Alarmists Caught Doctoring ‘97 Percent Consensus’ Claims

Alarmists Caught Doctoring ‘97 Percent Consensus’ Claims
May 31, 2013

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

Climate Change Weekly #93

Global warming alarmists and their media allies have been caught doctoring the results of a widely cited paper asserting there is a 97 percent scientific consensus regarding human-caused global warming.

After taking a closer look at the paper, investigative journalists report the authors’ claims of a 97 percent consensus relied on the authors misclassifying the papers of some of the world’s most prominent global warming skeptics. At the same time, the authors deliberately presented a meaningless survey question so they could twist the responses to fit their own preconceived global warming alarmism.

Global warming alarmist John Cook, founder of the misleadingly named blog site Skeptical Science, published a paper ( http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article) with several other global warming alarmists claiming they reviewed nearly 12,000 abstracts of studies published in the peer-reviewed climate literature. Cook reported he and his colleagues found 97 percent of the papers that expressed a position on human-caused global warming “endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”

As is the case with other “surveys” alleging an overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming, the question asked in the survey had nothing to do with the issues of contention between global warming alarmists and global warming skeptics. The question Cook and his alarmist colleagues asked was simply whether humans have caused some global warming. The question is meaningless regarding the global warming debate because most skeptics as well as most alarmists believe humans have caused some global warming. The issue of contention dividing alarmists and skeptics is whether humans are causing global warming so severe and so harmful as to constitute a crisis demanding concerted action.

Investigative journalists at Popular Technology (http://www.populartechnology.net/2013/05/97-study-falsely-classifies-scientists.html#Update2) looked into precisely which papers were classified as part of Cook’s asserted 97 percent. The journalists found Cook and his colleagues classified papers by such prominent, vigorous skeptics as Willie Soon, Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir Shaviv, Nils-Axel Morner, and Alan Carlin as supporting the 97 percent consensus.

Viewing the Cook paper in the best possible light, Cook and colleagues can perhaps claim a small amount of wiggle room in their classifications because the explicit wording of the question they analyzed is simply whether humans have caused some global warming. By restricting the question to such a minimalist, largely irrelevant question in the global warming debate and then demanding an explicit, unsolicited refutation of the assertion in order to classify a paper as a “consensus” contrarian, Cook and colleagues misleadingly induce people to believe 97 percent of publishing scientists believe in a global warming crisis when that is simply not the case.

Misleading the public about consensus opinion regarding global warming, of course, is precisely what the Cook paper sought to accomplish. This is a tried and true ruse perfected by global warming alarmists. Global warming alarmists use their own biased, subjective judgment to misclassify published papers according to criteria that are largely irrelevant to the central issues in the global warming debate. Then, by carefully parsing the language of their survey questions and their published results, the alarmists encourage the media and fellow global warming alarmists to cite these biased, subjective, totally irrelevant surveys as conclusive evidence for the lie that nearly all scientists believe humans are creating a global warming crisis.

SOURCE: Forbes.com


IN THIS ISSUE

Glacial retreat shows warmer temperatures 400 to 600 years ago … Peer-reviewed study finds CO2 not responsible for recent warming … Past three years show warming not responsible for tornadoes … Government funding corrupts climate science … Washington Post article busts warming-tornado myth … Polar sea ice extent remains above long-term average ... Alarmism on another front


GLACIAL RETREAT SHOWS WARMER TEMPERATURES 400 TO 600 YEARS AGO

Scientists carbon-dated plant life exposed by glacial retreat in the Canadian Arctic and found the plants were between 400 and 600 years old. Meteorologist Anthony Watts explains how the carbon-dating shows temperatures 400 to 600 years ago must have been at least as warm as today: “[T]hese plants had to have a warm environment to grow in first, then they were covered by ice, emerging again after the LIA [Little Ice Age] ended. Many reports are only looking at the current emergence in a warmer period as if it is unique.” The scientists’ study is published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

SOURCE: Watts Up With That? and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


PEER-REVIEWED STUDY FINDS CO2 NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR RECENT WARMING

Carbon dioxide emissions are not the primary factor driving recent global warming, a newly published peer-reviewed study reports. To the extent humans are enhancing the natural recovery from the Little Ice Age, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the primary driver, according to University of Waterloo (Ontario) physics professor Qing-Bin Lu. “Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong,” said Lu in a press release accompanying the study.

SOURCES: Environment & Climate News, Science Daily, and International Journal of Modern Physics B


LAST THREE YEARS SHOW WARMING NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR TORNADOES

Tornado and weather data during the past three years show global warming is not responsible for recent tornado activity, meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo explains in a very interesting short paper. Sharp temperature contrasts are primarily responsible for spring tornadoes, D’Aleo explains, and global warming is reducing rather than increasing spring temperature contrasts. D’Aleo provides several illustrative graphics supporting the data.

SOURCE: Watts Up With That?


GOVERNMENT FUNDING CORRUPTS CLIMATE SCIENCE

Government-funded scientists produce predictions and reports designed to justify the importance of their funding and ensure similar funding in the future, climate scientist Patrick Michaels explains in the Washington Times. “In Big Science, money is power. Money is publications. Money is promotion and tenure, television time, awards, rewards and a permanent ticket out of coach. There’s simply no incentive for scientists to do anything but perpetuate their issues,” Michaels explains.

SOURCE: Washington Times


WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE BUSTS WARMING-TORNADO MYTH

Assertions that global warming is making tornadoes more frequent or more severe is a myth, meteorologist Mike Smith writes in a Washington Post article titled, “Five myths about tornadoes.” Smith writes, “National Weather Service figures show, if anything, that violent tornadoes – F3 or greater on the Fujita scale – are becoming less frequent. There is no trend, neither up nor down, in the frequency of all tornadoes.”

When even the alarmist-friendly Washington Post publishes articles showing global warming tornado claims to be a myth, the alarmists are in deep trouble.

SOURCE: Washington Post


POLAR SEA ICE EXTENT REMAINS ABOVE LONG-TERM AVERAGE

Polar sea ice extent remains above the long-term average, as has been the case for most of this year. Antarctic sea ice extent has been above the long-term average every day this year and was at or above the long-term average nearly every day in 2012, as well. I know this is starting to sound a bit like a broken record here at Climate Change Weekly, but global warming alarmists themselves sound like a broken record when it comes to the alleged melting of polar ice caps. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

SOURCE: Crysophere Today


ALARMISM ON ANOTHER FRONT

As you may know, Climate Change Weekly is a publication of The Heartland Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for, among other things, the use of common sense and sound science in public policymaking with respect to environment issues – not just global warming (aka climate change), but other environment issues as well. Heartland is a member of the “Culture of Alarmism” coalition, spearheaded by the Independent Women's Forum, which is working to counter a fear-mongering effort to pressure retailers to remove thousands of products families rely on each day from store shelves. Please consider signing our petition and urge your favorite retailers not to bow to this junk-science-based alarmist effort.

SOURCE: Independent Women's Forum

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)