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Cook Scrapes The Barrel To Get His 97%

July 29, 2013

By Paul Homewood


According to John Cook, 97% of papers “expressing a position on AGW” endorse the consensus “that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).”

Much attention has been drawn to how papers have been classified, with many papers certainly not making the sort of endorsements claimed. One issue, however, seems to have escaped notice.


In total, 11944 papers were surveyed, of which 4014 actually express a position on AGW. These were split by Cook into 6 research categories.




According to Cook, 3896 papers endorsed the consensus, i.e 97% of 4014. But let’s take a closer look at this figure. Cook himself conveniently provides us with a tool, which helps us to see which papers are classified under which research category, as below.





From this we can analyse how many endorsements fall under each research category.


Category Number of Papers Percentage
Impacts 1235 32
Mitigation 1912 49
Methods 581 15
Paleo 169 4
Total 3897 100

                       Analysis of Papers endorsing Consensus


So it can be seen that the vast majority fall into the Impacts and Mitigation categories. Maybe their authors do agree with the consensus, but that is not really the point. To put it simply, are they qualified to make that judgement? Indeed, are they any more qualified than you or me?

Moreover, they do not present any evidence that would confirm Cook’s consensus.

Let’s take a closer look at the sort of papers in these categories.


1) Impacts

Simply, these papers look at the impact of global warming, or potential impact of any future warming. A typical example is the one below, (the first on the list, so not cherry picked – see above!)


Anticipated public health consequences of global climate change.

J Longstreth – 1991



Human activities are placing enormous pressures on the biosphere. The introduction of new chemicals and the increasing ambient levels of existing chemicals have resulted in atmospheric degradation. This paper reviews some of the adverse effects of stratospheric ozone depletion and global warming. Because the atmospheric effects of ozone depletion are fairly well characterized, quantitative risk estimates have been developed. However, because the atmospheric effects of global warming are less understood, public health problems that could be intensified by climate change are assessed qualitatively. The interactive effects of these two phenomena are also discussed.


I am not quite sure how Cook and his minions have managed to interpret that this paper endorses the consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW. But leaving that aside, is the author qualified to make such a judgement? He is an environmental health expert, not a climate scientist.


The list goes on, with papers such as:-

Boreal Forest Sensitivity To Global Warming – Implications For Forest Management In Western Interior Canada”

“Possible impacts of climatic warming scenarios on water resources in the Saskatchewan River Sub-basin, Canada”

“Potential Effects Of Global Warming On Whitefish In Lake Constance, Germany”

The authors of the vast majority of these papers are neither qualified to comment on the causes of past global warming, or how much warming might occur in future. To claim otherwise is totally misleading.


2) Mitigation

It probably gets even worse with this category, which concerns itself with research into reducing CO2 emissions. For instance, engineers looking into Carbon Capture technology are not qualified to say what is causing global warming. Furthermore, having been given grants for their research, they are hardly likely to turn around and say AGW is a non-existent problem.

A typical paper is this one below, researching biofuels.


Fuel Ethanol from Cellulosic Biomass

Lynd et al



Ethanol produced from cellulosic biomass is examined as a large-scale transportation fuel. Desirable features include ethanol’s fuel properties as well as benefits with respect to urban air quality, global climate change, balance of trade, and energy security. Energy balance, feedstock supply, and environmental impact considerations are not seen as significant barriers to the widespread use of fuel ethanol derived from cellulosic biomass. Conversion economics is the key obstacle to be overcome. In light of past progress and future prospects for research-driven improvements, a cost-competitive process appears possible in a decade


No doubt, a very worthy paper, but the authors are experts on fuel technology, not climate.


Even papers like this one get included!


Buying greenhouse insurance


There have been numerous proposals for immediate cutbacks in CO2 emissions. Proponents argue that sizable reductions are necessary as a hedge against unacceptably rapid changes in climate. This paper provides a decision tree analysis of the problem. We examine how the optimal hedging strategy might vary with: a) the damage potential associated with the continued buildup of greenhouse gases; b) the accuracy and timing of climate research; and, c) the prospects for new supply and conservation technologies. The analysis is from the perspective of a single country, the USA. Optimal hedging strategies need to be explored on a region-by-region basis.




 Take out the “Impacts” and “Mitigation” categories, and you are left with only 750 endorsements for methods and paleo. And, at a quick glance, many of these are not climate science papers either – for instance the paper below,(again not cherry picked as it is second on the list), is about electric power generations and written by an electrical engineer.


Global warming and electric power generation: What is the connection?

Sadrul Ula



The greenhouse effect is explained, followed by a discussion of the US fossil fuel use and its contribution of greenhouse gases. US electric utilities’ share of CO2 and other emissions is quantified, including the effects of using various fuels. The possible recovery and disposal of CO2 from power-plant flue gases is also discussed. The information presented should help prepare electric utilities to address future public concerns and the related regulatory pressures regarding the utility’s role in carbon-dioxide proliferation and global warming


So we are left with, at the most, about 700 papers written over 20 years that endorse AGW. And, as we have already seen, many of these do not back up Cook’s assertion that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW.

Of course, the Cook survey was never intended to be a serious piece of work, but simply a PR stunt. It was designed for headlines, such as these from Reuters.




Or these from the Australian





Somehow, the truth does not have quite the same ring to it.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    July 29, 2013 6:17 pm

    J Longstreth – 1991 – ABSTRACT

    “However, because the atmospheric effects of global warming are less understood, public health problems that could be intensified by climate change are assessed qualitatively.”

    Although we admit we “don’t know the effects”, we’re going to presume ‘problems’ rather than ‘benefits’. Yeah.

    I trust s/he has included reductions in death rates resulting from increased food production thanks to the increase in plant food in the atmosphere.

  2. darrylb permalink
    July 30, 2013 2:55 am

    Thanks Paul. I have looked at Cook et al from different perspectives, but not from this one.
    I am sure I will be back here again

  3. July 30, 2013 5:27 am

    One of Cook’s favourite conclusions — the increasing consensus over time — hangs entirely on mitigation and impact papers. See

  4. July 30, 2013 9:11 am

    Exposing people like Cook is unfair, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but I like it.

  5. Myrrh permalink
    July 30, 2013 10:41 am

    All this to hide the real consensus agreed by CAGWs and AGWs alike – their claim that there is such a thing as “The Greenhouse Effect”, when not one of them, not one, can show how it is physically possible given the real properties of matter and energy.

    What Greenhouse Effect?

    From real physics:

    Temperature of Earth with voluminous real gas atmosphere with mass therefore weight under gravity, mainly condensable nitrogen and oxygen: 15°C

    Temperature of Earth without atmosphere: -18°C

    Compare with the Moon without atmosphere: -23°C

    Temperature of the Earth with real gas atmosphere of mainly condensable nitrogen and oxygen, but, without water, think deserts: 67°C

    Which is the real “thermal blanket” around the Earth?

    Where is the physical process of the Greenhouse Effect claim that “greenhouse gases warm the Earth 33°C from the -18°C it would be without them?

    At best this is mass delusion, at worst, this is “scientists” without even an elementary grasp of the physical properties and processes of matter and energy:

    who cannot tell the difference between real gases and the fictional ideal;

    who have not noticed the whole of the Water Cycle is missing from their models;

    who have not noticed they have no rain in their Carbon Cycle;

    who have zilch capacity for sense of scale and cannot tell the difference between their claimed trace gas carbon dioxide which is practically 100% hole in the atmosphere “thermal blanket” and the real gas air nitrogen and oxygen with mass therefore weight under gravity which weighs down on us around 14lbs per square inch, a ton on our shoulders;

    who think our Sun is a cold star of 6000°C, which is around the temp of the Earth’s innards;

    who think our real millions of degree hot Star the Sun therefore radiates insignificant amounts of longwave infrared heat, which they have, it has to be said, idiotically calculated by some ‘planckian’ method based on the thin 300 mile wide visible light atmosphere around our millions of degree hot Sun;

    or, who claim there is some “invisible barrier like the glass of a greenhouse at TOA preventing direct thermal infrared from the Sun entering”, unknown to real physics;

    who have not noticed the Solar Constant, which is the measurement of how much direct longwave infared heat energy from the Sun arrives at the surface by the amount it heats matter at the surface, has been moved in their GHE energy budget to TOA and misattributed to visible light from the Sun;

    who claim it is visible light from the Sun which heats matter, which is a physically impossibility, etc., etc.,

    Do the rest of us in the world who rely on you CAGW/AGWs for accuracy, as you claim to be scientists, a favour – stop your posturing. You have no knowledge of physics basics.

    The Greenhouse Effect is an Illusion, it is not physically possible, it does not exist, it is hoax to promote AGW.

    It is the biggest science fraud to date and the longer you continue to promote it the longer the fraud will continue to the detriment of real science, and real scientists.

    There is no physical process to get the “33°C warming by greenhouse gases”, its an illusion created by the science fraud of misappropriating the minus 18°C and applying it where it does not belong..

    • Dr Gregg Carse, PhD Theoretical Physics permalink
      July 30, 2013 2:36 pm

      Well said….. very few people mention that the so-called Greenhouse effect DOES NOT EXIST, It has been taught for years at most schools ….. and it is a totally FALSE notion in Thermodynamics. All of the Trenberth et al diagrams violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. They are HOPELESS as “scientists”. They have NO REAL knowledge to contribute. Basically pseudo-scientists on the Gov tit taking money from even more stupid politicians who can be talked into anything.

      • Myrrh permalink
        August 1, 2013 10:32 am

        Thank you. Another problem with the 2nd Law arguments is that some have changed the 2nd law to include the word “net”.. Though they can show no mechanism for their ‘photons of energy’ deciding to become net flow from hotter to colder.

        Trenberth’s comic cartoon GHE energy budget is where he should look for his missing heat – the direct heat radiation from the Sun denied access to the surface in order to attribute it to “backradiation by greenhouse gases from the atmosphere under TOA”.

        He is in the enviable position of solving all the world’s energy problems, his energy in at the surface produces an extraordinary amount of heat out – I do hope this can be engineered into my central heating system.

        I am still waiting for the production of the carbon dioxide thermal blanket for my attic insulation.

  6. Don Monfort permalink
    July 30, 2013 4:53 pm

    I would be interested in your comments on this comment I posted on the nottinghamblog re. Dana’s bullshit post:

    Don Monfort July 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    One more point:

    “(4a) No position – Does not address or mention the cause of global warming;

    (4b) Uncertain – Expresses position that human’s role on recent global warming is uncertain/undefined;”

    They categorized the papers that fell into (4b) as “No AGW position or undecided”. And those papers, which may have been in the thousands, were not counted in their calculation of the consensus. Clearly “uncertain/undecided” is a position on AGW. That is clearly stated in their description of (4b). How many of the 8000+ papers in category 4, were rated as (4b)? We will very likely never know cause they ain’t releasing their data.

    • Don Monfort permalink
      July 30, 2013 5:56 pm

      I just looked at Cook et al again and see that I made an error. I take that back. I have just noticed that they claim 40 papers that were rated “uncertain”. Not a significant number.

      • October 29, 2014 4:51 pm

        Perhaps you were too hasty here. Cook says they got the number 40 by re-examining a random sample of 1,000 of the papers in group 4. That’s about 1 in 8 of those papers. So, did they extrapolate to get 40, or did they not extrapolate to get 40?

        That is, was the actual count 5 and did they multiply by 8 to get 40, or was the actual count 40 and they should have multiplied by 8 to get 320?

        And, the real question, is “re-examining” a random sample of 1 out of 8 papers a legitimate means of declaring that a certain number of papers in the group should be reclassified?

  7. Don Monfort permalink
    July 30, 2013 5:00 pm

    Dana also willfully misrepresented data from Cook et al:

    Don Monfort July 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Dana said:”Our survey also included categories for papers that quantified the human contribution to global warming. In the author self-ratings phase of our study, 237 papers fell into these categories. 96 percent of these said that humans are the primary cause of the observed global warming since 1950. The consensus on human-caused global warming is robust.”

    It has been repeatedly pointed out to dana that this is a misrepresentation of the data reported in Cook et al. Table 5 clearly states that 39 authors’ self-ratings reject AGW. Dana has stated elsewhere that there were 228 author self ratings that endorsed the notion that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming. Somewhere along the line dana has apparently made up the number of 9 AGW rejections, thus he claims 96%. Now that he has been called out on this, one would think that if he were honest he would correct his error. i conclude that he is not honest.

    • Brandon Shollenberger permalink
      July 31, 2013 10:29 am

      Don Monfort, your criticism here is baseless. You’re conflating two different things. 228 is the number of papers which were rated as category 1. Nine is the number rated as category 7. Table Five shows the numbers of papers rated as 1-3, 4 and 5-7.

      There were 1342 papers in categories 1-3, 228 of which were in category 1.
      There were 39 papers in categories 5-7, 9 of which were in category 7.

      On this issue, Dana Nuccitelli is completely right. The only person who has made anything up is you.

  8. Myrrh permalink
    August 1, 2013 5:26 pm

    Trenberth’s missing heat is hidden in his comic cartoon Greenhouse Effect energy budget – several things at play here.

    Firstly, AGWScienceFiction has taken out the direct radiant heat from the Sun, which is the Sun’s thermal energy transferred by radiation, longwave infrared aka thermal infrared, and given this to “shortwave in at TOA”, mainly visible light, (a bit of uv and near infrared either side, infrared 1% of the total).

    Visible light from the Sun interacts with matter on the electronic transition level, not on the molecular vibrational level, it cannot heat matter.

    Traditional up to date physics has known since Herschel’s time that the great heat energy we receive from the Sun, which we feel as heat and which is physically capable of heating up matter on the whole molecular vibrational level, and has since divided that invisible infrared into thermal and non-thermal. Shortwave infrared is not thermal, it is not heat energy, it is not hot, we cannot feel it at all. Ditto visible and uv in “shortwave in”.

    The AGW Greenhouse Effect has no heat at all from the Sun.

    They give two reasons why “no longwave infrared heat from the Sun reaches the surface”.

    The original, which I have been told is the CAGW view, that there is “an invisible barrier at TOA like the glass of a greenhouse which prevents longwave infrared from from the Sun entering. This “invisible barrier at TOA” is unknown to traditional physics.

    The AGW version is that the Sun radiates “insignificant longwave infrared and insignificant of insignificant reaches us”.

    They have clearly been so brainwashed by the impossible physics of the meme “visible light from the Sun is the heat we feel and heats the Earth’s surface”, that they have no idea they have taken out all the direct heat from the Sun..

    This second version is even more absurd than their classic greenhouse barrier, they have calculated the Sun’s temperature by some weird planckian manipulation to be 6000°C on the thin, 300 mile wide atmosphere of visible light around the Sun, from which they say they get their heat. They do not have the physics nous to see just how absurd that is and not even common sense to see they are claiming our millions of degree hot Sun is a cold star..

    AGWSF has put this fictional fisics in place for one reason only, so they can use the real world measurements of downwelling direct from the Sun longwave infrared heat and attribute it to their “backradiation by greenhouse gases from the atmosphere under TOA”.

    Secondly, they have taken the Solar Constant which is in real world physics is calculated on the amount the Sun’s thermal energy heats the surface, and given it to their “shortwave in at TOA” .

    So we have as in Trenberth’s cartoon, the amount of shortwave finally being absorbed by the surface and thereby claimed to be heating it, producing upwelling heat from the surface three times more than is absorbed.


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