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Ian Plimer: 97% Of Scientists Agree On Nothing

Ian Plimer, The Australian

It is often claimed that 97 per cent of scientists conclude that humans are causing global warming. Is that really true? No. It is a zombie statistic.

In the scientific circles I mix in, there is an overwhelming scepticism about human-induced climate change. Many of my colleagues claim that the mantra of human-induced global warming is the biggest scientific fraud of all time and future generations will pay dearly.

If 97 per cent of scientists agree that there is human-induced climate change, you’d think they would be busting a gut to vanquish climate sceptics in public debates. Instead, many scientists and activists are expressing confected outrage at the possibility of public debates because the science is settled. After all, 97 per cent of scientists agree that human emissions drive global warming and there is no need for further discussion.

In my 50-year scientific career, I have never seen a hypothesis where 97 per cent of scientists agree. At any scientific conference there are collections of argumentative sods who don’t agree about anything, argue about data, how data was collected and the conclusions derived from data. Scepticism underpins all science, science is underpinned by repeatable validated evidence and scientific conclusions are not based on a show of hands, consensus, politics or feelings. Scientists, just like lawyers, bankers, unionists, politicians and those in all other fields, can make no claim to being honest or honourable, and various warring cliques of scientists have their leaders, followers, outsiders and enemies. Scientists differ from many in the community because they are allegedly trained to be independent. Unless, of course, whacking big research grants for climate “science” are waved in front of them.

The 97 per cent figure derives from a survey sent to 10,257 people with a self-interest in human-induced global warming who published “science” supported by taxpayer-funded research grants. Replies from 3146 respondents were whittled down to 77 self-appointed climate “scientists” of whom 75 were judged to agree that human-induced warming was taking place. The 97 per cent figure derives from a tribe with only 75 members. What were the criteria for rejecting 3069 respondents? There was no mention that 75 out of 3146 is 2.38 per cent. We did not hear that 2.38 per cent of climate scientists with a self-interest agreed that humans have played a significant role in changing climate and that they are recipients of some of the billions spent annually on climate research.

Another recent paper on the scientific consensus of human-induced climate change was a howler. Such papers can be published only in the sociology or environmental literature.

The paper claimed that published scientific papers showed there was a 97.1 per cent consensus that man had caused at least half of the 0.7C global warming since 1950. How was this 97.1 per cent figure determined? By “inspection” of 11,944 published papers. Inspection is not rigorous scholarship. There was no critical reading and understanding derived from reading 11,944 papers. This was not possible as the study started in March 2012 and was published in mid-2013, hence only a cursory inspection was possible. What was inspected? By whom?

The methodology section of the publication gives the game away. “This letter was conceived as a ‘citizen science’ project by volunteers contributing to the Skeptical Science website ( In March 2012, we searched the Institute for Scientific Information Web of Science for papers published from 1991-2011 using topic searches for ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’.”

This translates as: This study was a biased compilation of opinions from non-scientific, politically motivated volunteer activists who used a search engine for key words in 11,944 scientific papers, were unable to understand the scientific context of the use of “global warming” and “global climate change”, who rebadged themselves as “citizen scientists” to hide their activism and ignorance, who did not read the complete papers and were unable to evaluate critically the diversity of science published therein.

The conclusions were predictable because the methodology was not dispassionate and involved decisions by those who were not independent.

As part of a scathing critical analysis of this paper by real scientists, the original 11,944 papers were read and the readers came to a diametrically opposite conclusion. Of the 11,944 papers, only 41 explicitly stated that humans caused most of the warming since 1950 (0.3 per cent). Of the 11,944 climate “science” papers, 99.7 per cent did not say that carbon dioxide caused most of the global warming since 1950. It was less than 1 per cent and not one paper endorsed a man-made global warming catastrophe.

Political policy and environmental activism rely on this fraudulent 97 per cent consensus paid for by the taxpayer to rob the taxpayer further with subsidies for bird-and-bat-chomping wind turbines, polluting solar panels and handouts to those with sticky fingers in the international climate industry. It’s this alleged 97 per cent consensus that has changed our electricity from cheap and reliable to expensive and unreliable.

Activists with no skin in the game are setting the scene for economic suicide. Time for yellow shirts to shirt-front politicians about their uncritical acceptance of a fraud that has already cost the community hundreds of billions of dollars.

Emeritus professor Ian Plimer’s latest book, The Climate Change Delusion and the Great Electricity Ripoff, is published by Connor Court. He is a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council

The Australian, 17 January 2019