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97 Consensus Myth.pdf


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2/17/2014

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The 97% scientific consensus on human-caused global warming is frequently
cited as the justification for the imposition of carbon taxes and extreme
climate change or greenhouse gas reduction targets “…to stop dangerous
climate change” (Pembina Institute, City of Calgary GHG Reduction Plan
2011)i.
At least 5 separate surveys since 2004 claim a 97% consensus, or in the case
of Oreskes (2004) – a 75% consensus saying “Remarkably, none of the papers
disagreed with the consensus position.”
This seemed to be a statistical coincidence that so many surveys could arrive
at exactly the same result. Upon closer examination, this seemed an even
more impressive claim since there are no common scientific constants in any
of these studies. These 97% consensus studies also claim an enormous pool of
1,000 or 10,000+ scientists surveyed. It is important to understand of those
numbers, how many responded, which were selected, what criteria, and
where they lie on a spectrum of “consensus” about the percentage of human
impact on climate…which could be anything from 5% to 100%. In fact,
Friends of Science deconstruction of these surveys reveals there is no such
consensus. [Figure 1 below]
Figure 1: Percentage agreement with IPCC AGW declaration and survey numbers

Surveys by Author
Name

Oreskes/Peiser
Doran and Zimmerman
Anderegg et al
Cook et al

Actual % Explicitly
Agreeing w. IPCC
Declaration
1.2%
2.38%
66%
0.54%

From a Base Survey
Number of
Respondents or Papers
Assessed
~1,000
3,146 respondents
1,372 scientists
11,944

Most people automatically assume that ‘consensus’ means “humans cause
catastrophic global warming because of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.”
Three of the studies do not address this issue – none of the abstracts
surveyed were written to address that declaration.
The Anderegg study is unique in that part of it is based on an IPCC author
base – however, the 66% “Convinced by Evidence” figure cited does not detail

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