Kerry's '97% Global Warming Consensus' is a Misquote of a Flawed Study

Kerry Lies Once Again

At his Boston College commencement speech, John Kerry warned about the perils of global warming, saying, "Two major recent reports, one from the UN and one from retired U.S. military leaders, warn us not just of the crippling consequences to come, but that some of them are already here. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists tell us this is urgent." Kerry omitted that the 97% number is wrong. The study actually says this about anthropogenic global warming (AGW):

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. 

So two-thirds of the abstracts the study analyzed had no position at all, and obviously were not crying urgency. So where did Kerry get his 97% figure from?

Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.

The 97% figure Kerry used actually came from the roughly one-third of the papers endorsing AGW, which amounts to the 32.6% of the total noted above. The study which arrived at the 97% of scientists consensus, "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature," was published by John Cook, et al, last May. Cook and his team examined 12,000+ abstracts of scientific papers. 

Cook published a list of the scientific papers he used. Upon reviewing a sample of the papers, journalists at Popular Technology reported the Cook and his team falsely classified papers by such prominent skeptics as Willie Soon, Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir Shaviv, Nils-Axel Morner and Alan Carlin as supporting the 97-percent consensus.

Cook and his colleagues, for example, classified a peer-reviewed paper by scientist Craig Idso as explicitly supporting the ‘consensus’ position on global warming “without minimizing” the asserted severity of global warming. When Popular Technology asked Idso whether this was an accurate characterization of his paper, Idso responded, “That is not an accurate representation of my paper. The papers examined how the rise in atmospheric CO2 could be inducing a phase advance in the spring portion of the atmosphere’s seasonal CO2 cycle. Other literature had previously claimed a measured advance was due to rising temperatures, but we showed that it was quite likely the rise in atmospheric CO2 itself was responsible for the lion’s share of the change. It would be incorrect to claim that our paper was an endorsement of CO2-induced global warming.”

Reporter for German magazine Der Speigel Axel Bojanowski also took a look at the Cook Study and found that 35% of the authors who took no position were left out of the final survey results altogether.

Bojanowsky pointed to another study, this one by the University of Mainz in Germany that reported,“Only 59% of the scientists said the ‘climate development of the last 50 years was mostly influenced by man’s activity. One quarter of those surveyed said that human and natural factors played an equal role.’”

There is no such thing as settled science. Science is about forming a hypothesis and proving it based on the evidence. When trying to prove hypotheses scientists are supposed to be dispassionate, but as revealed in the Climategate emails and many times since, global warming proponents have abandoned their quest for scientific truth and replaced it with a skewed advocacy which prevents the truth from being discovered. By suppressing research that disagrees with their theory, or by misquoting an already flawed Cook study, the climate change establishment is damaging the reputation and very nature of science, a search for the truth.