Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?

Here is another excellent video from Prager University — an organization doing its part to fight the information war. This is their intro to the video, and posted after it is a part of the transcript:

Is it true that 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real? Where does the 97% figure come from? And if it is true, do they agree on both the severity of and the solution to climate change? New York Times bestselling author Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, reveals the origins of the “97%” figure and explains how to think more clearly about climate change.

So what did the 97 percent actually say? It turns out, nothing remotely resembling catastrophic climate change. One of the main studies justifying 97 percent was done by John Cook, a climate communications fellow for the Global Change Institute in Australia. Here’s his own summary of his survey: “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97 percent [of papers surveyed] endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.”

“Main cause” means “over 50 percent. But the vast majority of papers don’t say that human beings are the main cause of recent warming. In fact, one analysis showed that less than 2 percent of papers actually said that.

How did Cook get to 97 percent, then? First, he added papers that explicitly said there was man-made warming but didn’t say how much. Then, he added papers that didn’t even say there was man-made warming, but he thought it was implied.

A scientific researcher has a sacred obligation to accurately report his findings. Cook and researchers like him have failed us—as have the politicians and media figures who have blindly repeated the 97 percent claim to support their anti-fossil fuel goals.

How can we protect ourselves against this kind of manipulation? Whenever someone tells you that scientists agree on something, ask two questions: “What exactly do they agree on? And, “How did they prove it?”