Tuesday, May 12, 2015

That phony 97% consensus

The number 97 has become an almost magical symbol among true believers for their righteous belief that man-made global warming is a dangerous threat.  Both clueless believers and those who ought to know better shamelessly peddle that number as if it were some absolute truth.  Skeptics (aka "deniers"), on the other hand, try again and again to explain what is really going on.

Ross McKitrick: Climate change consensus among the misinformed is not worth much
In the lead-up to the Paris climate summit, massive activist pressure is on all governments ... to fall in line with the global warming agenda ... One of the most powerful rhetorical weapons being deployed is the claim that 97 per cent of the world’s scientists agree what the problem is and what we have to do about it.

 ... on what exactly are 97 per cent of experts supposed to agree? In 2013 President Obama sent out a tweet claiming 97 per cent of climate experts believe global warming is “real, man-made and dangerous.” As it turns out the survey he was referring to didn’t ask that question, so he was basically making it up.

... The Canadian government has the unenviable task of defending the interest of the energy producers and consumers of a cold, thinly-populated country, in the face of furious, deafening global warming alarmism. Some of the worst of it is now emanating from the highest places. Barack Obama’s website says “97 per cent of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and man-made…Find the deniers near you — and call them out today.” How nice.
True believers will no doubt be appalled by Prof McKitrick's heresy.


kevvyd said...

The "97%" consensus is actually misreported everywhere as referring to 97% of researchers, where in fact it actually refers to 97% of peer-reviewed scientific papers that take a position on climate change/global warming.

The fact is that the science is very solid on this. McKitrick is an economist can speak perhaps with some expertise on the economic impacts of climate change, but does not have the background to legitimately object to the science.

kevvyd said...

I misstated myself - I should have said that he cannot legitimately "challenge" the science of climate change. He can object all he likes.

FPR said...

Sorry Kevvyd,
This is where the 97% myth comes from.

The study,the questions, the responses and the results. Cheers, FPR

JR said...

I think Ross McKitrick has studied the field of climate change long enough and sufficiently rigorously to credibly challenge much of what is claimed in the field. But that's not what he'd doing here. In this case he is simply challenging claims about what has become a propaganda meme for activists pushing alarmist messages - the infamous "97% consensus". This silly notion has been refuted so many times by so many people (FPR points to one) that by now you'd expect serious people to be embarrassed when it is repeated. But this doesn't deter propagandists, they double, triple and quadruple down on it. This has little if anything to do with the "science" of climate change.

Martin said...

I have also observed the 97% scientists concensus argument exposed for the nonsense it is.

With respect to Prof McKitrick's credentials to speak of climate change, his work on exposing the infamous hockey stick graph was based on statistics, a field he is totally qualified to speak on. So much of the man-made global warming has been based on faulty, or manipulated data; one doesn't have to be a climate expert to comment on distorted research methodology.

Interesting that those who sniff that McKitrick is "only an economist", are wont to quote David Suzuki, a fruit fly geneticist, or Al Gore a politician. Neither of these two have anywhere near the credibility of Prof McKitrick on the subject; a point Suzuki made glaringly obvious in his Australian interviews. A pity McKitrick was allowed on CBC once in a while to contribute to the debate.

kevvyd said...

That's interesting. I think there are a few numbers running around here. The journal article I read is located here: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024. I'm not sure if I get access to the electronic copy of the paper through the scientific institute I work at or if you can link to it, too, but you can at least see the abstract. It shows that 97.1% of articles that took a stand on climate change concurred.

Another article, located here: www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.full.pdf+html~~</span></a></span><br/>Preliminary, determines that 97-98% of researchers agreed with the tenets of the IPCC findings using their citation records.

The report you linked to referred to a third report, from the American Geophysical Union, which interestingly enough came up with *very* similar results, although I would agree with you and the Forbes article author that it arguably not as rigorous as the citation searches.

kevvyd said...

To be perfectly honest, I had not read McKitrick's paper until you guys pointed it out. It makes for very interesting reading. I don't have a statistics background beyond the first-year class I took in my undergrad, so some of the details of Monte Carlo analysis blow right through me, but I think I get the gist of it. I just read his AGU paper and a couple of follow-up articles that were written by other authors in the same journal (GRL). My take-away is that Mann's "hockey stick" atmospheric CO2 graph is amplified by choices made by Mann et al, but taking those into consideration, the results aren't quite as dramatically different as McKitrick suggests.

When a topic is this controversial, it seems everyone has a dog in the race.

That being said, the atmospheric CO2 numbers being measured by NOAA are disturbing, and the measured warming trends are not good.