The 97% Lie

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Axel NaudLicence CC BY 2.0

I got so fed up of being told that “97% of scientists believe in Man Made Climate Change” every time someone queries the Global Warming (or whatever it’s being called this week) scam that I decided to dig into it a little.

Guess what, this whole scam is based on a fallacy. It mainly seems to comes from a paper produced by a man called John Cook and his team. Cook is a fellow of the Australian Global Change Institute. He set out with the explicit intention of proving man made climate change was real and he failed. Prior to the Cook paper there had been a different story doing the rounds. The claim was that a total of 2500 scientists had reviewed the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s position and agreed with it. This was widely promoted by the climate change lobby, however the MSM never bought it. It (the MSM) concluded that the number of 2500 was actually the total number of scientists that had reviewed some or all of the IPCC paper. Although some of them agreed with its conclusions a goodly number disagreed with it in all or in part.

Because the 2500 claim had been debunked warmists needed a new line of attack and, of course, one was found. In 2004 Naomi Oreskes, (now Professor of Science History and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University) published a brief article that analysed 928 papers containing the keywords “Global Climate Change”. This short article stated “none of these papers disagreed with the consensus position” of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). This has been used to support the 97% claim but it’s obvious that it doesn’t. It doesn’t say how many agreed with the theory of man-made warming, just that none disagreed that there was warming. In a 2007 book Oreskes revealed that only 235 of those 928 papers, around 25%, actually endorsed man made global warming. She went on to say that an additional 50% of the papers were “interpreted” to have implicitly endorsed the position. However, she accepted that authors “might believe that the current climate change is natural”. This clearly does not support the 97% number.

In 2013 along came John Cook et al with a paper that included the 97% figure. In his paper Cook said that he and his team had analysed extracts from 11,944 pieces of “peer reviewed scientific literature”, published between 1991 and 2011, that included the topics “Global Climate Change” or Global Warming. 66.4% of abstractions expressed no position, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain. He went on to say that among the extracts supporting AGW 97.1% were convinced that human activity was responsible. What he’s actually saying is that only 97.1% of 32.6% endorse man-made global warming!

When one looks a little deeper at Cooks paper it reveals itself as clearly badly flawed. A computer program was used to scan the 11,944 peer reviewed papers and divide them into 7 categories. Said categories ranged from explicit rejection of the concept, through taking no position either way, up to explicit endorsements (of the concept). A total of only 65 papers, or 1.6%, explicitly endorsed man-made AGW. 4011 papers had no position. Cook ventured into the same trap as Oreskes by including papers the computer “interpreted” as endorsing AGW in his 32.6%. Far from 97% of scientists supporting man-made AGW the actual number of supporters is  subject to discussion and conjecture. The claim of 97% is clearly far too high and that is without even getting into any discussion as to how many of those “peers” are truly experts in the field of climate science.

© WorthingGooner 2020

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