The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Your View

March 28, 2014

Consensus on climate change fuzzy science

Help! I am evidently an uneducated fool, or so I read. I keep reading that 97 percent of climate scientists agree to CO2 induced warming, but then by innuendo I am called a ‘flat-earther’

Who in their day were part of the 97 percent. So, which is it? Readers, you decide.

A subgroup in a set of scientists was limited to 10,257 and each sent e-mails with two relevant questions. Eliminated from the original e-mailing were atmospheric physicists, (surprising !?) and more. There were 3,147 replies. The first question was ‘When compared with pre1800’s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant’? I would have answered ‘Risen.’

Question two: ‘Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperature’? Answer yes or no. Hmm, I find that to be a non question. What does significant mean? 10 percent?, 25 percent? Land use,could be a factor. Many scientists with whom I have contact found themselves unsure of how to answer this question.

Of those 3,147 replies, the number considered was reduced down to under 300, then down to 79 for the first question and 77 for the second question, of which 75 answered yes. End of story! 75 of 77. We have a 97 percent consensus. Interesting! The study, which can be found on line was done by a University of Illinois graduate student Maggie Zimmerman in 2008

What was the percentage before reducing down to 77? (Hint- it was much less than 97 percent) And why 79 for the first question and 77 for the second? Two did not say temps had risen on the first question, so the second question could not apply. Of those 79, two said not rising, and two more said not human activity. Just that alone would be 75 of 79 or about 95 percent. So, readers, do you think this is a viable statistical study? The 97 percent meme soon became gospel.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Your View