“97% Consensus” — What Consensus?

From the CO2 Coalition

By: Gregory Wrightstone – Executive Director CO2 Coalition

You have likely heard that 97% of scientists agree on human-driven climate change. You may also have heard that those who don’t buy into the climate-apocalypse mantra are science-deniers. The truth is that a whole lot more than 3% of scientists are skeptical of the party line on climate. A whole lot more.

The many scientists, engineers and energy experts that comprise the CO2 Coalition are often asked something along the lines of: “So you believe in climate change, then?” Our answer? “Yes, of course we do: it has been happening for hundreds of millions of years.” It is important to ask the right questions. The question is not, “Is climate change happening?” The real question of serious importance is, “Is climate change now driven primarily by human actions? That question should be followed up by “is our changing climate beneficial or harmful to ecosystems and humanity?”

There are some scientific truths that are quantifiable and easily proven, and with which, I am confident, at least 97% of scientists agree. Here are two:

  1. Carbon dioxide concentration has been increasing in recent years.
  2. Temperatures, as measured by thermometers and satellites, have been generally increasing in fits and starts for more than 150 years.

What is impossible to quantify is the actual percentage of warming that is attributable to increased anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2. There is no scientific evidence or method that can determine how much of the warming we’ve had since 1900 that was directly caused by us.

We know that temperature has varied greatly over the millennia. We also know that for virtually all of that time, global warming and cooling were driven entirely by natural forces, which did not cease to operate at the beginning of the 20th century.

The claim that most modern warming is attributable to human activities is scientifically insupportable. The truth is that we do not know. We need to be able to separate what we do know from that which is only conjecture.

What is the basis for the “97% consensus” notion? Is it true? 

Hint: You can’t spell consensus without “con.”

If, indeed, 97% of all scientists truly believed that human activities were causing the moderate warming that we have seen in the last 150 years, it would be reasonable for one to consider this when determining what to believe. One would be wrong, however.

Science, unlike religion, is not a belief system. Scientists, just like anyone else, will say that they believe things (whether they believe them or not) for social convenience, political expediency or financial profit. For this and other good reasons, science is not founded upon the beliefs of scientists. It is a disciplined method of inquiry, by which scientists apply pre-existing theory to observation and measurement, so as to develop or to reject a theory, so that they can unravel as clearly and as certainly as possible the distinction between what the Greek philosopher Anaximander called “that which is and that which is not.”

Portrait of Ibn Al Haytham. Credit: Prof. Zargar Zahoor
Portrait of Ibn Al Haytham. Credit: Prof. Zargar Zahoor

Abu Ali ibn al-Haytham, the natural philosopher of 11th-century Iraq who founded the scientific method in the East, once wrote:

“The seeker after truth [his beautiful description of the scientist] does not place his faith in any mere consensus, however venerable or widespread. Instead, he subjects what he has learned of it to inquiry, inspection and investigation. The road to the truth is long and hard, but that is the road we must follow.”

The long and hard road to scientific truth cannot be followed by the trivial expedient of a mere head-count among those who make their livings from government funding. Therefore, the mere fact that climate activists find themselves so often appealing to an imagined and (as we shall see) imaginary “consensus” is a red flag. They are far less sure of the supposed scientific truths to which they cling than they would like us to believe. “Consensus,” here, is a crutch for lame science.

What, then, is the origin of the “97% consensus” notion? Is it backed up with research and data?

The earliest attempt to document a “consensus” on climate change was a 2004 paper cited by Al Gore in his allegedly non-fiction book, An Inconvenient Truth. (Gore attended natural science class at Harvard, but got a D grade for it.) The author of the cited paper, Naomi Oreskes, asserted that 75% of nearly 1,000 papers she had reviewed on the question of climate change agreed with the “consensus” proposition favored by the IPCC: “Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.” None, she maintained, dissented from this line of reasoning.

The Oreskes paper came to the attention of Klaus-Martin Schulte, an eminent London surgeon, who had become concerned with the adverse health effects of his patients from their belief in apocalyptic global warming.

Professor Schulte decided to update Oreskes’ work. However, he found that only 45% of several hundred papers endorsed the “consensus” position. He concluded: “There appears to be little basis in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for the degree of alarm on the issue of climate change which is being expressed in the media and by politicians, now carried over into the medical world and experienced by patients.”

The primary paper that is often trotted out in support of the notion of “97% consensus” was written by John Cook and his merry band of climate extremists. Published in 2013, it is the most widely referenced work on the subject of climate consensus and has been downloaded more than 1.3 million times.

Cook runs a climate website that is a smorgasbord of climate fear rhetoric, specializing in attacks—often personal and spiteful in tone—on all who have proven effective in leading others to stray from the dogma of impending climate doom.

The project was self-described as “a ‘citizen science’ project by volunteers contributing to the website.” The team consisted of 12 climate activists who did not leave their climate prejudices at home. These volunteers, many of whom had no training in the sciences, said they had “reviewed” abstracts from 11,944 peer-reviewed papers related to climate change or global warming, published over the 21 years 1991 – 2011, to assess the extent to which they supported the “consensus view” on climate change. As Cook’s paper said,

“We analysed a large sample of the scientific literature on global CC [climate change], published over a 21-year period, in order to determine the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).”

The paper concluded,

“Among abstracts that expressed a position on AGW [anthropogenic global warming], 97.1% endorsed the scientific consensus. … Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.”

The paper asserted—falsely, as it turned out—that 97% of the papers the reviewers examined had explicitly endorsed the opinion that humans are causing the majority of the warming of the last 150 years.

When one looks at the data, one finds that 7,930 of the papers took no position at all on the subject and were arbitrarily excluded from the count on this ground. If we simply add back all of the papers reviewed, the 97% claimed by Cook and his co-authors falls to 32.6%.

A closer look at the paper reveals that the so-called “97%” included three categories of endorsement of human-caused climate change (Figure 1). Only the first category amounted to an explicit statement that humans are the primary cause of recent warming. The second and third categories would include most skeptics of catastrophic anthropogenic warming, including the scientists of the CO2 Coalition, who accept that increasing CO2 is probably causing some, probably modest, amount of warming; an amount that is likely rendered insignificant by natural causes of warmer weather. Only by casting a wide net could Cook conclude that there is any type of “consensus.”

Figure 1 – Categories of endorsement – Cook 2013

Agnotology is defined as “the study of how ignorance arises via circulation of misinformation calculated to mislead.” This is how David Legates and his co-authors (2015) describe the Cook paper and similar attempts falsely to promote the notion of broad scientific consensus surrounding the subject of a looming, man-made, climate apocalypse.

They reviewed the actual papers used by Cook and found that only 0.3% of the 11,944 abstracts and 1.6% of the smaller sample that excluded those papers expressing no opinion endorsed man-made global warming as they defined it. Remarkably, they found that Cook and his assistants had themselves marked only 64 papers—or 0.5% of the 11,944 they said they had reviewed—as explicitly stating that recent warming was mostly man-made (Figure 2). Yet they stated, both in the paper itself and subsequently, that they had found a “97% consensus” explicitly stating that recent warming was mostly man-made.

“Agnotology has the strong potential for misuse whereby a ‘manufactured’ consensus view can be used to stifle discussion, debate, and critical thinking.”

—  Legates 2013

It appears that Cook and his co-authors manipulated the data to present an altogether untrue narrative of overwhelming support for catastrophic human-caused warming.

Note that the official “consensus” position—supported though it was by just 0.3% of the 11,944 papers reviewed—says nothing more than recent warming was mostly man-made. Even if that were the case—and the overwhelming majority of scientists take no view on that question, for it is beyond our present knowledge to answer—it would not indicate that global warming is dangerous.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

— Joseph Goebbels

From the information we have just reviewed, the percentage of scientists who agree with the notion of man-made catastrophic global warming is significantly less than advertised. Several unbiased attempts have been made to assess what the actual number might be. One of the largest petitions concerning climate change was the Oregon Petition signed by more than 31,000 American scientists, including 9,029 holding PhDs, disputing the notion of anthropogenic climate alarmism (Figure 3).

(Edward Teller’s signature at http://petitionproject.com)

More recently, in 2016, George Mason University (Maibach 2016) surveyed more than 4,000 members of the American Meteorological Society and found that 33% believed that climate change was not occurring, was at most half man-made, was mostly natural, or they did not know. Significantly, only 18% believed that a large amount—or all—of additional climate change could be averted.

Science does not advance through consensus, and the claim of consensus has no place in any rational scientific debate. We ask: What do the data tell us? What does it mean? Can we reproduce the results? If those promoting man-made climate fear need to resort to an obviously flawed consensus opinion, rather than argue the merits of the science, haven’t they already conceded that their argument cannot be won through open debate?

“Cook’s 97% nonsensus [sic] paper shows that the climate community still has a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behavior. If you want to believe that climate researchers are incompetent, biased and secretive, Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.”

—  Professor Richard Tol

“Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

—  Michael Crichton


Cook J, Nuccitelli D, Green SA et al (2013) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environ Res Lett 8(2):024024

Legates DR, Soon W, Briggs WM (2013) Learning and Teaching Climate Science: The perils of consensus knowledge using agnotology. Sci Edu 22:2007–2017, doi:10.1007/s11191-013-9588-3

Legates DR, Soon W, Briggs WM et al (2015) Climate consensus and ‘misinformation’: a rejoinder to ‘Agnotology, scientific consensus, and the teaching and learning of climate change. Sci Edu 24:299–318, doi: 10.1007/s11191-013-9647-9

Oregon Petition (2008) http://petitionproject.com 

Oreskes, N (2004) The scientific consensus on climate change. Science 306, 1686

Schulte K-M (2008) Scientific consensus on climate change? Energy Environ 19(2)

Many thanks to Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley for his valuable additions to this commentary/analysis.
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August 30, 2023 6:08 pm

Wait for the mail-in results.

Reply to  Scissor
August 31, 2023 1:44 am

The Answer is:…..97.

Jim Masterson
Reply to  cilo
August 31, 2023 1:09 pm

I thought it was 42.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Jim Masterson
August 31, 2023 1:39 pm

I am out of here ahead of the demolition. So long and thanks for all the fish.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Scissor
August 31, 2023 1:53 pm

Funny Scissor and it does point to a series of questions that any thinking laymen should be asking themselves and the so called defenders of this 97% consensus:
1. When did this survey take place? 2. Who conducted the survey? 3. Who was included in the survey? and 3.a what were the necessary credentials to be considered an authorized respondent? 3.b why only those credentials? 4. Big can of worms here, who is the keeper of the list of all those qualified and exact numbers of respondents to validate a 97% response rate? 4.a where are the actual returned survey results so that skeptics (not deniers) can validate the validity of the claim by the non-scientific bureaucrats?

The questions of course have no answer because no such required due diligence was ever performed to validate the claim. My guess is that ALGORE pulled it out his arse while being interviewed on a network morning show along with the ridiculously unscientific claim that “The Science is Settle” and the “Debate is over” peeing all over the scientific method.

Edward Katz
August 30, 2023 6:13 pm

The key line from above says that there is no way to determine how much of the warming that has been occurring for the last 150 years has been a result of human activity. Notice how the experts can’t put a number on it, so too many of them claim it’s almost entirely due to that activity. Then they wonder why their credibility has been undermined, particularly when science itself can provide all sorts proof of ice ages and warming periods long before humans could have affected the environment.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Edward Katz
August 30, 2023 7:27 pm

“Notice how the experts can’t put a number on it”

That’s correct. All they have are guesses.

On top of that, they don’t know what feedbacks are involved.

Alarmist/CO2 climate science is made up of speculation, assumptions and unsubstantiated assertions. Nothing more. And it’s been that way for decades.

The Alarmists are reduced to pretending that the weather is worse now, than in the past, and it is worse because of CO2. But the truth is the weather is not worse now than in the past. and the statistics, the actual hard data, back that up.

So just one more lie for the Climate Alarmists to promote.

Without Lies, they wouldn’t have anything.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 31, 2023 9:58 am

Without Lies, they wouldn’t have anything.” Your right they are only concerned with lining their pockets. Without lies they would be out a job since most cannot do hard science.

Reply to  Edward Katz
August 31, 2023 9:11 am

The IPCC says that they know most of the warming is human caused because if they remove CO2 from their climate models, the models don’t produce warming. This is probably one of the most unscientific claims ever made. If you remove CO2 from a model that shows warming when you add CO2, all you have shown is that your model is programmed to warm when CO2 is added. It tells you nothing about the real world.

Tom Halla
August 30, 2023 6:21 pm

0.3 % is definitely not 97%, despite Obama endorsing it.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 30, 2023 7:42 pm

This Cook Lie was debunked years ago, but that didn’t stop this lie from being perpetrated, as it was used over and over and over again by Alarmists. They use it today, to try to shut down any argument against the human-caused climate change narrative.

It’s a propaganda device.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 31, 2023 7:52 am

Just quote the 0.3% opinion back

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Energywise
September 1, 2023 4:32 am

That’s what I do. 🙂

Reply to  Tom Halla
August 31, 2023 7:46 am

He’s 97% sure his multi million dollar water front home in MV won’t sink – Kerry is 197% sure he’s more important than the proles, so private jetting around is totally within his remit

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 31, 2023 9:16 am

Obama was the one who added the word “dangerous” to the study conclusions with no support for this assertion whatsoever.

Screen Shot 2023-08-31 at 9.15.23 AM.png
August 30, 2023 6:32 pm

the extent to which they supported the “consensus view” on climate change.”

I do not know what the “consensus view” is. I’ve seen meetings fail to reach a consensus view on what to order for lunch. Any attempt I make to define a consensus for people I would then argue against would seem to put my words where they never came from.

August 30, 2023 6:38 pm

This is really important and needs wide distribution. It is not too long and is in easy to understand language, just what we need.

Bill Pekny
Reply to  Bob
August 30, 2023 6:55 pm

I agree!!!

August 30, 2023 6:48 pm

There is a word for these people I’ll call Cook activists- corrupt. The corruption is endemic throughout our entire political, legal judiciary , media, corporate world, legislative process.

I knew this was true to some degree years ago but it has turned out to be so much worse- I do not think the situation is recoverable anymore. Only some degree of societal and economic collapse or upheaval fixes this now.

Rick C
Reply to  John Oliver
August 30, 2023 8:13 pm

I’m afraid you’re right. The climate catastrophe alarmist cult has so many adherents at all levels and has spent so many billions (trillions even) on useless wind and solar and destroyed so much serviceable fossil fueled equipment they can’t possibly change course no matter what actually happens. They have dug much too deep a hole to ever be able to climb out. Admitting any doubt now, no matter how conclusive the evidence might be, would simply be too humiliating to consider. They will hang on to their belief even after they bring about massive economic collapse and the deaths of possibly millions. Frankly, I’m glad that I will most likely be long gone before this comes about but I fear for the future of my kids and grand kids. Maybe there will be a relatively peaceful revolution once the power grids start collapsing or food shortages become common.

Reply to  John Oliver
August 31, 2023 7:53 am

You are correct – science is often corrupted by politics when money is to be made – those that succumb to the fraud for cash are first and foremost, not scientists

J Boles
August 30, 2023 6:49 pm
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  J Boles
August 31, 2023 4:10 am

but..but… green energy is cheaper— 97% of scientists agree! /sarc

August 30, 2023 8:01 pm

The operative word here is “global”

There is no doubt at all that humans have caused a lot of localised warming in urban areas
(a small fraction of the planet, but representing a large percentage of surface temperature sites)
and some +/- temperature in local land use microclimates.

But this is not “whole of globe”.

There also the spurious warming of surface data by the methodologies used in fabricating the surface temperature series. Not real, not global.

Fact is, that we really just don’t know how much actual global-scale warming there has been since the LIA…

… thankfully… some. !

Could be somewhere between 1 and 2 degrees.. perhaps, maybe… but that is a good thing !

Could be less, I doubt it is more.

Certainly, the surface sites are too influenced/tainted by many other factors to give a realistic number.

Certainly nothing to panic about and waste huge amounts of money doing nothing that will change that warming or affect future warming… or cooling.

Reply to  bnice2000
August 30, 2023 8:20 pm

But this is not “whole of globe”.

S. Mosher : ”global warming does not mean global”.

Reply to  Mike
August 30, 2023 9:30 pm

Yes, moosh has a lot of problems understanding basic English. (and writing it)

Almost certainly something to do with his Eng-Lit degree.

Richard Page
Reply to  bnice2000
August 31, 2023 4:06 am

I believe the exact degree title may have been: “Eengleesh, how she is wrote.”

Reply to  Richard Page
August 31, 2023 2:25 pm

Moosher, “I speek deeleeshus Engleesh, I read her in a boooek!”

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  bnice2000
August 31, 2023 4:12 am

“Eng-Lit degree”
Same as Al Gore and Bill McKibben- from Hah-vid no less!

August 30, 2023 8:07 pm

97% of taxeaters surveyed agree the globe is boiling and something must be done to increase their departments. The other 3% uncontactables had jetted off holidaying in the sun.

August 30, 2023 8:13 pm

What is impossible to quantify is the actual percentage of warming that is attributable to increased anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2. There is no scientific evidence or method that can determine how much of the warming we’ve had since 1900 that was directly caused by us.

Not according to our friend Gavin Schmidt.
According to him, We know that all the temperature modern temperature rise is anthropogenic. No ifs, no buts, we just KNOW. We looked at everything, it’s all anthropogenic. End of story!

If you can bare the arrogance, from 29:40 here….

Reply to  Mike
August 30, 2023 9:33 pm

Other than the urban warming, a large proportion of the warming in the surface data fabrications is almost certainly “anthropogenic”…

… courtesy of Gavin Schmidt et al.!

John the Econ
August 30, 2023 8:14 pm

Considering that any scientist that challenges the consensus narrative is summarily defrocked by establishment academia, I have to wonder why the consensus figure is not 100%. Who are these dissenting 3%, and why do they get to retain their credibility and professional standing within the academic community?

Or is it that they simply invented the 97% figure because claiming 100% would sound a bit too much like an election return in North Korea?

Reply to  John the Econ
August 31, 2023 7:56 am

Those 3% were sent to room 101 for reorientation

The good news is that almost 40,000 signatories of the Clintel WCD & Oregon Petition are an healthy realist percentage

Bill Johnston
August 30, 2023 10:11 pm

Dear Gregory Wrightstone,
I believe your messaging is contradictory.
You say without any evidence that:
“Temperatures, as measured by thermometers and satellites, have been generally increasing in fits and starts for more than 150 years”.
Surely that is a consensus statement. Like saying, the world is warming but … as though one must have a bet each-way.

How many people, including regular contributors to WUWT have shown from first principles that to use your words, temperatures have been generally increasing in fits and starts for more than 150 years? Aside from crudely applying Excel regression magic, hardly any at all.
The second problem with the post is to treat published papers and viewpoints as “data”, when in fact they are not data at all. Many are just compilations, most are compromised by funding arrangements, and many would not be published in the first place if they did not pay homage to the AGW scare.  
The other day I was looking at: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/08/27/claim-record-coral-reef-cover-hides-cryptic-diversity-loss/ and because I thought the paper being critiqued by Eric Worrell (https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adf0954) may have contained some up-to-date SST data, I decided to check through the various lines of evidence it presented.
Tracking some of the supporting citations I found the warming proposition is based on NOAA satellite data and further back I came across a study by one of the Authors (Danielle C. Claar) who undertook a very crude correlation study in which she claimed high-level (1:1) linear correlation between 5-years of observed data vs the same 5-years of NOAA nighttime SST data for grid-cells covering Kiritimati. Then, hindcasting to 1985, the collection of papers enthusiastically declared that “Transformation of coral communities subjected to an unprecedented heatwave is modulated by local disturbance” (Baum et al., Sci. Adv. 9, eabq5615 (2023) 5 April 2023).
The point I’m making is that 100% of four papers referenced AGW, but only one contained any data. That data has been incorrectly analysed to imply that because SST observed using loggers over 5-years is highly correlated with satellite SST data ..… it follows that recent heat stress is unprecedented over the satellite era.  
Unfortunately, as the post had descended the list, by the time I was ready to comment, the comment would have been redundant.
Analysis of many of Australia’s long and medium-term temperature datasets using physically-based rigorous protocols does not support the generalisation that “temperatures have been generally increasing in fits and starts for more than 150 years”.

While sites and instruments have changed, including that over the last 20-years automatic weather statiuons have been deployed and the size of Stevenson screens have reduced from 230 to 60 litres, the climate has not, at least to the extent that change or trend could be detected in data.   
All the best,
Dr Bill Johnston

Reply to  Bill Johnston
August 30, 2023 11:47 pm

Hi Bill
Have you looked into the claim that the fire ”season” in Australia is/has become longer?

Bill Johnston
Reply to  Mike
August 31, 2023 12:51 am

Thanks Mike,

I contributed a detailed submission to the Bushfires Royal Commission here: https://www.bomwatch.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/NSW-Bushfire-Inquiry_FinalRedact.pdf, but it was ignored.

As part of that I used a monthly water balance to assess bushfire risk. I also watched the Royal Commission unfold in real-time and paid particular attention to ‘expert’ testimony by Dr Karl Braganza from the Bureau of Meteorology.

I later wrote to the Commission on 16 September regarding their ‘interim findings’ and here is part of what I said (not available at http://www.bomwatch.com.au):

Re. Paragraph 7: There has been no change in the propensity of the climate to oscillate between runs of generally dry years and runs of years that are relatively moist. Conflating natural fluctuations with “climate change”, with its connotations of global warming, detracts from the seriousness of the Commission’s work.
Furthermore, the Commission did not investigate if the climate changed or not. 

In his presentation on the first day of the Commission’s inquiry Dr Karl Braganza’s rainfall anomaly graph (Slide 4 of 77) was calculated in such a way as to diminish the significance of the 1947 climate-shift and the subsequent relatively moist period that persisted in some places to 1965. Further, rainfall anomalies calculated for all of Australia are hardly relevant to the focus of the Commission’s work, which were the eastern margins of the continent. For eastern Australia the driest years ended in 1947 not 2019 and for most locations along the eastern seaboard, the most recent drought started in 2016 not January 2018.

It is also not true that “the 2019-2020 season set a new benchmark for an extreme fire season in Australia’s temperate forests”. Dr Braganza said “the drought factor is partly based on the soil water deficit (compared to fully saturated soil) which can be calculated using an index such as the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)”.

The KBDI index assumes that field capacity of soil is 200 mm rainfall equivalent, which is 100% more than most Australian soils can effectively hold as plant available. Increasing the deficit as calculated by the KBDI index to an unrealistically high value biases calculation of the index…. (Figure omitted).

Throughout eastern Australia where potential evaporation is factors higher than rainfall from October to March, doubling the assumed soil water holding capacity deepens the apparent deficit and spuriously increases rainfall-related risk; which is the basis of Braganza’s Slide-54 graph. Also, trend graphs from Slide 58, were ‘Trends from 1950’. Braganza ignored that conditions before 1947 were unparalleled in Australia’s climate history.

I recommended:

1.     As there is no evidence that the climate has changed; that droughts are becoming more frequent; that fires are less predictable in 2019/20 than they were prior to 1947 (say in 1939), or that anything else has happened that has not happened before; it is recommended that the Commission delete all references to climate change as being an influential factor.

2.     Recent fires were the direct result of systematic failure within organisations that the community should have been able to trust. Adding more layers to an already unresponsive over-coordinated and in some ways self-serving bureaucracy is not in the public interest. Had hazard reduction and mitigation been taken seriously and acted upon in 2015 when conditions along the eastern seaboard entered a drying cycle, the magnitude and unmanageability of recent fires would have been considerably diminished.

3.     All the natural disaster scenarios that could be stress-tested by the multitude of agencies, planners and coordinators have happened before. There have been longer, warmer droughts, more severe fires, high king-tides, east-coast cyclones, windstorms and widespread floods resulting from cyclonic depressions. Cities like Cairns, Townsville, Port Hedland and Darwin have been hit before by intense tropical cyclones; capital cities by hail storms and floods; Newcastle has suffered earthquake damage; Sydney almost ran out of water in 1945. Nothing has occurred in recent time that is unprecedented. I recommend that the Commission turns-down the alarmism and rhetoric and deals more fully with on-ground issues such as hazard reduction and mitigation.  
Yours faithfully,
Dr. Bill Johnston


old cocky
Reply to  Bill Johnston
August 31, 2023 2:57 am

trend graphs from Slide 58, were ‘Trends from 1950’

Could they have picked a wetter start?

Well, perhaps 1955, but it would be a close-run thing.

Reply to  Bill Johnston
August 31, 2023 2:59 am

Funny, no alarmist yelping about bushfires since 2019.. 😉

One bushfire year (2019) does NOT make it “climate change”.

It is actually CLIMATE NORMAL for Australia.

old cocky
Reply to  bnice2000
August 31, 2023 2:30 pm

We’ll probably have fires again this summer, since it’s likely to be drier than the last couple.

Reply to  Bill Johnston
August 31, 2023 4:05 pm

Very interesting. Many thanks Bill.

Coeur de Lion
Reply to  Bill Johnston
August 31, 2023 1:36 pm

Didn’t I see a website in which met stations 1000km around Alice showed no warming for a hundred years?

Bill Johnston
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
August 31, 2023 2:58 pm

Dear Coeur de Lion,

Most recently been working on a series about homogenisation, with the initial focus around the Pilbara region of NW Western Australia. Several records commence in the late 1800s. While all sites have moved and changed no trend is evident that could be attributed to the climate. Halls Creek (1898 to 2022), which was also a telegraph repeating station for the west coast link to Timor was particularly isolated. From the summary of the study:

Multiple attributes of maximum temperature data (Tmax) for Halls Creek, and 23 sites used to homogenise Halls Creek Tmax were analysed using BomWatch protocols.

Relationships between Tmax and rainfall, inhomogeneities in Tmax ~ rainfall residuals, frequency histograms and probability density functions, differences in cumulative distributions (percentiles), frequencies of daily temperatures <5th and >95th day-of-year dataset percentiles and their log10-transformed HiN/LoN ratio were evaluated using objective statistical methods.

Evidence is lacking that the climate at Halls Creek and that of the comparator sites used to homogenise Halls Creek has changed or warmed due to CO2 or anything else. 


A datapack is availabel too:

Carnarvon, Meekatharra and Marble Bar are century-long datasets that also show no trend. Although not published yet, Alice Springs shows no trend either.

All the best,

Dr Bill Johnston

Gregg Eshelman
August 31, 2023 1:26 am

This is what John Cook did prior to getting on the AGW bandwagon with his skeptical science site. https://sevspace.com/stupidarchive/index-1.htm

Back when he first hooked up with AGW the sevspace site had a page with a notice about his new skeptical science site. That might be in the web archive.

Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
August 31, 2023 3:00 am

That doesn’t seem much different from SkS ! 😉

August 31, 2023 1:43 am

So, let me get this straight: Of all the people who blamed humans for climate change, only 97% agreed it was humans who caused climate change? Okay…
Also, methinks the western mind would be so much less susceptible to propaganda if they understood that most every single quote of Goebbels, was actually commentary on the work of Edward Bernays, the American “father of propaganda/ advertising/ PR”.
Your Goebbels quote above fits squarely into that category, it was part of a longer discourse on the state of American/ British population’s ignorance of where they are being led by Bernays, Wilson et cie.

Bill Johnston
Reply to  cilo
August 31, 2023 1:59 am

Some like Cook may think Joseph Goebbels was a world-leading climate modeller/philosopher, well ahead of his (Cook’s) time.

His most famous quotes are here: https://www.azquotes.com/author/5626-Joseph_Goebbels.



Coeur de Lion
August 31, 2023 1:51 am

The go- to summary is Andrew Montford’s Global Warming Policy Forum Paper 11 and sadly deceased José Duarte’s excoriation. ‘Multiply fraudulent’ ‘Unpublishable’. ‘Unbelievable bias and hostility towards sceptics’ etc etc. But 97% remains a smear on the climate landscape and refuses to die

UK-Weather Lass
August 31, 2023 2:23 am

During the COVID-19 saga there were whole ships full of experts who we now know (if we didn’t know it then) lied to us about everything relentlessly. The consensus at the time landed most all of us in deep excrement which persists even now. And now this same bunch of villains is kidding us they can do better with predicting the weather when they cannot even be trusted to record and maintain simple temperature readings properly!   

Rather than letting these villains purge us of our freedoms all over again we should be ensuring they are no longer free to do anything dangerous to others ever again. What we seem to lack at the moment are leaders who know how to lead other than rewarding their followers with other people’s money. Isn’t there a law against that? 

Rod Evans
August 31, 2023 2:53 am

If only we had a would be President able to deliver a speech that inspires the public into positive actions.
” Fellow citizens, we are gathered here today to advance the future of our people. All people in these vast lands of the USA and all people across the world.
We come together on a mission that will challenge the whole of humanity.
We come together, to do the right thing. We choose, to do the right thing, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. It will be hard. (ht JFK)
We choose to do this, because it is right.
Humanity needs real scientists to again reach for the stars. We must challenge the established dogma in so called climate science that is destroying our civilisation. We must and will bring back honest research activities to our universities. We will bring back fact based research into our mainstream scientific institutions. Those institutions once so treasured by civilised society and rightly so.
We will restore scientific respect. Respect for science, again based on factual honest truth seeking research.
No more doom laden scare stories, too often based on assumptions and consensus driven media story telling.
No more pointless spending on virtue signalling grant chasers.
No more, borrowing fortunes from our children not yet born and wealth yet to be earned.
No more lining the pockets of state funded Savile Row suited grifters and freeloaders.
No more hard earned tax payer’s money, squandered on flawed and failed ‘Green’ technologies.
No more nonsense, let us return to reality’

Vote, while you can. It is the only freedom we still possess….for now.

Reply to  Rod Evans
August 31, 2023 5:37 am

This made me think about how the alarmists are making a self-fulfilling prophecy. Children today could very well end up in a worse world, but not because of climate change but the willful destruction of the modern world we live in.

Reply to  Rod Evans
August 31, 2023 10:31 am

My favorite part of that speech is when JFK says “Why does Rice play Texas?” and you see some people in the background look up like “Wait, what?”

August 31, 2023 3:42 am
Steve Case
August 31, 2023 3:59 am

No mention of Doran & Zimmerman and their survey questions:

     (1) Have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels? 
     (2) Has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures?

and their failure to ask

     (3) If global temperature rises, will that present a significant problem for humanity?

Reply to  Steve Case
August 31, 2023 2:04 pm

1… Yes.. Thank goodness !

2… Urban warming and adjustment on top of a slight but highly beneficial warming.

The warming is not anywhere near as much as the surface fabrications show.

Joseph Zorzin
August 31, 2023 4:06 am

A PhD in sociology is a scientist. If they believe in the climate emergency, is that relevant? I think not. Same for all social scientists.

Joseph Zorzin
August 31, 2023 4:21 am

Regarding the Skeptical Science web site- it’s motto at the top is “Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism”.

3-4 years ago I started reading the site- I then posted a comment asking if it’s OK to be skeptical about skepticism about global warming skepticism. I was then warned that another comment like that and I’d be locked out.

Dave Burton
August 31, 2023 4:38 am

I’m reminded of this news item:
comment image

When climate activists survey scientists about their opinions on climate change, they don’t ask whether climate change is harmful, because if they did then their surveys wouldn’t show anything resembling a consensus. Instead, they ask “gimme” questions, designed to elicit the same response from both alarmists and skeptics, so that they can contrive a “consensus,” for propaganda purposes:
comment image

Similarly, Cook’s discredited survey of published papers didn’t look for evidence that the authors of those papers had found anthropogenic climate change to be harmful, only that they thought it was real.

Few of the many scientists who are skeptical of climate alarmism doubt that climate change is real. 20,000 years ago the sites of present-day Boston and Chicago were under a sheet of ice which is believed to have been about a mile thick. So you can bet your sweet bippy that climate change really occurs (fortunately).
When climate activists pretend that the debate is about whether climate change is “real,” they’re engaging in “strawman” argumentation. The real debate is over its scale, its attribution (how much of it is caused by mankind), and its effects (beneficial vs. harmful). There really is no doubt that mankind’s emissions of CO2 and other so-called “greenhouse gases” help warm the Earth, at least a little, but that’s never been what the climate debate is about.

The best evidence is that the warming is modest and benign, and that CO2 emissions are very beneficial, for both human agriculture and natural ecosystems. In fact, scientists call warm periods, like the current warm period, “climate optimums,” because they are, by all objective measures, preferable to cold periods.

Reply to  Dave Burton
August 31, 2023 4:57 am

I’ve long had an aversion to the use of the word ‘significant’ in technical reports or scientific papers in any context other than statistical. It conveys no sense of quantification.

Dave Burton
Reply to  DavsS
August 31, 2023 10:20 pm

According to NCA4, globally averaged warming since the late 1800s (the end of the Little Ice Age) has totaled between 1.02 and 1.27 °C. Their best estimate is 1.14°C. That’s fairly consistent with most other estimates: about one degree; perhaps slightly more.

To get a feel for the impact of that much warming, consider:

1°C is the average temperature change you get from about a 500 foot change in elevation. (That’s calculated from an average lapse rate of 6.5°C/km.)

1°C is the average temperature change you get from about a 60 mile change in latitude.

1°C is the average temperature change which crops in the American Midwest experience due to a six-day change in spring planting date. In other words, midwestern farmers can compensate for 1°C of warming by planting about six days earlier.

1°C is about 3/4 of the hysteresis (a/k/a “dead zone” or “dead band”) in a typical home thermostat. The hysteresis is the amount by which your climate-controlled indoor temperatures go up and down all day, probably without you even noticing the changes.

So even if all of the warming was due to human activities (which is doubtful), it’s still so slight that that much warming would be unlikely to be noticed even indoors. I don’t think that is very significant.

August 31, 2023 5:26 am

When one looks at the data, one finds that 7,930 of the papers took no position at all on the subject and were arbitrarily excluded from the count on this ground. If we simply add back all of the papers reviewed, the 97% claimed by Cook and his co-authors falls to 32.6%.

One does not include non-respondents in a survey sample. If I mail out 1000 forms and only receive 300 responses, my sample size is 300, not 1000. I have no information about what the 700 non-respondents might believe.

Reply to  AlanJ
August 31, 2023 10:57 am

Disagree. This wasn’t a survey, it was a count. The article said “We analysed a large sample of the scientific literature on global CC [climate change], published over a 21-year period, in order to determine the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).”

They looked at papers specifically about global climate change to see the opinions of the authors. There are three possible options: humans are causing it, humans are not causing it, no opinion that humans are causing it or not.

Those can’t be thrown away. It’s like looking at 10,000 people and counting those with black hair (6,000) or blond hair (800), and leaving out the people that had brown or red hair. It would be wrong to claim that 88% of people had black hair

Reply to  JASchrumpf
August 31, 2023 11:33 am

In this case, “no opinion” means the paper says nothing whatsoever about the cause(s) of climate change. To borrow your analogy, including the papers with no position stated would be akin to saying, “the people whose hair we could not see were assumed to be blondes.”

old cocky
Reply to  AlanJ
August 31, 2023 2:43 pm

In this case, “no opinion” means the paper says nothing whatsoever about the cause(s) of climate change.

Exactly, and that should have been reported.

Reply to  AlanJ
September 1, 2023 6:03 am

No. They didn’t poll authors for their opinions, they looked at papers specifically written about climate change. Almost 8,000 wrote about it without assigning a cause. There is no way from that one can make the statement “97% of the papers supported human causes for climate change.”

Reply to  JASchrumpf
September 1, 2023 7:04 am
  1. They in fact did poll all of the authors whose papers they rated. The self-ratings are part of the analysis.
  2. The study is not claiming that 97% of papers publish support human cause of global warming, the study is claiming that 97% of the papers surveyed that express an opinion on the cause of modern global warming endorse a human cause. This is intended to be some metric indicating the level of scientific support behind the idea. No one expects that 97% of climate papers should express an inclination toward the cause of modern climate change because such a question is irrelevant to the nature of the research in the paper.
Reply to  AlanJ
September 1, 2023 9:11 am

I see your point. However, I think if one looks at 12,000 papers and only 36% of them take a position, one is not justified to make the 97% claim even if it is technically correct. It’s misleading. The report should state that 67% of the papers didn’t express and opinion either way.

Lying by omission is still lying.

Reply to  JASchrumpf
September 1, 2023 11:17 am

That information is important to discuss in the manuscript, and Cook et al. do discuss it, but it isn’t important to list under the conclusions, for the same reason that listing the number of non-respondents to a poll isn’t an important part of the conclusion. All it means is that their sample size wasn’t 12,000 papers, it was 4,000 papers. That’s a pretty good basis for making the claim that when a climate paper mentions the cause(s) of modern global warming, it is likely to endorse a human cause.

old cocky
Reply to  AlanJ
August 31, 2023 2:38 pm

Non-respondents would be the Doran and Zimmerman paper.
Cook et al was more of a literature review at best, using abstracts rather than the full papers.

old cocky
Reply to  old cocky
August 31, 2023 5:41 pm


For summarising the methodology of 2 papers.


August 31, 2023 7:39 am

The 0.3% consensus (opinion) should be regularly laughed at – my faith is with Clintel WCD & Oregon Petition signatories, proper academics, scientists & Engineers who remain honest with integrity intact

August 31, 2023 8:30 am

Greg Wrightstone ==> Excellent piece – extremely well done.

August 31, 2023 9:40 am

Even this article misses the correct question that must be answered by climate scientists. The correct question is: Is the warming we are seeing going to lead to a “catastrophic” conclusion?
Man can have an effect on the climate, but if it’s not “catastrophic” ………..who cares.

August 31, 2023 1:25 pm

Funny how the climate alarmists conveniently ignore……

“The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”
IPCC Third Assessment Report 2001

August 31, 2023 1:37 pm

I think it is ‘cooler’ to accept that 97% of scientists are simply lying to the rest of us!

There are essentially two problems with the idea of a Climate Crisis:

  1. The theory
  2. The evidence

There is no mechanism!

Reply to  arfurbryant
August 31, 2023 1:37 pm

The 3. was a mis type!

August 31, 2023 2:20 pm

Should the consensus be 97% of scientists will say what their funding body wants them to say.

Robert B
August 31, 2023 4:24 pm

There are some scientific truths that are quantifiable and easily proven, and with which, I am confident, at least 97% of scientists agree. Here are two:

Carbon dioxide concentration has been increasing in recent years.

Temperatures, as measured by thermometers and satellites, have been generally increasing in fits and starts for more than 150 years.

The first is not easily quantifiable. Acceptance of that is politics rather than science. Why do sceptics push faith in the Keeling Curve? It’s not that I’m certain that CO2 levels have not increased around the globe on average, I am certain that the Keeling Curve is not a reliable measure of by the change.

The second is also not easily quantifiable. While there should be natural climate change showing up in temperature measurements (if not riddled with systematic errors), warming since the LIA, 60 year oscillation linked to ocean currents, El Nino years etc., it’s far from just reading off a thermometer in Gaia’s arm pit What we are given contains possible systematic errors – even UAH, as evidenced by the six different versions Although I do believe that they are trying to do a proper job, the data that they work with needs to be corrected. The others have been done with deliberate bias.

Mickey Reno
September 1, 2023 9:17 am

It’s very disturbing that physics and hard science problems are being “solved” these days by the use of statistics and other social science techniques. The social sciences are fraught with intractable problems, foremost among them being the difficulty of achieving a true representative sample. But that doesn’t stop bureaucrats whose incomes and pensions and health care depend on growing budgets and wasteful, unproductive government spending. Piggies at the trough, is how I characterize the IPCC and it’s evil minions.

September 3, 2023 10:25 pm

> Professor Schulte

U sure?

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