By now you’ve probably hear liberals complain about Trump’s cutting the EPA and not caring enough about “Climate Change.”
Some may throw out a popular fake talking point that there is a 97 percent scientific consensus that man made climate change is a fact.
There’s only one problem, that 97% statistic is a complete lie.
Journalist Michael Bastach does a fantastic job of debunking the fallacy.
We’ve heard it time and time again: “97 percent of scientists agree global warming is real and man-made.”
Question one aspect of the global warming “consensus” and politicians and activists immediately whip out the figure. “You disagree with 97 percent of scientists?”
The 97 percent figure was often used by the Obama administration to bolster its case for phasing out fossil fuels, and President Barack Obama himself used the figure to undercut his critics. NASA even cites studies purporting to show near-unanimous agreement on the issue.
More recently, Newsweek included this figure in an article fretting about “climate deniers” in state legislatures trying to influence science curriculum. The author couldn’t resist noting that “97% of scientists who actively study Earth’s climate say it is changing because of human activity.”
Liberals use the figure to shut down debate around global warming. Afterall, how can you disagree with all those scientists, many of whom have spent their lives studying the climate?
But how many proponents of “climate action” have actually bothered to read the research that underlays such a popular talking point? How many realize the “consensus” the research claims to find is more of a statistical contortion than actual agreement?
Probably not many, so let’s talk about the 2013 study led by Australian researcher John Cook claiming there’s a 97 percent consensus on global warming.
What Does The ‘Consensus’ Really Mean?
Cook and his colleagues set out to show just how much scientists agreed that humans contribute to global warming.
To do this, Cook analyzed the abstracts of 11,944 peer-reviewed papers on global warming published between 1991 and 2011 to see what position they took on human influence on the climate.
Of those papers, just over 66 percent, or 7,930, took no position on man-made global warming. Only 32.6 percent, or 3,896, of peer-reviewed papers, endorsed the “consensus” that humans contribute to global warming, while just 1 percent of papers either rejected that position or were uncertain about it.
Cook goes on to claim that of those papers taking a position on global warming (either explicitly or implicitly), 97.1 percent agreed that humans to some degree contribute to global warming.
In terms of peer-reviewed papers, the “97 percent consensus” is really the “32.6 percent consensus” if all the studies reviewed are taken into account.
But Cook also invited the authors of these papers to rate their endorsement of the “consensus.” Cook emailed 8,574 authors to self-rate their papers, of which only 1,189 authors ended up reviewing their work.
Again, 35.5 percent, or 761, of those self-rated papers took no position on the cause of global warming. Some 62.7 percent, or 1,342, of those papers endorsed the global warming “consensus,” while 1.8 percent, or 39, self-rated papers rejected it.
Twisting the numbers a bit, Cook concludes that 97.2 percent of the self-rated papers with a position on global warming endorsed the idea humans were contributing to it.
Other studies written before and after Cook’s attempted to find a consensus, but to varying degrees, finding a range of a 7 to 100 percent (yes, no disagreement) among climate experts, depending on what subgroup was surveyed.
Cook’s paper is probably the most widely cited, having been downloaded more than 600,000 times and cited in popular media outlets.
You can read more here