“97% of scientists agree!”
This is the mantra that became popular several years after Al Gore’s 2006 propaganda film An Inconvenient Truth. It was endorsed by Pres. Barack Obama when he tweeted on May 16, 2013 that, “97% of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made, and dangerous.” From this claim stemmed claims of “the scientific consensus” and “the science is settled.” Anyone who dared to suggest that the climate was not warming up, or that CO2 was not the proximate cause was scorned and vilified. How could anyone have such an opinion when 97% of the scientists have agreed that excess CO2 is causing climate to warm up? How could anyone have the hubris to think that they knew better than scientists?
Where did this 97% figure originate? It appears to have started with a short 2009 paper by Peter Doran and Maggie Zimmerman of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In this paper, the announced the results of the two question poll. This poll was sent to 10,257 “Earth scientists.”
The two questions were:
1. When compared with pre- 1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
This is a dramatic conclusion drawn from a mere two question poll based on subjective evaluations. I asked an expert in research methodology about their paper, and she had the following questions:
- What do they consider as an “earth scientist”?
- What do they mean by “significant”?
- Is there a standard definition of pre-1800s temperatures?
- What types of human activity are to be considered?
- Are there multiple intervening factors?
- When considering mean global temperatures, from what date range is the mean derived?
- What, exactly, is being measured in global temperatures?
Doran and Zimmerman failed to identify the possibility of question bias and polling bias in their results. They freely admit the largest source of bias, apparently in the hopes that nobody would notice. Of their subsample of respondents, they filtered for scientists who published at least 50% of their papers on the subject of climate change. In 2009, mainstream climate scientists who disagreed with the global warming model had no incentive to publish their refutations. The sampling method of the results, in essence, filtered out anyone who would disagree with the proposition of anthropogenic global warming. In plain English that means, “97% of the scientists who agree with us agree with us.” Astonishing.
The Dornan and Zimmerman study and its associated controversy prompted John Cook and several other researchers to do a study of scientific literature to try and determine the scientific consensus surrounding anthropogenic global warming. They studied 11,944 climate abstracts. Of those, 7,930 were deemed to have no position on anthropogenic global warming and were discarded. Of those that remained 78 rejected anthropogenic global warming, 40 were uncertain, and the remainder endorsed anthropogenic global warming. Somehow, 3896 papers endorsing anthropogenic global warming out of 11,944 became 97%. In a jaw-dropping case of analysis bias, 66.4% of the data was simply thrown out, allowing them to claim the remaining 32.6% was actually 97%. This paper seem to confirm Dornan and Zimmerman’s results, and was widely touted, even though it means essentially nothing because the papers cited weren’t examined beyond the abstracts, and, as I will show, climate scientists had good reason to stay quiet if they disagreed with the “consensus opinion.” Friends of Science director Ken Gregory breaks down the Cook et al paper even more.
More on the 97% myth courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.
With a most unscientific lack of skepticism, the 97% number became canon in the church of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Scientists who disagreed with the premise were branded contrarians and outliers. The consensus was established, the science was settled. Scientists who disagreed with Doran and Zimmerman’s poll had good reason not to respond. Just a year before climatologist George Taylor had been forced to retire from his tenured teaching position at Oregon State University as manager of the Oregon climate service because he publicly disagreed with the premise of man-made global warming. He was not alone. Four years later Prof. Nicholas Drapela, a chemistry professor at OSU, was also fired for his criticism of anthropogenic climate change.
When marine scientist Peter Ridd pointed out that the coral reefs were as healthy as ever and that local die offs had nothing to do with water temperatures, he was censured by his University for, “Failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution.” Ridd pointed out that two of the world’s leading organization studying coral reefs were using misleading photographs to make the case that global warming is causing a mass reef die off.
When a scientist cannot express skepticism or disagreement without worrying about his professional career, you no longer have science, you have religion. Science – real science – is based on skepticism, questioning, challenging hypotheses. The science was settled that the Earth was flat, until Ptolemy proved that it wasn’t. The science was settled that the earth was the center of everything, until Copernicus showed that the earth orbited the sun. There is no such thing as “settled science.”
As with any religion, anthropogenic climate change cannot tolerate heretics voicing their criticism. In Vancouver, Canada lawyer and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver sued Prof. Timothy Ball for libel because Ball suggested in a published article that modern climate science had been corrupted by money and politics. Fortunately for science, the lawsuit was thrown out of court. Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann followed suit in Canadian court, suing both Dr. Tim Ball and political pundit Mark Steyn for libel. The lawsuit failed, because in discovery Mann refused to turn over the raw data from which he produced his famous “hockey stick graph.”
The debate in academia as soon devolved from one of evaluating the science on its merits to evaluating scientific studies based on who funded them. Research doesn’t happen for free. Research grants to find evidence of global warming and link it to human activity were funded by companies with interests in green energy, speculators in Al Gore’s “carbon exchange” who stood to make trillions if the carbon exchange was enacted into law, and vocally supported by the ever-present fringe environmentalist lobbies, many of whom see the human presence on the earth as a blight. Threatened by the implications of man-made global warming, fossil fuel companies in turn funded grants to refute the results of the man-made global warming studies.
The dirty little secret in research grants is if you want to continue getting money, you provide the results desired by the person funding the grant. The most objective of scientists still walk a fine line in their research proposals to suggest that the research will likely produce the results desired by those who fund it. Research money often goes to those scientists who are so wedded to their preconceived notions that it’s impossible for them to see their own bias.
The claim of 97% consensus generated a huge backlash from the scientific community which has gone mostly unreported by the media. 31,487 American scientists signed a petition urging the United States government to reject the Kyoto accords in 1997, based on a lack of convincing scientific evidence that human release of CO2 or other greenhouse gases is disrupting years climate.
Another study that for some reason never gets mentioned by the media is that by Lefsrude and Meyer, entitled, Science or Science Fiction? Professional’s Discursive Construction of Climate Change. This paper concludes that only 36% of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis. Of course, since this doesn’t fit with the political agenda of the climate change alarmists and the media, few people have ever heard about it.
The lie of the 97% consensus is revealed in the sheer number of scientists who reject the conventional wisdom of anthropogenic global warming. The proponents of the climate change scam will try to dismiss these skeptics as, “A handful of cherry picked quacks and denialist bullshitters, conspiracy theorists every one of them.” If it were up to the proponents of climate change, these men would be stripped of their degrees and denied the right to speak in public. This is the penalty of the heretic when he dares to challenge the orthodoxy of the anthropogenic climate change religion.
Below is a sample list of first-class scientists who disagree with the premise of anthropogenic global warming. This is by no means a comprehensive list. The point is to show that the science is anything but “settled,” and that the myth of the 97% consensus needs to be put to rest once and for all. Science is about facts. It is not a democracy.
In 2012, 16 scientists endorsed a letter to the Wall Street Journal stating that there’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to “de-carbonize” the world’s economy. For those of you who don’t have the subscription to the Wall Street Journal, the article is reproduced in its entirety here.
In 2010, professor Emeritus of physics Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara resigned in protest from the American Physical Society due to the corruption associated with climate science, what he termed, “The most successful pseudoscientific fraud” that he had seen in his life. Read his resignation letter here.
Dr. Richard Lindzen, emeritus Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT: “Demonization of CO2 is irrational at best and even modest warming is mostly beneficial.' - 'When someone says this is the warmest temperature on record. What are they talking about? It’s just nonsense. This is a very tiny change, period.” Dr. Lindzen goes on to say in this video that, “Believing CO2 controls the climate is pretty close to believing in magic.”
Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer: “Policies to slow CO2 emissions are really based on nonsense. We are being led down a false path. To call carbon dioxide a pollutant is really Orwellian. You are calling something a pollutant that we all produce. Where does that lead us eventually?” Dr. Happer states in this video that, “Climate Change is An Extraordinary Popular Delusion.” In this video he states in this video that, “Carbon Pollution is a Myth.”
Greenpeace Co-Founder Dr. Patrick Moore: “We are dealing with pure political propaganda that has nothing to do with science.” In this interview, he unequivocally states that “Climate Change is a Scam!”
In this video, Professor Ivar Giaever, the 1973 Nobel Prizewinner for Physics, trashes the global warming/climate change/extreme weather pseudoscientific clap-trap and tells Obama he is "Dead Wrong."
In this video, former NASA scientists trash the global warming hysteria.
In this video, Climatologist Dr Richard Alan Keen reveals the data and explains how the "Mainstream climate modelers" have got it wrong.
In this video, Dr Fred Goldman, Associate Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm Sweden, exposes the so-called "Science" of Dangerous Man-Made Climate Change as complete nonsense.
In this short video, Dr. Judith Curry, Professor and former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, testifies before Congress.
In this video, Steven F. Hayward, Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, discusses why the poor science associated with global climate change should not be the basis of public policy.
Dr. S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia, and he was the founding Dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami (1964-1967) and the Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics University of Maryland (1953-1962). In this interview, he discusses his role as the Father of Global Warming Skepticism.
Other Notable Deniers/Skeptics:
Dr Richard Muller – physicist, professor at University of California, Berkeley;
Dr. Paul Berenson, M.I.T, executive secretary of the Defense Science Board for the U.S. Department of Defense, Scientific Advisor to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), and Scientific Advisor to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command;
Dr. Robert H. Austin (Physicist) Award-Winning Princeton University Physicist;
Dr. David R. Legates (Climatologist) Delaware State Climatologist, Professor and director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Delaware;
Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov–head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science’s Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station’s Astrometria project;
Dr Yury Izrael, past UN IPCC Vice President, director of Global Climate and Ecology Institute, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
Gordon J. Fulks, PhD in physics from the University of Chicago, Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research;
David H Douglass, PhD, Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester and a real climate scientist;
David Evans, PhD, consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005;
Dr. Oliver W. Frauenfield, Contributing Author to the UN IPCC Working Group 1 Fourth Assessment Report, with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Division of Cryospheric and Polar Processes at the University of Colorado, assistant professor at Texas A&M University;
Willie Wei-Hock Soon, PhD, astrophysicist at the Solar and Stellar Physics (SSP) Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California;
Dr. David Stockwell Ph.D. degree in Ecosystem Dynamics from the Australian National University; Piers Forster, Climate Change Professor at Leeds University;
Dr. Theodore G. Pavlopoulos (Physicist and Chemist) U.S. Navy, Retired – a member of the New York Academy of Sciences;
Dr. Ole Humlum, Professor of Geosciences at the University of Oslo. PhD in Glacial Geomorphology;
Dr Tom Segalstad, Geologist & Geochemist, UN-IPCC Expert Reviewer [resigned], a professor and head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo and formerly an expert reviewer with the UN IPCC;
Dr. Michael J. Economides, Professor of Chemical and Bio-molecular Engineering at Cullen College of Engineering at University of Houston and the author of numerous books and more than 50 scientific studies, member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences;
Professor Anastasios Tsonis, [Meteorologist] of the University of Wisconsin;
Dr. Philip Lloyd, UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author, Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer;
Ferenc Miskolczi, atmospheric physicist specializing in atmospheric radiative transfer, senior principal scientist on several NASA projects related to atmospheric remote sensing problems and the evaluation of the Earth’s radiation budget;
John R. Christy, PhD. Atmospheric Science, professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville;
Petr Chylek, PhD., Physics , Adjunct Professor
Roy W. Spencer, PhD., M.S. Meteorology, research scientist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville;
Sallie Baliunas, PhD. in Astrophysics, Harvard, astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division and formerly Deputy Director of the Mount Wilson Observatory