German Analysis: “97 Percent Consensus” Does Not Exist … Demands To End Debate Are “Way Off Sides”

I’ve always found the discussion over consensus in science extremely annoying. History is clear: When it comes to science progress, consensus has ended up being the loser every single time.

The ninety seven percent problem: which consensus?

By Uli Weber
(Translated/edited by P Gosselin)

We constantly hear and read about the claim that 97 percent of all scientific papers (or sometimes all scientists) confirm man-made global warming. The Consensus Project made such a statement in a scientific paper which precisely wants to prove the point. The paper titled: “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” by Cook et al. in the Environ. Res. Lett. 8 (2013) 024024 (7pp) points to the 97% consensus for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) as follows:

  • 12,465 scientific papers examined for statements on AGW
  • 4014 papers contain own statement on AGW
  • Of these 4014 papers with statements on AGW, 97% confirm the AGW theory.

The supposed 97 percent AGW consensus is calculated using only a part that is 4014 of the originally surveyed 12,465 scientific papers, and not on the totality of the examined papers. The calculation approach of course is totally absurd and virtually meaningless. If one could even present such a statement on AGW in such a way to begin with, then the so called “consensus“ using the correct method of calculation would yield a result of only 32% of the surveyed scientific papers. Yet at the same time the approximately one third of the 12,465 surveyed papers are supposed to represent the entire spectrum of proponents of the AGW theory as well as the so-called luke-warmers who believe that a human contribution to climate is possible, but reject the catastrophe scenarios for the future climate.

Thus for the forecast of global future climate catastrophe scenarios, what is really left is only a consensus of considerably under one third of the papers surveyed and not more. And when one looks more critically at the information, one indeed does find there is a stated restriction to the described partial amount of papers in the Consensus Project. Here it is written in fine print behind the huge “97%” (emphasis added),

of published climate papers with a position on human-caused global warming agree: GLOBAL WARMING IS HAPPENING – AND WE ARE THE CAUSE”,

However, in a thorough consideration of all the scientific climate publications surveyed by Cook et al., the result looks entirely different:

  • A two thirds majority of the examined scientific climate papers take no socio-political stand on AGW.
  • Judging from socio-political views, only about 1% of climate realists are said to be opposed to AGW.
  • The AGW protagonists on the other hand, with about one third of all the surveyed publications, are far less reserved when it comes to their statements on scientific publications.


The ominous and often cited 97% consensus for the acceptance of the AGW theory in climate science does not exist. Thus the scientifically hostile demand for “an end to the climate discussion” is morally and computationally way offsides. In the Cook et al. study it is clearly shown that the protagonists of the climate catastrophe bring their social-political positions in scientific papers. Finally, in the given study a comparison is made between diametrically opposed socio-political positions using a subjectively selected sampling amount as a yardstick for a supposed consensus in the entire climate sciences.

The one positive result the study yields is that it allows us to determine that in climate science there is still a “silent” two thirds majority who choose to refrain from the socio-political discussion in their scientific publications. In the end, however, in the public depiction of climate science, the socio-political opinion of a one third minority is being sold as scientific 97% majority consensus.

So with the backdrop of the proven “one-third truth“ for man-made climate change, it is indeed very peculiar that the so-called “climate deniers” are getting lumped together with deniers of every type by the climate catastrophe followers again and again. Moreover in an open scientific discussion on the fundamentals of the dreaded climate change, it is completely incomprehensible that a climate of hatred is being applied to an equal extent against both the “climate deniers” and “luke-warmers” (Kalte-Sonne article of 3 February 2015). And that is not only the case in Great Britain and in USA, but elsewhere as well. For example in a 2013 brochure issued by the German Ministry of Environment (to which a link no longer exists), climate change critics were universally declared as being clueless. German daily WELT even carried an article titled: “A government authority declares the climate debate over“.

6 responses to “German Analysis: “97 Percent Consensus” Does Not Exist … Demands To End Debate Are “Way Off Sides””

  1. John F. Hultquist

    The rating issue is much worse. See this:

    The 97% stuff is junk.

  2. Bernd Felsche

    Germns should have known long ago about the absence of consensus. Post & Kepplinger sent questionaires to German scientists they could see active in the field of climate science. They got about 130 responses. (Data summary PDF – in German) There is no consensus.

    Die Welt carried an article on it in Spetember 2007.

  3. BobW in NC

    Phenomenal quote! (“I’ve always found the discussion over consensus in science extremely annoying. History is clear: When it comes to science progress, consensus has ended up being the loser every single time.”…)

    Yet, go to Wikipedia and search for “scientific consensus,” and you’ll find it there. Go figure! It appears the writer does not deal with science at all!

  4. Steve brown

    – Consensus said that peptic ulcers were caused by stress, not by bacterial infection, they are.

  5. ossqss