It’s Time for us all to Recognize the 97% Con Game

By Dr. Jay Lehr

We are confident that all of our readers have read or heard for a number of years that 97% of all scientists believe that mankind has played a role in changing the earth’s climate. While it should have been recognized long ago as an urban myth, one of those stories that hang around regardless of a lack of any supporting facts. Rarely a day goes that a global warming alarmists do not use it to promote their cause of enlarging government and reducing personal freedom through the promotion of fear about our future.

Many articles have been written to refute this claim but they all dig into the statistical weeds. Common sense alone should set you straight. If the reader wishes he or she read could read the original paper by Naomi Oreskes that started it all in Science Magazine in December of 2004. Be aware you might die laughing.

The biased folks who concluded from a truly bizarre survey of science literature that 97% of all authors believe in man caused global warming would have actually been better served had they concluded that 70% of all scientists believe in their premise. That would actually have been possible. However a little common sense should tell us that no large group of people on our planet could ever reach 97% agreement on anything. Yes anything, including the Earth being round rather than flat or the sun rising in the East rather than West, or even the Earth’s gravitational pull.

Simple proof of this erroneous talking point is provided by the Global Warming Petition Project at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine in 2015. They obtained signatures on a Declaration from 31,478 American scientists, including 9,021 with Ph.D.s that stated they did not believe man kind had a significant impact on his climate. The declaration included the words: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human releases of carbon dioxide methane or other greenhouse gases are causing or will in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environment of the Earth.”

They made all the names available in a paper back book.It is rather doubtful that these people all comprise the 3% of non believers.

We do not doubt there are many scientists who do believe that man plays a major role in the determination of his climate. However, among the unsuspecting public who do not stop to consider what we are saying, the near universal comment of “the 97%” has done a lot of damage. It leads to poor anti fossil fuel legislation in states all across the nation. It leads to some states embracing the Paris Accord which would redistribute $3 trillion of American dollars to nations who use little fossil fuel. These American states could have none but zero impact on the planets thermometer but they can and will damage their state’s economy and their citizens standard of living.

The fraudulent 97% consensus is clearly a marketing ploy. What makes science different from religion is that only empirical evidence matters not opinion. Consensus does not matter at all in science.

It is not unique in science for incorrect views to hold forth for decades if not centuries before the crowds are turned back by incontrovertible evidence. Medical history is full of the minorities trying to make surgery safer by the simple effort of hand washing. Ulcers were long thought to be a result of type “A” personalities rather than requiring a specific bacteria to allow their development. Einstein himself fought an uphill battle with his theory of relativity. When 100 German scientists collaborated on a consensus to defeat him he said famously “If I were wrong one would have been enough”.

Give some thought to what we are saying next time you are confronted with this dangerous absurdity, which will likely be tomorrow.

5 thoughts on “It’s Time for us all to Recognize the 97% Con Game”

  1. In fact, it is Olinto de Pretto’s ‘theory of relativity’, published in 1903 in an Italian science journal. Olinto de Pretto worked with someone named Besso. Einstein cited a ‘Besso’ in his publication. de Pretto was killed because of a financial dispute. Someone had to make use of his works – it was Einstein.

  2. Oreskes posed a straw-man: “the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities.”

    Of course, that’s never been what the climate debate is about. The debate is about the scale and effects of mankind’s GHG emissions, especially CO2..

    Even the most die-hard climate skeptics generally acknowledge that humans have some effects on the Earth’s climate, such as the Urban Heat Island effect, and greening due to higher CO2 levels. But there’s no hard evidence that such changes are significantly harmful. In fact, the greening, at least, is clearly beneficial.

    In fact, the best evidence is that manmade climate change is modest and benign, and rising CO2 levels are beneficial, rather than harmful; learn more here:

    That’s a problem for people promoting parasitic “climate industry” businesses. So when climate alarmists conduct their surveys, to try to gin up evidence of a non-existent consensus for climate alarmism, they don’t ask the real questions, like whether CO2 emissions are harmful or beneficial. Instead, they ask “gimme” questions, like whether “Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities.”

    The “97%” figure comes from a 2009 article (apparently not peer-reviewed), by Dr. Peter Doran. Here’s what he did.


    #1. Doran EXCLUDED (for being insufficiently specialized) 97% of the geoscientsts who responded to his poll, and

    #2. He EXCLUDED scientists who worked in private industry (who tend to be more conservative than those in government & academia), and

    #3. He EXCLUDED scientists who thought that “When compared with pre-1800s levels… mean global temperatures have generally… remained relatively constant.”

    Note that Doran & his student did not ask any question to distinguish between climate alarmists like Mann & Hansen, and climate realists like of the most folks here. If they had asked such a question (like whether, in the succinct words of President Obama, “Climate change is real, man-made and dangerous?”) there would have been nothing resembling a “consensus.”

    Very few scientists would disagree with the fact that it is generally warmer now than it was during the Little Ice Age, and human activity has probably contributed to that modest warming. But so what? That’s a pretty meaningless “consensus,” in the context of the climate debate. It does not help make a case for the sorts of public policy measures which climate activists advocate. After all, anyone sane would have to agree that the current climate is better than the “pre-industrial” Little Ice Age climate.

    The best evidence is that anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change is real, but modest and benign, and CO2 emissions are beneficial, rather than harmful.


    FIRST, Dr. Doran wrote just two “opinion” questions for his survey, both of which were “gimmies,” designed to elicit the answers he wanted. (There were also some demographic & background questions.)

    The survey PRETENDED to be an attempt to learn about scientists’ opinions, but it wasn’t. Neither question was designed to actually learn anything about scientists’ opinions. Both of the questions were so uncontroversial that even I, and most other skeptics of climate alarmism (a/k/a “climate realists” or “lukewarmers”) would have given the answers he wanted.

    SECOND, Doran had his graduate student send the survey to over 10,000 geophysical scientists, but ONLY to people working in academia or government — known bastions of left-of-center politics. Scientists working in private industry, who tend to be more conservative, were not surveyed. That biased the sample, because the climate debate is highly politicized: most conservatives “lean skeptical” and most liberals “lean alarmist” in the climate debate.

    They got 3,146 responses.

    THIRD, to calculate his supposed “consensus” Prof. Doran excluded all but the most biased respondents: the most specialized specialists in climate science.

    That’s a massive, fundamental blunder. That’s like asking ONLY homeopaths about the efficacy of homeopathy, rather than the broader medical community. It’s like asking ONLY people working on cold fusion about whether cold fusion works, rather than asking all physicists. As Rick C PE & David Middleton noted, above, the most specialized specialists in every field will report a “consensus” agreeing with the presuppositions and the efficacy of the methods of that field — even for fields that are complete hokum. (In this case, the question at issue is whether the unverifiable CMIP “GCMs” [climate models] are trustworthy or GIGO.)

    That process excluded over 97% of the geophysical scientists who answered the survey! Only 79 were left.

    That’s right: he pruned 3,146 responses down to just 79.

    But even that didn’t get his desired “consensus” figure up to 97%. So,

    FOURTH, to calculate his final “97.4%” result, Doran EXCLUDED respondents who gave one of the “skeptical” answers to the first of his two questions.

    I’m not kidding, he really did.

    The first “gimme” question was:

    “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”

    (I would have said “risen.”)

    Those who answered “remained relatively constant” were not asked the 2nd question, and THEY WERE NOT COUNTED when calculating his percentage of consensus.

    That left him with just 77 out of 3,146 responses. He used only those 77 for the “97.4%” calculation.

    The second question was:

    “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

    Well, of course it is! That encompasses both GHG-driven warming and particulate/aerosol-driven cooling. It could also be understood to include Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects.

    Since just about everyone acknowledges at least one of those effects, I would have expected nearly everyone to answer “yes” to this question. Yet 2 of 77 apparently did not.

    It is unfortunate that Doran and his graduate student didn’t ask an actual, legitimate question about Anthropogenic Global Warming. They should have asked something like, “Do you believe that emissions of CO2 from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, are causing dangerous increases in global average temperatures?” or (paraphrasing President Obama) “Do you believe that climate change is real, man-made and dangerous?”

    Of course, the reason Doran didn’t ask “real” questions like those is that his survey was a scam: Its purpose was NOT to discover anything, it was to support a propaganda talking point.

    BTW, I bought his graduate student’s thesis project report, so if anyone here has any questions about it let me know. My contact info can be found on my web site.

    You can find much more information about the various surveys of scientific opinion on climate change, including source references for everything I’ve written here, on my web page, here:

    1. Could you please cite the article or study that shows empirical evidence that CO2 causes increased ambient temperatures.
      I have never seen one, and I doubt you have either. The empirical evidence shows that, following the 5 worst cool spells in the last 10,000 years, the average lag of CO2 levels increasing was 800 years AFTER temperatures started rising. Pretty conclusive evidence that CO2 does not drive temperature, but is instead a symptom of increases in temperature.
      It would also be interesting to see your explanation of the fact that during the great global shutdown of 2020, when industry virtually stopped all over the globe, and therefore anthropogenic CO2 emissions virtually ceased, atmospheric CO2 levels continued to rise.

  3. I recall reading a site recently where it was stated that plants arose when the CO2 level was four times higher than present and that horticulturists fill greenhouses with that level of CO2 to help the plants thrive.

  4. The 97% myth is also covered well in this youtube video by Dr John Robson

    Text Summary :

    Barack Obama – 97% scientists agree
    Secretary of State John Cary – 97% of world’s scientists
    CNN – 07% agree
    How many scientists surveyed , survey sample size , when
    Warmer now than mid 1800s Little Ice Age
    Do not prove that humans are the only source of global warming
    Naomi Oreskes 97% begin 2004 looked at 928 articles – 75% endorsed consensus view – earth’s climate being affected by human activities none disputed it. = some effect on climate
    Al Gore 2006 an inconvenient truth – morphed into a massive study on every article in a peer reviewed periodical on global warning for last 10 years 10% or 928 articles – 0 disagreed with concensus = 100% agreed with climate change and a serious problem.
    2009 pair researchers survey to 10000 earth scientists – 2 questions
    1. Do you agree that global temperatures have generally risen since the pre – 1800s?
    2. Do you think that human activity is a significant contributing factor?
    No reference to greenhouse gases, significant? , no mention of danger or crisis.
    3146 responses 1. -90% Yes 2.- 82% Yes
    Meteorologists only Q2. 64% Yes. meaning 1/3 of experts in weather patterns did not think humans played a significant role in global warming.
    77 respondants – climate experts 75 said Yes to Q2 75 / 77 = 97% = 97% concensus among 2% of survey respondents
    did not say urgent or dangerous because not asked, and not 97% of world’s scientists.
    2013 John Cook surveyed 12000 papers on climate change – 97% papers endorsed consensus view. that greenhouse gases were at least partly responsible for global warming (3896 papers Endorse AGW)
    But 2/3 papers (7930) no AGW view (or not worth mentioning )
    Again no indication of dangerous just some effect on climate , no definition of amount of effect or level.
    How many papers would answer the question Have humans caused most of the global warming?
    64 out of the 12000 papers (or even the 3896) = 1 in 200
    David R Legates read the 64 papers and found “ony 41 / 64 actually endorsed that definition. “That global warming was mostly man made.”

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