’s example of such support was: “carbon seqestration in soil is important for mitigating global climate change“. How does a statement like that imply that man is the cause of the carbon? This is their best example for the largest support for their consensus?

stinkerp
February 10, 2022 9:47 am

John Cook’s mangling of methods and data in his “climate consensus” paper is a poster child for the warmist movement: cherry-picking only the data that supports their claims while ignoring the wealth of data that contradicts them.

His team picked 11,944 papers that mentioned “global climate change” or “global warming” then sorted them into several categories.

-Explicitly endorses and quantifies AGW as 50+%: 64 papers (0.54%)
-Explicitly endorses but does not quantify or minimise: 922 papers (7.72%)
-Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it: 2910 (24.36%)
-No Position: 7970 papers (66.73%)
-Implicitly minimizes/rejects AGW: 54 papers (0.45%)
-Explicitly minimizes/rejects AGW but does not quantify: 15 papers (0.13%)
-Explicitly minimizes/rejects AGW as less than 50%: 9 papers (0.08%)

The vast majority took no position, 66.73%. Only 32.62% explicitly or implicitly endorse the theory of AGW and 67.38% explicitly or implictly rejected AGW or took no position.

So to get 97%, what Cook apparently did was discard 10,934 papers that didn’t support his position (91.5%) and only counted the 1,010 that either explicitly endorsed or rejected AGW. Of that small subset, 986 endorsed AGW (97.62%) and only 24 rejected AGW (2.38%).

In reality, you could say that 33 percent of climate studies appear to say that humans are either contributing to global warming (32.08%) or are the primary cause (0.54%). To claim that 97% say so is a big fat lie.

Just to be clear.

Last edited 3 months ago by stinkerp
Ed Zuiderwijk
February 10, 2022 10:15 am

When there’s consensus it’s not science, when it’s science there’s no consensus. Richard Feynman.

The title here implicitly assumes that science and consensus can go together in climatology. It is therefore wrong.

Patrick B
February 10, 2022 10:27 am

I would not be surprised if 97% of the people who have dedicated their entire working lives to climate change, and who would not only be out of a job but out of a career if climate change was not man made or not a world threatening fact, believe that climate change is man made and threatens the world.

February 10, 2022 10:53 am

Whenever I think of Michael Mann this is the image that comes into my head…

SkunkMann.png
Gordon A. Dressler
February 10, 2022 11:13 am

From the above article:

“So if we return to Dr Michael Mann’s statement that, ‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity’ this is very disingenuous.”

Well, in truth Mann’s statement turns out to be scientifically accurate, but for a reason exactly opposite that he asserted.

According to current scientific observations and scientific consensus, dark matter makes up about 27% of the universe and dark energy makes up an additional 68%.

Scientist today simply do not understand the basis/composition of either dark matter or dark energy.

Since energy, as photons, exhibits the same properties as matter in terms of reacting to/creating gravity (more properly, to following spacetime deformation geodesics created by massive objects)—as Einstein predicted and as famously confirmed in 1919 by Sir Arthur Eddington’s photography of starlight during a solar eclipse— the obvious conclusion is that science today cannot explain the source of 95% of gravity that exists in the universe. In other words, there is NO scientific consensus on the origin of gravity . . . exactly the same situation as exists with AGW/CAGW.

Jim
February 10, 2022 11:20 am

Just amazing 97% of those who agree agree. Who would ever imagined that would be possible?

BERNARD STEPHEN FITZGERALD
February 10, 2022 12:38 pm

People get too gentlemanly in their critique of the 97% fraud. The Cook version (most quoted) took a sample size of around 11.5k papers and found 0.3% marrying up with their desired result that’s all there is to it.

The study is utter bollocks.

Tom Abbott
February 10, 2022 12:53 pm

From the article: “Basically, the ‘consensus’ breaks down over the issue of whether or not human activity has been predominantly responsible for recent warming – and whether or not that warming is ‘dangerous’.”

Not to my mind. From my viewpoint, human CO2 warming does not appear to be present to any significant degree. The cyclical temperature patterns show it was just as warm in the past without the addition of CO2 and it’s no warmer today even with additional CO2, so where’s the warming from CO2? It can’t be separated out from natural variability.

Some people are just *assuming* CO2’s effects on the Earth’s atmosphere, without any evidence to back up any effects.

RickWill
February 10, 2022 1:24 pm

Is climate changing? – yes since Earth existed and always will while Earth exists.

Can open ocean surfaces get warmer than 30C? Briefly overshoot but not over annual average while the mass of the atmosphere is within a few percent of present mass.

Is there a “Greenhouse Effect”. This is a belief system that has no influence on Earth’s energy balance and no influence on climate.

Is there scientific consensus? The concept of consensus is not compatible with science.

leitmotif
Reply to  RickWill
February 10, 2022 3:36 pm

Is there a “Greenhouse Effect”. This is a belief system that has no influence on Earth’s energy balance and no influence on climate.

97% of WUWT posters believe in the Greenhouse Effect..

The other 3% like science.

Neville
February 10, 2022 1:31 pm

So why are Humans much healthier and wealthier than at any time in history?
Look up the UN data for yourselves since 1810 or 1900 or 1950 or 2000. A massive increase in population since 1900 ( 6 billion + ) and yet life expectancy today is 78 yrs and increasing every decade.
And our poorest continent Africa today has Human life exp of 64 yrs and yet the pop has increased by over 1 billion since 1970 ( then 46 yrs). Look up the data.
We’ve endured the greatest con trick and fra-d in our history and yet few understand how stupid their claims are and few seem to care?
Dr Rosling explained it all in just 5 minutes yet few understand or care about the data over the last 200 years. Why are we so stupid?

Robert B
February 10, 2022 2:04 pm

There is a consensus that a = 9.8 m/s2

Not surprising considering that I got the same result when I checked in high school.

Mann, and others, equate the consensus on climate change with this instead of apples will fall downwards from a tree.

Cook’s paper found (dubiously) that 3% of climate scientists wouldn’t get a tongue lashing from Greta

Chris Nisbet
February 10, 2022 4:42 pm

Oddly, MSM only seem to be able to find that small fraction of climate scientists who think we’re all doomed unless we start living like stone-age Africans.
Big ups to Sky Australia though, for putting Roy Spencer on to talk about what Google did to him.

Bob
February 10, 2022 8:46 pm

Skeptical Science summarized their findings with the statement, ‘97% of climate papers expressing a position on human-caused global warming agree: global warming is happening and we are the cause’ –

This is the take away message Skeptical Science wants us to believe. The important part is “expressing an opinion on human-caused global warming”.

So they looked at the abstracts of 11944 scientific papers. How many of those 11944 abstracts expressed an opinion on whether global warming is human caused? How many expressed that human activity is a danger? These issues need to be addressed.

Later we learn that 0.3% explicitly endorsed the IPCC opinion. 0.3% of who agrees with the IPCC opinion? Of the 11944 papers or only of those who expressed an opinion whether humans cause catastrophic global warming? Let us say it was 0.3% of the 11944 abstracts, wouldn’t that only be 36 (rounding up) papers in agreement with the IPCC opinion? Or am I missing something here?

bonbon
February 11, 2022 5:54 am

This consensus thing is not new :

Goya got it right , count the publications!

Goya3181a.jpg
Andy H
February 11, 2022 6:20 am

“And indeed that confession, that it is said we made, was no other than what was suggested to us by some gentlemen, they telling us that we were witches, and they knew it, and we knew it, which made us think that it was so; and our understandings, our reason, our faculties, almost gone, we were not capable of judging of our condition; as also the hard measures they used with us rendered us incapable of making our defence, but said any thing and every thing which they desired, and most of what we said, was but, in effect, a consenting to what they said.”

Letter from Mary Osgood, Mary Tiler, Deliverance Dane, Abigail Barker, Sarah Wilson and Hannah Tiler after Salem witch trials.

I’m guess that over 97% of the people in Salem said witchcraft was real.

alf
February 11, 2022 7:40 am

[Mann said, ‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity] We certainly have all experienced the affects of gravity but do we really know that well what it is? [I don’t observe myself being in a state of constant acceleration]

February 12, 2022 6:14 am

The original government “scientists” were the educated clergy of the monarchies who provided the science of the day of the king’s right to rule by divine providence. Todays government scientists are little different and only provide credence to the ruler’s mandates to be able to take away the peasants liberty and property by consent. As Eisenhower stated in his parting address, “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

February 12, 2022 9:08 am

I think it’s time to flip the script on this claim that citizens that disagree with CAGW are seditious. Realists should form a class action suit to sue the global warming/climate change supporters with sedition. Vet everything out in a court of law in front of a jury. I think it will be the trial of the century and the truth will prevail because the whole CAGW hypothesis is founded on junk science. CO2 is not an evil pollutant but rather a giver of life to our carbon based existence.

Barry Woods(@realclimategate)
February 14, 2022 4:53 am

John Cook thinks it is “sticky” no doubt like his Hiroshima bombs messaging..

Pure Soundbite propaganda – we will never quash it.
My attempts eons ago…
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/

(just tried to google – what else did 97% of scientists say Barry Woods – nada – used to be top… Bing gets it as a first result)

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