Fact Checking The Claim Of 97% Consensus On Anthropogenic Climate Change
What is the origin of the false belief – constantly repeated by Al Gore, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the media and others – that almost all scientists agree about global warming?
MYTH: A 97% consensus [agreement] of scientists say that Earth’s climate is experiencing dangerous warming caused by human activities.
THE FACTS: This erroneous and totally misleading figure was obtained from four different studies, all of which were flawed.
The first was done in 2004 by Naomi Oreskes, who is not a scientist. She examined the abstracts [summaries] of 928 scientific studies that she had found by putting in the search term “global climate change.”
This yielded only 8% of the results she would have obtained from the search term “climate change”, thus leaving out hundreds of studies focusing on natural causes of climate change.
The topics of many articles counted in this study didn’t address causes of climate change but, assuming that IPCC conclusions were correct, focused on the influence of climate on the incidence of influenza, the life cycle of frogs, etc.
Before publishing Ms. Oreskes’ article the journal editor failed to check either her methodology or her sources. Shortly thereafter Naomi Oreskes wrote a book entitled, Merchants of Doubt, which lambasted climate skeptics.
In a 2009 study (Doran and Zimmerman), Maggie Zimmerman, a graduate student, sent a 2-minute online survey to 10,257 employees of schools and government research agencies.
This left out over 10,000 geologists, physicists, meteorologists, and astronomers, many of whom were studying the issue. She received 3,146 responses.
Yet her 98% figure was based on only 79 responses she had handpicked – certainly not a representative sample. So, this study has been debunked.
In 2010 another college student, William Anderegg, identified 908 scientists who had written the most papers about global warming. He considered these to be most qualified to hold an opinion on climate change.
“The 50 most prolific alarmists were published an average of 408 times each, versus only 89 times each for the skeptics.” Hundreds of the studies considered had several – as many as twelve – different authors. This misinformation weighted the results against the skeptics.
Anderegg failed to consider that the number of published studies doesn’t equal correctness. Studies which reach conclusions agreeing with the official government position on climate change are heavily financed.
In contrast, those scientists who study the natural causes of global warming must scramble for financing. This is one reason why these scientists aren’t publishing as many peer-reviewed papers.
In 2013, John Cook, who is not a scientist but a professional cartoonist, issued a report to the Global Warming Policy Foundation stating that 97.1% of the 11,944 scientific papers he examined “explicitly or implicitly suggested that human activity was responsible for some warming.”
This claim has been debunked by at least four other studies, which found that this definition doesn’t support the IPCC claim that mankind is responsible for most global warming.
A study by Legates found that only 41 of these 11,944 papers stated the opinion that most of the warming since 1950 was man-made. It was revealed that Cook had told the publisher of his study its results (97% consensus) before he had even done the research.
But science doesn’t operate by consensus. To adhere to the scientific method, scientists are obligated to question all new ideas. In that case, even if this 97% figure were correct (it isn’t), it would be meaningless.
When Galileo challenged the scientific consensus that the Earth was the center of the universe, he was met with an extremely hostile reaction.
Likewise, Dr. Barry Marshall, who hypothesized that ulcers are caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, was challenged by the majority, who believed ulcers are caused only by stress.
Finally, Dr. Marshall empirically proved his hypothesis by drinking a solution containing these bacteria. In doing so, he successfully gave himself an ulcer. For this, he was awarded a Nobel prize.
In the early 20th century, Alfred Wegener was scorned and mocked by other geologists for advancing the theory of continental drift, which led to the tectonic plate theory. This theory, the acceptance of which he didn’t live to see, revolutionized the science of geology.
Many scientists who had once accepted the global warming hypothesis changed their minds after new information became evident. Klaus Eckert Puls, a German meteorologist, lamented:
“Ten years ago, I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data. At first, I started with a sense of doubt, but then I became outraged when I discovered that what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it. Scientifically it is a sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob.”
In the 2007 Global Warming Petition project, 31,487 scientists (over 9,000 of whom have PhDs) signed the following declaration:
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
For speaking out against the fraudulent AGW hypothesis, Canadian scientist Dr. Tim Ball was sued by three IPCC scientists who all had the same lawyer.
In this way, the climate alarmist cabal had hoped to silence other scientists daring to speak out against their hypothesis through fear of the same consequence.
Defending oneself against such lawsuits, no matter how frivolous or unjustified, often takes years and hundreds of thousands of dollars that could quickly use up one’s life savings. Fortunately, Dr. Ball has been able to fend off these unjustified lawsuits.
Scientists choosing to investigate natural rather than man-made causes of warming quickly learn that they will not be awarded government research grants.
This is because government officials, lusting for carbon taxes, are interested only in those reports that can show in some way that humans are causing this so-called “problem.”
For example, if scientists can demonstrate that a species of butterfly has migrated north or is in danger of extinction, attributing this to human-caused climate change will guarantee them lucrative grants that are perpetually renewed.
Many scientists have been afraid to disagree with those in power out of fear that their careers will be ruined. Since the global warming hypothesis surfaced about 40 years ago, many meteorologists and climatologists have waited until after they retired to speak up.
Others became more skeptical after more information surfaced. Just a few of the top scientists who are now standing up and saying this is wrong are: Dr. David Evans, Dr. Joanna Simpson, Dr. Judith Curry, Dr. Alrude Allegre, Dr. Tafd Murty, Dr. Chris de Freitas, Dr. Kiminori Itoh, and Dr. Andrei Kapitsa.
You need to Google the names of these scientists to learn about why they’ve changed their stance.
Piers Corbyn, a well-known and respected British meteorologist with the best record of accurate, long-range weather forecasting (WeatherAction.com) points out that the world is now cooling, not warming.
He contends that:
“There is no observational evidence in the thousands and millions of years of data that changes in CO2 have any observable effect on weather or climate in the real world. There are no scientists in the world who can produce such observational data, and we challenge anyone reading this to send us such observational evidence from the real world or find someone who can and get them to produce it. There is only effect the other way, namely that ocean temperatures control average CO2 levels due to basic laws of physics about the solubility of CO2 gas in (sea) water.”
Corbyn believes that because the low incidence of sunspots we are seeing now is similar to the Maunder Minimum from 1645– 1715 and the Dalton Minimum from 1790– 1830, we could well be at the beginning of another mini-Ice Age, a prolonged period of cooling which could last for thirty years or more.
This would be bad news for the world. It would reduce agricultural production, raise food prices, and negatively impact the economy in other ways.
In 2012, forty-nine former NASA scientists, including seven astronauts, sent a letter to NASA expressing their dismay that this agency — specifically the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) — was drawing conclusions based on scientifically flawed climate models that had failed to make accurate predictions and was ignoring other scientific methods of investigation.
Another prominent scientist, Hal Lewis, resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) in 2010 after noting that this society had been taken over by the unscientific global warming hysteria. He stated in his letter of resignation:
“The global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”
For all of these reasons, the idea that 97% of scientists agree that mankind is causing the Earth to heat up is not just a myth. It is pure propaganda relentlessly pushed by those media outlets that do the bidding of those who have profited from it.
Lynne Balzer taught science at the high school and college levels for about twenty years. A project director for Faraday Science Institute, she has studied this issue for a long time. Her new book, The Green New Deal and Climate Change: What You Need to Know, is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle format.