Most people have heard the claim there’s a 97% consensus on global warming. Most people probably couldn’t tell you what that consensus is. Is the consensus merely that global warming is real? If so, who cares?
Or is it what we’re told Barack Obama tweeted? John Cook, propietor of the website Skeptical Science, likes to talk about how happy he was when he found out, “President Obama tweeted our research to 31-million followers”? The tweet was:
But it wasn’t actually from Obama. It was just from a political advocacy group he allows to use his name. Also, if we click on the link the tweet provides, we find the study being referred to never said anything about global warming being dangerous.
If the consensus is so important Barack Obama should be talking about it, surely it should have a clear definition. Tom Curtis, contributor of Skeptical Science, claims it does. When asked about that study:
Please explain the conclusion of Cook et al. Does the paper claim that 97% of climate science papers endorse the assertion that >50% of recent warming has been caused by humans?
It is only possible to pretend that it does not by assuming that the theory of AGW does not endorse that claim
According to Curtis, “the theory of AGW” asserts “>50% of recent warming has been caused by humans.” According to him, there was no doubt that was the argument the study was examining a consensus about. There wasn’t even doubt when scientists were asked about their views, says Curtis:
I should add to that that the idea that the respondents to the author survey were confused on what was being asked assumes them to be complete idiots who do not know what is at stake in surveys like this.
In other words, the only way people could be confused about what the consensus is is if they were “complete idiots. With that in mind, let’s remember the image I posted yesterday. The image shows the ratings done by the people participating in the study:
They seem to disagree quite a bit, and that’s after they went through an entire stage of the study where they talked to one another about their disagreements. If only idiots wouldn’t know what was being asked, why was there so much disagreement? Were the people doing the study idiots?
And if there was so much disagreement between the people performing the study, what can we expect amongst everyone else? Don’t we have to assume people not actively involved in the study would understand it less than those involved? If so, they must be even dumber.
5-9-2014 Edit: Replaced image with a properly scaled version.