|Ross by Josh.|
Not only is there no 97 per cent consensus among climate scientists; many misunderstand core issuesAs we head toward Paris COP21 in December, we can be sure that most of the delegates are among the misinformed. Ross writes:
One of the most powerful rhetorical weapons being deployed is the claim that 97 per cent of the world’s scientists agree what the problem is and what we have to do about it. In the face of such near-unanimity, it would be understandable if Prime Minister Harper and the Canadian government were simply to capitulate and throw Canada’s economy under the climate change bandwagon. But it would be a tragedy because the 97 per cent claim is a fabrication.This blog has many times exposed the falsity of the "97% Consensus" eg here, here and here.
Like so much else in the climate change debate, one needs to check the numbers. First of all, on what exactly are 97 per cent of experts supposed to agree? In 2013 President Obama sent out a tweet claiming 97 per cent of climate experts believe global warming is “real, man-made and dangerous.” As it turns out the survey he was referring to didn’t ask that question, so he was basically making it up. At a recent debate in New Orleans I heard climate activist Bill McKibben claim there was a consensus that greenhouse gases are “a grave danger.” But when challenged for the source of his claim, he promptly withdrew it.McKitrick says the IPCC concludes that more than half the post 1950s warming is due to humans although they do not survey their own contributors.
Two recent surveys shed more light on what atmospheric scientists actually think. Bear in mind that on a topic as complex as climate change, a survey is hardly a reliable guide to scientific truth, but if you want to know how many people agree with your view, a survey is the only way to find out.
In 2012 the American Meteorological Society (AMS) surveyed its 7,000 members, receiving 1,862 responses. Of those, only 52 per cent said they think global warming over the 20th century has happened and is mostly manmade (the IPCC position). The remaining 48 per cent either think it happened but natural causes explain at least half of it, or it didn’t happen, or they don’t know. Furthermore, 53 per cent agree that there is conflict among AMS members on the question.
So no sign of a 97 per cent consensus. Not only do about half reject the IPCC conclusion, more than half acknowledge that their profession is split on the issue.
The second recent survey:
The Netherlands Environmental Agency recently published a survey of international climate experts. 6550 questionnaires were sent out, and 1868 responses were received, a similar sample and response rate to the AMS survey. In this case the questions referred only to the post-1950 period. 66 per cent agreed with the IPCC that global warming has happened and humans are mostly responsible. The rest either don’t know or think human influence was not dominant. So again, no 97 per cent consensus behind the IPCC.
What can we take away from all this?
First, lots of people get called “climate experts” and contribute to the appearance of consensus, without necessarily being knowledgeable about core issues. A consensus among the misinformed is not worth much.
Second, it is obvious that the “97 per cent” mantra is untrue. The underlying issues are so complex it is ludicrous to expect unanimity. The near 50/50 split among AMS members on the role of greenhouse gases is a much more accurate picture of the situation. The phony claim of 97 per cent consensus is mere political rhetoric aimed at stifling debate and intimidating people into silence.