The latest mantra from the Obama administration and those wishing to promote the climate change agenda is that 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is a man-made phenomenon.  The hope is that the statement will become engrained in the public’s consciousness and be repeated as indisputable truth – never mind the absurdity of the statement or that it sounds like a cheezy TV ad.Traffic-jam-Los-Angeles-007

In their WSJ editorial, Joseph Blast and Roy Spencer lend some background on the 97% figure which they point out was repeated by both President Obama and John Kerry in mid May and was posted on the NASA website.

Blast and Spencer note four studies between 2004 – 2013 which all arrive at the 97% figure:

  • 2004 opinion essay by Naomi Oreskes in Science magazine:  Ms. Oreskes reviewed abstracts of 928 articles in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 and calculated that 75% of the authors agreed that human activities were the cause of most of the global warming over the previous 50 years.
  • 2009 article in Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union by Maggie Zimmerman and Peter Doran:  Zimmerman and Doran surveyed a select group of scientists with two questions and concluded that 97% of climate scientists agree the earth is warming and that humans are a significant factor.
  • 2010 study published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences by William R. Love Anderegg:  Mr. Anderegg used Google Scholar to search for the 200 most prolific writers on climate change and determined that 97% – 98% of them believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the global warming.
  • 2013 study by John Cook published in Environmental Research Letters:  Mr. Cook and his friends reviewed 11,944 papers published from 1991-2001 and found that 97% of those which stated a position claim that human activity is responsible for some warming.

Blast and Spencer offer some insight into each study:

  • 2004 study:  Ms. Oreskes research did not take into account whether scientists considered global warming actually dangerous.  Additionally, she ignored the writings of prominent scientists who disagreed with the consensus.  Blast and Spencer also point out that Ms. Oreskes’ methodology was flawed as it has been shown that claims in abstracts are not always substantiated in the underlying papers.
  • 2009 study:  Zimmerman and Doran’s study did not consider if the human impact on global warming was large enough to be a serious problem and it excluded the types of scientists most aware of the causes of climate change such as space and solar scientists, meteorologists, physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists.
  • 2010 study:  Anderegg’s study did not consider if warming was dangerous and his data pool of 200 scientists was not large enough to form a consensus given the thousands of climate scientists.
  • 2013 study:  Authors of an article in Science and Education reviewed Cook’s study and found his numbers quite skewed – only 41 of the 11,944 articles reviewed by Cook’s team suggested that global warming was mostly man-made, just 0.3%.  And scientists have come forward who claim their work was misrepresented or ignored by Cook.

So it seems we have a consistent theme among all the studies – focus on the research of scientists who are known to agree with the desired conclusion and don’t consider whether warming is a serious threat.

Blast and Spencer go on to cite studies which show that a strong consensus does not exist among scientists on the issue of global warming and man’s contribution to it, and they note that the largest petition (more than 31,000 signatures) circulated by scientists on the issue states that:

“…there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of . . . carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

Independent thinkers should take a look at Blast and Spencer’s editorial as the 97% figure will inevitably be quoted this summer in conversations about the weather.  And that’s just how “the powers that be” would want it.

Read Blast and Spencer’s WSJ editorial HERE.

Joseph Blast wrote another post on the topic on the Heartland Institute website HERE.