Cook’s 97% Scam Debunked
By Paul Homewood
Yesterday, we saw how easily debunked the original “97% of scientists agree” turned out to be.
There therefore had to be a renewed attempt by the warmist establishment to make the claim stick, so step forward John Cook with a much more sophisticated scam.
Jose Duarte, expert in Social Psychology, Scientific Validity, and Research Methods, has actually called the Cook paper “multiply fraudulent”, and, as far as I know, Cook has taken no action to challenge the claim. This, as much as anything else, shows just what a con trick the whole business was. How many scientists, after all, would accept being called fraudulent without taking action?
This was the Abstract:
We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors’ self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.
There were a number of criticisms raised against the Cook paper right from the start, such as the clear misclassification of many papers, the fact that the vast majority of papers were to do with mitigation or impact rather than causes of warming, and the subjective nature of the assessments, carried out as they were by SkS denizens.
But there is one issue of absolutely fundamental importance, which destroys any credibility the paper may have had.
In Cook’s survey, each paper was classified into one of the seven above categories. On the SkS website, there is a search facility to identify which papers drop into which category.
As can be seen on the above example for Endorsement Level 1, only 65 papers are identified as “quantifying AGW as 50%+”. Excluding the “No Positions”, there are 4011 papers classified in total, so we find that the number of papers agreeing that “humans are the primary cause of recent global warming” is only a tiny 1.6%, far from the 97% claimed.
As was pointed out by Lawrence Solomon, regarding the earlier 97% exercise, very few scientists would disagree that humans have some effect on climate, even if only urban heating or deforestation.
The consensus, which Cook attempts to propagate, goes, as we all know, much further. If there are any doubts about this, Cook himself clarifies matters in his paper’s introduction:
We examined a large sample of the scientific literature on global CC, published over a 21 year period, in order to determine the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).
And Cook’s co-author, Mark Richardson of the University of Reading, takes the lie one step further in this interview with the Institute of Physics:
"We want our scientists to answer questions for us, and there are lots of exciting questions in climate science. One of them is: are we causing global warming? We found over 4000 studies written by 10 000 scientists that stated a position on this, and 97 per cent said that recent warming is mostly man made.”
It is clear that. from the very start, Cook and his colleagues were intent upon providing an eye-catching “consensus” which they could sell to the media, and which would be picked up by politicians and others in the establishment, regardless of what the evidence actually said.
The reality is starkly different. After searching through 12000 scientific papers, spread over 20 years, all they could only come up with was 65 which supported the supposed consensus.
NOTE – This post is saved in the “97% Scam” tag on the bar at the top, for ease of reference in future.