Is this the muddy reality behind the “97.4% of climate scientists” meme?
On 4 February, 2017 the Daily Mail published an article entitled: “World Leaders Duped by Manipulated Global Warming Data”.
“… The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.
A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.
The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.
Dr Bates accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, who was until last year director of the NOAA section that produces climate data – the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) – of ‘insisting on decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation… in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy’.”
Eight years ago, the “Climategate” scandal enjoyed some brief exposure. A large cache of emails had been discovered (possibly hacked into) at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.
The mails revealed that in 1997, in the run-up to the Kyoto Climate Change Conference, a similar manipulation of data had taken place relating to the 1995 global climate report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The original report contained statements from scientists to the effect that there was no risk of a CO2-caused climate catastrophe.
On the Jesse Ventura talk-show of 19.12.2009, Dr. Ben Santer, lead author of the IPCC reports, admitted that he had deleted from Chapter 8 of the 1995 report those sections which had explicitly denied the claim of human-caused climate change. On the show he was confronted by Lord Monckton (a leading so-called ‘climate denier’) about the changes he had made.
Monckton: “After scientists had submitted their finished draft, Santer came and rewrote parts of it – specifically where, in five different places, it had been explicitly stated that there is no provable human effect on global temperature. I have seen a copy – Santer went through the draft, deleted the relevant parts and wrote a new summary … which remained as the official conclusion”.
Santer: “Lord Monckton has pointed to cuts in this chapter … and there were cuts. In order to preserve harmony with the other chapters, we dropped the final summary”.
Because the original 1995 report had already been signed by more than 100 scientists, Santer had to quickly find new signatories for the amended (falsified) report. Santer was just then in a conference in Kassel, Germany and he had no chance of quickly finding another 100 scientists to sign the amended report. However, at that time Kassel University was the home of the Center for Environmental Systems Research. Its head, Professor Joseph Alcamo was responsible for looking after climate affairs in Germany on behalf of the UN, UNEP and the IPCC. On 9 October 1997, Prof. Alcamo sent an email to his assistants, who were waiting in Kyoto, telling him to secure the required new signatures for the falsified report. The email was discovered in November 2009 among thousands of other emails at the CRU Institute at the University of East Anglia. The key parts of the email are reproduced below:
“I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story.
If the report comes out only a few days before Kyoto I’m afraid that the delegates we want to influence won’t have any time to consider it. We should give them a couple of weeks to take note of it.”
Simultaneously, Greenpeace activists were also working to get signatures on a document of their own to influence the media, using a tried-and-tested technique for signature gathering: Don’t read the fine print — just sign! To showcase their campaign, Greenpeace was organizing a media event ahead of the Kyoto meeting to display the document signed by concerned “scientists.”
“If Greenpeace is having an event the week before, we should have it a week before them so that they and other NGOs can further spread the word about the Statement. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so bad to release the Statement in the same week, but on a different day. The media might enjoy hearing the message from two very different directions”.
These two high-profile cases should surely raise some doubts about the truth of what has frequently been hyped as the ‘greatest threat humanity faces’ – the threat of runaway global warming. Are we dealing merely with a few minor ‘touch-ups’ to official reports and the views of a small minority of dissenting scientists – or is the whole story of global warming/climate change an enormous scam?
We are told ad nauseam that global warming is “settled science”; that there is an overwhelming consensus among scientists as to the reality of human-caused global warming. Figures such as “98% of scientists”, even 99.5% according to ex-president Obama, are routinely trotted out. Anyone who questions this “truth” is immediately vilified as a dangerous “climate denier” – one of the many derogatory accusations hurled at Donald Trump.
But President Trump was not always a ‘climate denier’. In December 2009, Trump and three of his children signed a letter to President Barack Obama (the letter was also signed by dozens of business leaders and was published as an ad in the New York Times), calling for a global climate deal:
“We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet”. [Emphasis added].
The day after announcing his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show (17 June, 2015), where he said that he is “not a believer in man-made” warming, adding:
When I hear Obama saying that climate change is the No. 1 problem, it is just madness”.
And in early December of that year he criticised the Paris climate summit, saying:
While the world is in turmoil and falling apart in so many different ways … our president is worried about global warming. What a ridiculous situation”.
(At the conference, President Obama urged world leaders to agree to an ambitious deal to combat global warming).
During a campaign speech at the end of December Trump said:
So Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and the – a lot of it’s a hoax, it’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, ok?”
In January 2016, after Bernie Sanders had criticised Trump for his earlier suggestion that global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese, Trump expands on the idea that ‘climate change’ is a “money-making industry”:
I think that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money …”.
And in September, some six or so weeks before the presidential election, but at a time when the contenders are already choosing their “transition teams”, word is leaked that Trump has chosen Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to head the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ebell had previously accused climate scientists of “manipulating and falsifying the data”.
On the same day, Trump’s campaign manager tells The Huffington Post that Trump “believes [climate change] is naturally occurring and is not all man-made”.
What is the truth?
One of the most quoted percentages of scientists who support the IPCC’s claims is 97.4% – a remarkably precise figure.
We have to ask: 97.4% of what?
It cannot be 97.4% of all the scientists in the world – how could all of them have been canvassed? Perhaps 97.4% of ‘climate scientists’? But there are relatively few of these. Today’s “climate scientists” are primarily biologists and geologists and mathematicians and physicists who happen to have brought their varied scientific training to bear on the issues of weather and climate.
A figure that is not so often quoted (almost never, in fact – suggesting a deliberate suppression of unwelcome data) is that of the 31,487 scientists (more than 9,000 of them with a Ph.D.) who have signed the following petition letter to the US Congress:
“We urge the US government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar proposals.
The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of CO2, methane, or other greenhouse gases, is causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and/or the disruption of earth’s climate.
Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric CO2 produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the earth”. [Emphasis added]
The signatories support the Global Warming Petition Project. The website explains that:
The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists.”
It should be evident that 31,487 Americans with university degrees in science – including 9,029 PhDs – are not “a few.” These scientists are convinced that the human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity and that government action on the basis of this hypothesis would unnecessarily and counterproductively damage both human prosperity and the natural environment of the Earth.
To the 31,487 signatories of the Global Warming Petition Project we must add the 4000+ scientists (including 72 Nobel Prize winners) who have signed the “Heidelberg Appeal”: an appeal (issued to coincide with the opening of the UN-sponsored Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992) against “an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress, and impedes economic and social development” and “against decisions which are supported by pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data”. 
Another document urging caution was circulated among reputable scientists in the wake of the Kyoto Climate Conference. This document is known as the Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change. The document expressly states the following:
“As the debate unfolds, it has become increasingly clear that — contrary to the conventional wisdom — there does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide. In fact, most climate specialists now agree that actual observations from both weather satellites and balloon-borne radiosondes (i.e. weather balloons) show no current warming whatsoever — in direct contradiction to computer model results.” [emphasis added].
Among the signatories of this declaration are scientists from NASA, the Max Planck Institute, one of the former Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, and many members of the American Meteorological Society. These people are not lightweights in the field of science.
Clearly the so-called “consensus of scientists” so often referred to is not a consensus at all. But the many voices of dissenting scientists have been drowned out – at least until recently – by the constant repetition by politicians and the media of the ‘human-caused global warming’ myth, and by biased sources such as Wikipedia, which uses the “climate denier” slur to attack anyone who challenges the official myth.
If the 97.4% figure were correct, one could reasonably assume that the 31,487 scientists who have signed the petition must represent a large part of the 2.6% of scientists who, according to the 97.4% claim, oppose the consensus view. However, that immediately reveals a problem with the calculation. If 31,487 is 2.6% of the grand total of scientists who must be assumed to have expressed an opinion on the matter … then that grand total is in the order of 1,180,000 scientists.
Did someone really canvass nearly 1.2 million scientists worldwide? There is no evidence of that. It is, however, known that in 2009 a paper by Professor Peter Doran and graduate student Maggie Kendall Zimmermann of the University of Illinois in Chicago was published based on a survey Zimmermann had sent to 10,257 earth scientists, with two questions. Answering the questions was expected to take no more than two minutes:
- “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”
- “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”
[Note that the second question already presumes what was left open in the first question i.e. change. Note also that the second question is too vague to be scientific …. what does “a significant contributing factor” mean? Is a 1% or 2% contribution “significant”?].
3,146 of the scientists replied (a 30.7% response rate). Of those, 82% answered “yes” to question 2.
Only 77 of the scientists polled identified themselves as “climate scientists”. The student singled out the 75 of them who agreed that human activity was “a significant contributing factor” in changing global temperatures.
Coincidentally, 75 is precisely 97.4% of 77. But 75 out of the original 10,257 is a risible 0.73%!
As might be expected (for example, from its track record of routinely describing any challenge to suspect modern dogmas as “conspiracy theories”), Wikipedia reveals its bias in favour of the establishment’s “global warming” myth by claiming that the Doran and Zimmermann paper shows that “active climate researchers almost unanimously agree that humans have had a significant impact on the Earth’s climate” – when the original wording, as noted above, was that human activity was merely “a significant contributing factor”. Predictably, the article fails to mention the selection process involved – or the vastly higher number of dissenting scientists who signed the petition.
In a 2013 paper published by the Institute of Physic’s IOPScience and cited by NASA, University of Queensland climate communication fellow John Cook also stated that 97 percent of scientists who took a position on global warming agreed that humans were the primary cause. According to Cook and his co-authors:
Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW [anthropogenic global warming], 97.1% endorsed the consensus that humans are causing global warming”.
However, a peer review of Cook’s paper by David Legates (a former state climatologist and professor at the University of Delaware), published in the April 2015 issue of Science and Education, debunked the 97 percent consensus figure. Legates pointed out that only 41 of the 11,944 academic papers Cook examined in his meta-analysis (0.3%) explicitly stated that most of the global warming since 1950 was caused by human activity:
It is astonishing that any journal could have published a paper claiming a 97% climate consensus when in the authors’ own analysis the true consensus was well below 1%”.
Cook’s paper was also criticized by other scientists for what they said was a number of methodological errors. In a book published by the Heartland Institute and entitled Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming, its three authors stated:
Probably the most widely repeated claim in the debate over global warming is that “97% of scientists agree” that climate change is man-made and dangerous. This claim is not only false, but its presence in the debate is an insult to science.”
Despite the general media support for the IPCC’s claims, there have been notable exceptions – as shown by the Mail on Sunday quote with which I began. More than six years ago, on 13 October, 2012, the same paper published another surprising article with the headline: “Global warming stopped 16 years ago [i.e. around 1996] reveals Met Office report quietly released
“… The figures reveal that from the beginning of 1997 … there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures … This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years. […] The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported.”
The article included a graph (see below) which charts the fluctuations in average global temperature between 1997 and 2012. There are peaks and troughs, but the significant finding is that the average global temperature in 2012 (just half a degree above the world average of 14C) was exactly the same as in 1997. That pattern has continued to the present, with warmer and colder years, but no average increase.
Graph provided by the Daily Mail in 2012
Even more surprisingly, on 11 December, 2016, another British newspaper – the Sunday Express – published another remarkable article with the startling headline: “World on BRINK of MINI ICE AGE: Fears sparked as solar activity reaches new low. SOLAR ACTIVITY has reached its lowest point since 2011, prompting fears the Sun has reached its solar minimum early.”
The writer explains:
“If the Sun has reached its solar minimum early, it could mean we could be in for a prolonged cold period. Images captured by NASA between November 14 and 18 shows that there are barely any sunspots. NASA says that solar activity has dwindled at a much faster rate than expected following a peak in 2014. The Sun follows cycles of roughly 11 years where it reaches the solar maximum and then the solar minimum.”
2014 was a year with record high temperatures. It was touted by the ‘climate change’ lobby as proof of man-made global warming. The Express article may well have puzzled many of its readers since it would have been the first time for many or most of them that global temperature had being linked to sunspot activity and sun cycles. But this was not a new suggestion. In 2002, an issue of the magazine Science included the editors’ “prognostications for next year’s hot research topics. Such as:
What is happening to the world’s store of ice?
What exactly is the sun-climate connection, now that “researchers are grudgingly taking the sun seriously as a factor in climate change” and in “triggering droughts and cold snaps.”
They could have added a whole bunch more, such as: Why is the atmosphere not warming appreciably in contrast to all model predictions? Why the disparity between temperature trends of the atmosphere and surface? What’s happening to CO2?”
Piers Corbyn is the older brother of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party. He runs a very successful long-range weather forecasting business which has consistently proven to be more accurate than the ‘official’ meteorological offices such as the UK’s Met Office. Corbyn based his predictions on solar cycles and sunspot activity. He has been challenging the ‘global warming’ swindle since at least 2008. In September of that year he posted an “initial response” to the BBC’s “Climate Wars” programme, in which he stated:
“… This ‘Climate Wars’ production is a shameful and desperate effort from the BBC’s ‘green religion department’ to shore up the failing theory of CO2-driven Global Warming and Climate Change….”
“… The piece – and the Global Warmers camp in general – while pretending to be objective, skilfully avoid applying sound science and provide no answers to the mounting evidence which refutes the crumbling Global Warming theory. It puts lipstick on scientific fraud – but it remains fraud”.
The website’s ‘mission statement’ includes the following:
“WeatherAction supports True-Green-Policies to defend biodiversity and wildlife and reduce chemical and particulate pollution, and points out that CO2 is not a pollutant, but the ‘Gas of Life’ (plant food).
WeatherAction defends evidence-based science and policy-making. WeatherAction completely supports campaigns for geo-ethical accountability and CLEXIT (Exit from UN Climate Change Deals) and is against data fraud and the political manipulation of data and the so-called ‘scientific’ claims now dominating climate and environmental sciences. Evidence shows that man-made climate change does not exist and the arguments for it are not based on science, but on data fraud and a conspiracy theory of nature.”
If Corbyn and the many thousands of scientists now speaking out about the ‘climate change’ fraud are correct, how and why did a situation come about in which the world was told that it faced an imminent catastrophe if CO2 emissions were not drastically cut?
How many trillions of dollars, pounds, euros etc. have been spent promoting the urgent need to “reduce our carbon footprint”. And why would scientists and politicians lie on such a scale?
The origins of “the great climate fraud” will be examined in a further installment.
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