Consensus? What Consensus? [With Comment By John]

Here in Colorado at the moment the League of Conservation Voters is running a carpet-bombing TV ad campaign against Republican Congressman Mike Coffman (and three other Republicans elsewhere) for the sole sin of not signing up the for the environmentalist climate agenda.  There are two fun parts of the Coffman ad: first, the factoid that he accepted $300,000 from “big oil and gas” interests.  Whoa!  I note that the LCV ad campaign will spend something like $800,000 on these spots against Coffman.  Pot, meet kettle.  (Make sure they are lead-free, and heated by renewables.)  Clearly Coffman hasn’t taken enough campaign contributions from oil and gas, and I hope they step up to defend him.

But much more fun is to take in the current climate campaign mantra in the ad that “97 percent of scientists agree” about human-caused global warming.  The only notable thing here is that the survey doesn’t find that 100 percent of all scientists agree about human-caused global warming, because the survey question is so broad and anodyne that it easily sweeps up all of the leading skeptics including Richard Lindzen and Patrick Michaels, among others.  (If I’d been surveyed, I’d have said yes, too, but I’m not a natural scientist and haven’t published a scientific journal article, which was the data domain used for this claim.  In other words, I’m in the exact same position as Al Gore.)

Andrew Monfort of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the UK has the skinny on this fat claim, in a new paper, “Consensus? What Consensus?

Recent reports that 97% of published scientific papers support the so-called consensus on man-made global warming are based on a paper by John Cook et al.

Precisely what consensus is allegedly being supported in these papers cannot be discerned from the text of the paper.

An analysis of the methodology used by Cook et al. shows that the consensus referred to is trivial:

• that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas

• that human activities have warmed the planet to some unspecified extent.

Almost everybody involved in the climate debate, including the majority of sceptics, accepts these propositions, so little can be learned from the Cook et al. paper.

The extent to which the warming in the last two decades of the twentieth century was man-made and the likely extent of any future warming remain highly contentious scientific issues.

Monfort goes on to reverse-engineer the methodology of the survey behind this claim, showing that it required the most shallow definition in order to achieve this result.

JOHN adds: The global warming theory as it is propagated by the alarmists–the claim that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause–is held by only a minority of professionals in the relevant scientific fields, 36% in this survey.

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