There is a common claim that 97% of climate scientists agree that the main cause of Global Warming is mankind. David Friedman quotes one such study that repeats the claim:
Bedford and Cook (2013) contains the following sentence: “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.”
The problem with this is that the claim is completely bogus. The 97% represents the number of scientific papers that give an opinion on the issue and then think that humans contribute. Of course, that “97%” would then include Climate Change skeptics! In reality, the accurate number would be 1.6% for the percent that “endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause”:
Only Level 1 corresponds to “the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.” (emphasis mine) Hence when John Cook attributed that view to 97% on the basis of his Cook et. al. (2013) he was misrepresenting 1.6% as 97%. Adding up his categories 5-7, the levels of rejecting of AGW, we find that more papers explicitly or implicitly rejected the claim that human action was responsible for half or more of warming than accepted it. According to Cook’s own data.
Friedman gives pretty good evidence that Cook is dishonest. Cook willfully misrepresents his own findings:
The closest it came to defining the consensus is as the “position that humans are causing global warming,” which leaves it unclear whether “causing” means “are one cause of,” “are the chief cause of,” or “are the sole cause of.” To discover that it meant only the former, a reader had to pay sufficiently careful attention to the details of the paper to notice “contribute to” in the example of category 2 in Table 2, which few readers would do. The fact that Cook chose, in a second paper, to misrepresent the result of the first is pretty good evidence that the presentation of his results was deliberately designed to mislead.
This is confirmed by Cook’s response, which ignores Friedman’s point. Cook responds as if Friedman wants to include papers that Cook discluded. Friedman refocuses Cook. Friedman really wants to use the same papers that Cook used, using Cook’s own methodology. Cook is a liar.
If the leaders of Climate Change are this dishonest, it is ample evidence that they should not be believed or trusted. Giving them power to regulate would be terrible mistake.