Cook Scrapes The Barrel To Get His 97%
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|
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.
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.
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?
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.