Everyone has heard the famous statement that 97% of scientists say global warming is real. Of course, that in itself is a meaningless statement, since no one disputes that the earth has warmed by roughly 0.8 degrees Celsius over the past century or so.
But the “97% of scientists believe in global warming” mantra became gospel on May 16, 2013, when President Obama tweeted:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/climate?src=hash”>#climate</a> change is real, man-made and dangerous. Read more: <a href=”http://t.co/4lEEBYtVqf”>http://t.co/4lEEBYtVqf</a></p>— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/335089477296988160″>May 16, 2013</a></blockquote>
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What the president was referring to was a 2013 paper by the University of Queensland’s John Cook. In his research, Cook studied 11,994 papers published between 1991 and 2011 that mentioned the search words “global warming” and “global climate change.”
Guess what Cook found? Only 32.6% of the papers endorsed the view of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. But of that group, 97% said that “recent warming is mostly man-made.”
And so, by a nice sleight-of-hand obfuscation, the great “97% consensus” was born.
Don’t believe me? Check out the actual paper, or the abstract, or the original article. In fact, let’s just say thank goodness that the originals are still posted online. Typically, when someone pulls off a con of such massive, world-wide proportions, they subsequently burn the evidence to cover their tracks.
Still don’t believe me? Here’s the actual, posted statement:
We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.
Bottom line: In the actual study in question, only one-third of the 11,994 academic papers studied could be construed as arguing for man-made warming. Possibly the other two-thirds were more focused on the unprecedented increase in solar activity seen over the past century.