Andrew Montford & The 97%
By Paul Homewood
The GWPF has published a briefing note by Andrew Montford on John Cook’s 97% paper.
CONSENSUS? WHAT CONSENSUS?
Recent reports that 97% of published scientific papers support the so-called consensus on man-made global warming are based on a paper by John Cook et al.
Precisely what consensus is allegedly being supported in these papers cannot be discerned from the text of the paper.
An analysis of the methodology used by Cook et al. shows that the consensus referred to is trivial:
• that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas
•that human activities have warmed the planet to some unspecified extent.
Almost everybody involved in the climate debate, including the majority of sceptics, accepts these propositions, so little can be learned from the Cook et al. paper.
The extent to which the warming in the last two decades of the twentieth century was man-made and the likely extent of any future warming remain highly contentious scientific issues.
Cook et al. set out to demonstrate the existence of an overwhelming consensus on global warming. While their approach appears to owe more to public relations than the scientific method, there is little doubt that there is a scientific consensus, albeit not the one that the authors of the paper have led people to believe exists.
The consensus as described by Cook et al. is virtually meaningless and tells us nothing about the current state of scientific opinion beyond the trivial observation that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that human activities have warmed the planet to some unspecified extent.
The last word on the paper goes to Professor Mike Hulme, founder of the Tyndall Centre, the UK’s national climate research institute:
The [Cook et al.] article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country that the energy minister should cite it. It offers a similar depiction of the world into categories of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to that adopted in [an earlier study]: dividing publishing climate scientists into ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. It seems to me that these people are still living (or wishing to live) in the pre-2009 world of climate change discourse. Haven’t they noticed that public understanding of the climate issue has moved on?
The full briefing note can be seen here. Please bookmark.