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Paris Climate Change Conference

97% of Climate Scientists Agree to Disagree

Climate Change negotiations began today in Paris, and with that comes endless claims that 97% of scientists agree on climate change. This figure comes from a 2013 study by Cook. It does seem to be true that a vast majority of scientists believe humans affect the CO2 levels of the earth, but those that fail to look at Cook’s actual data fail to see that many of those scientists differ from the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) claims this 97% figure is typically used to support. Many aren’t just simply saying IPCC models and statements are false, they are even famous for their opposition for Climate Change motivated policies.

Climate Skeptics/Deniers

Many scientists labeled as skeptics by their fans and deniers by their critics can be found as endorsers of Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW) in Cook’s work. AGW is simply the idea that mankind is contributing to warming, however not all scientists believe global warming will have significantly harmful effects, and some even claim it will have a net positive effect.

One such man is Craig Idso, Chairman of the Center for Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. Cook stated that Idso did not minimize global warming in his 1991 paper, Greenhouse Warming May Moderate British Storminess, Meteorology And Atmospheric, where Idso discusses evidence that England experiences significantly milder weather as the temperature rises. Idso has long been critical of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), even going so far as to release rival reports through the Heartland Institute, a non-profit that seems to raise millions of dollars from a wide range of individuals and industries outside of the energy sector along with minor donations from the usual biased supporters.

Another famous skeptic/denier is rocket scientist Willie Soon, who Cook also gave a high rating for endorsing climate change without minimizing it based on his 2009 piece, Centennial Variations Of The Global Monsoon Precipitation In The Last Millennium, where it was concluded that solar forcing had a greater input than the typically villainizeds Global Mean Temperature. Dr. Soon has long been criticized for accepting money from fossil fuel industry, so some believe his conclusions arise from a conflicted bias.

Another famous opponent to the IPCC is Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner of Stockholm University. Cook includes him as part of the consensus since he claims the scientist is taking no position in his 2004 paper, Estimating Future Sea Level Change From Past Records, Global and Planetery Change, Dr. Mörner explicitly declares the IPCC is incorrect and makes the statement that the evidence does not give any reason to believe there will be a significant sea level rise or increase flooding due to global warming. Mörner also faces many critics, since outside the Cook 97% consensus he is generally labeled as an AGW denier.

J. Scott Armstrong of the University of Pennsylvania also joined this consensus by writing his 2008 Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit, Cook listed him as part of the consensus claiming he had no position on AGW. In the paper, Armstrong discussed how many popular studies of polar bear populations are unscientific and should no longer be used for policy decisions.

MIT Atmospheric Physicist Richard Lindzen even managed to be counted as part of Cook’s consensus by writing a paper marked as rejecting AGW in 1993 labeled Absence Of Scientific Basis,Research & Exploration. The title seems to speak for itself. Lindzen is a frequent critic of policy attempting to avert the effects of AGW, telling CBS in an interview, “Global warming, climate change, all these things are just a dream come true for politicians. The opportunities for taxation, for policies, for control, for crony capitalism are just immense, you can see their eyes bulge.”

Popular Technology found even more scientists on the list that gave direct statements refuting that they were supporters of AGW including Dr. Nicola Scafetta, Dr. Nir Shaviv, Dr. Richard Tol, and Dr. Alan Carlin. It seems clear that the consensus is far from being in agreement on the typical climate change views promoted by the mainstream media.

Big Freeze

Not everyone is even looking for warming. A 1997 article by R.G. Johnson joined Cook’s 97% by writing, Ice age initiation by an ocean-atmospheric circulation change in the Labrador Sea. In this article, he is not just looking at historical ice growth, but the possibility that arctic ice will significantly increase in the next 100 years due to northern cooling.

Gary Shaffer of the Niels Bohr Institute joined the list of AGW supporters by publishing, Long time Management of Fossil Fuel Resources to Limit Global Wwarming and Avoid Ice Age Onsets, While he clearly agrees with the common concerns of CO2 gas warming the planet, he finds himself more concerned about the possibility of new ice ages in our future, so he suggests producing the right amount of CO2 growth to lengthen the inter-glacial period we are currently enjoying.

Global Cooling seems to have lost the prominence it had in the 70’s when many were concerned our ozone layer depletion could be cooling us into the next ice age. It is not hard to find a fairly equal number of scientists finding ice gain and ice losses in very specific locations. The ice gain is still attributed to our weakening Ozone layer, such as the recent publication this year by NASA Scientist, H. Jay Zwaller released a report showing that Antarctica may in fact be gaining more ice in than its losing when looking at the entire continent.

Anthropogenic Global Warming

It is surprisingly difficult to find scientists in Cook’s study that have a consistent idea of what we should expect in the future, and it is even harder to find those that support the assertion that over 50% of Global Warming is man made even though almost all seem to attribute some level of warming to humans. Many of those marked with the strongest support by Cook have already been listed in the skeptics/deniers section listed above, and Cook himself only claimed 64 of the 11,944 papers explicitly endorse over 50% of global warming comes from man made causes.

A very strong critic of climate change “alarmists”, David Legates, narrows those 64 papers down even further in his peer reviewed publication, Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change. In his recount of the papers he finds .3% endorsing the idea that humans cause a majority of global warming.

Cook’s data is of course not the whole story, and the source for most of the catastrophic predictions on climate change can be found in the IPCC Assessments. Their case for climate change is detailed with a great number of scientific citations, so the idea that the world may need to address our contributions to Global Warming comes from scientists as well. One should simply remember this matter is more complex than one person giving us a percentage of scientists who think one way or another. There is no shortcut. Only the scientists can tell us what is truly happening, and to learn what they are saying on this issue, you must actually read what they publish.