Skip to content

The Press Complaints Commission & The 97% Lie

June 6, 2013

By Paul Homewood



There has been plenty of coverage of John Cook’s shoddy paper, which deceitfully claims a 97% consensus on AGW. So, I will not bother to go round the houses again.

Even though it has been thoroughly deconstructed on several counts, the lie has already been publicised in the MSM, which, it has now been revealed, was the whole point of the exercise all along.

I have come across two separate, and unconnected instances this week already, one in the Telegraph, and the other in the Mail. Despite the two stories being unconnected to each other, and to Cook’s survey specifically, it is remarkable just how similar the wordings are:-


The Telegraph report in their article, “Ed Davey attacks papers who report ‘destructive’ climate sceptics”

One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.  (Paywalled)


And the Mail’s “Humans may not be responsible for global warming, says Tim Yeo” quotes

Mr Yeo’s scepticism puts him at odds with the scientific community. A recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree that human activities are causing the planet to warm.



Clearly this soundbite has been planted, and will continue to be wheeled out. I have therefore filed a complaint, against both papers, with the Press Complaints Commission in the UK, on the grounds that the statement is inaccurate. The PCC’s Editor’s Code of Practice states:-

1) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

My specific complaint is that, according to Cook’s own paper, 11944 papers were surveyed, and 32.6% endorsed AGW.

It would have been nice to have challenged the paper’s claims, in other ways, as being misleading. We know, for instance, that the vast majority of the papers judged as “endorsing AGW” did not do so explicitly, and indeed only 65 papers agreed that “ human activity is a dominant influence or has caused most of recent climate change (>50%).”

However, I know from experience that the PCC will not act against misleading statements such as these, as they are too subjective.

Nevertheless, if they judge that “97% of 12000” is inaccurate, which it most certainly is, we will have won a minor battle, and the newspapers will have to publish a correction. Hopefully, it may discourage similar misreporting in future.


In the meantime, can I do some crowdsourcing on this one, and ask that any Brits, seeing similar inaccurate reporting in future, also register complaints with the PCC.

It is very simple. Simply log on the link below, and click “Making a complaint”, and just repeat my complaint “according to Cook’s own paper, 11944 papers were surveyed, and 32.6% endorsed AGW”


John Cook’s paper is here.


There is also a good analysis of the paper at Marcel Crok’s site



Let’s nail the bastards!!

  1. June 6, 2013 7:11 pm

    Well done for this, but I regret that even if there are retractions. very few people will be aware of the fact.

    Furthermore, they will not prevent the repetition of the untruth ad infinitum, by politicians and campaigners who have not actually studied the paper themselves.

  2. June 6, 2013 7:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    June 7, 2013 12:56 pm

    Paul, I have similar battles with the Beeb illustrating ‘environmental’ articles with steam-spouting chimneys, which appear to be of dastardly smoke.

  4. June 8, 2013 12:59 pm

    Unfortunately the “97% of scientists” figure was repeated parrot fashion, on the BBC “Any Questions” programme on Radio 4 today, by Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru.

    Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth!


  1. These items caught my eye – 6 June 2013 | grumpydenier

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: