The 97 Percent Figure on Global Warming the Media Won't Tell You About

There’s a magic number the news media likes to cite whenever the United Nations releases a new report on Global Warming. The public is constantly told that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that human activity is responsible for dangerous levels of global warming. Therefore, the U.S., and other western nations, must dramatically reshape public policy with an eye toward reducing fossil fuels. But it doesn’t take a lot of investigation to take down that 97 percent figure and expose the gamesmanship and duplicity advanced under the cover of “science.”

Lawrence Solomon, executive director of Energy Probe and author of The Deniers, carefully explains how dishonest researchers cooked the books:

“The number stems from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois,” he wrote in a 2010 article. “The survey results must have deeply disappointed the researchers – in the end, they chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produces the 97 percent figure that pundits now tout.”

This rejoinder to the 97 percent figure concerning the so-called “scientific consensus” is not typically reported as it would complicate the political agenda attached to global warming alarmism. But there is a new 97 percent number concerning the latest U.N. report that goes unmentioned. John Droz, a physicist and mathematician, who heads up the Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (AWED), has just released an independent study that shows 97 percent of the computer models attached to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) overestimate the amount of carbon dioxide induced warming. Droz’s study probes into the draft version of the U.N.’s Fifth Assessment, which was released in September.

“How come we don’t see the media publicizing this 97 percent consensus?” he asks. “In light of these realities, for the IPCC to claim that they now have an even higher confidence in their conclusions, is simply political posturing to justify their existence. The bottom line is that there is an extraordinarily large amount of understanding of this issue that we simply do not have. To spend tens of trillions of dollars to ‘fix’ something we don't understand is insanity.”

There’s more. The final version of the Fifth Assessment should at least account for the prognostications that were made in the Fourth Assessment that have not materialized.

For starters, the global average surface temperature increase in the latter half of the 20th Century is only about half of what the U.N. foresaw. And as has been frequently discussed, there has not been any significant increase in surface temperatures since about 1998.

Believers in anthropogenic global warming usually respond to this development by claiming that while the surface climate has not become warmer in many years, the average temperature of the Earth’s deep oceans has increased during the same time-period.

Unfortunately for these claims, however, they tend to be based overwhelmingly upon comparisons of the recent and accurate ocean measurements from the international Argo project with unreliable historical data gathered in the past by navy ships from various countries.

Unlike the politicized scientists seeking to abuse its data, Argo has admitted that its data cannot be readily used for historic comparisons:

“The global Argo dataset is not yet long enough to observe global change signals. Seasonal and interannual variability dominate the present 7-year globally-averaged time series. […] Analyses of decadal changes presently focus on comparison of Argo to sparse and sometimes inaccurate historical data. Argo's greatest contributions to observing the global oceans are still in the future, but its global span is clearly transforming the capability to observe climate-related changes.”

It may well be that ocean temperature data could support the claims of global warming believers but at the present time, it is beyond the existing scientific data to consider that the case.

Since the final version of the Fifth Assessment will not be released until January, there is ample time to make the necessary adjustments to reflect neutral scientific research.

“If there are substantial changes in a conclusion in the AR5 relative to a confident conclusion in the AR4, then the confidence level should not increase and should probably drop, since the science clearly is not settled and is in a state of flux,” Judith Curry—Chairman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech and a long-time IPCC contributing author,” has said. “While there has been a reduction in either the magnitude of the change or in a confidence level in some of the supporting findings, these changes do not seem to have influenced the main conclusion on climate change attribution.”

That conclusion from the IPCC being that “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010.” – This is what the Fifth Assessment currently declares. That’s what needs to be taken down by honest members of the press.