Spiegel Writes Cook’s 97% Consensus Claims “Are Deceiving The Public”…”A Failed Call To Action”

Spiegel science journalist Axel Bojanowski, an educated geologist, presents an article today at the online Spiegel explaining how the once highly ballyhooed “97% consensus” claim is in fact deceptive and “a half-truth”: Failed Scientists’ Call To Action at UN Climate Conference: The 97 Percent Trap.

Bojanowski begins by describing how last year even President Obama tweeted the claim, but then adds that the “claimed consensus among scientists is actually something other than what Obama suggests“.

97 scientists “deceiving the public”

And on the latest pre-New York Climate Conference campaign by 97 scientists promoting the idea of consensus, the Spiegel journalist writes that “they are deceiving the public“.

Last year scientists led by John Cook of the University of Queensland published in the journal Environmental Research Letters a study showing that more than 97% of scientists claim global warming is man-made. Bojanowski writes: “They [the scientists] had asked environmental activists at the Internet site ‘Skeptical Science’ to evaluate thousands of climate studies.

On the results Bojanowski writes that “less than 1% of the studies expressly disputed the impact by man. A good two thirds took no position on the topic – and so were not included.

No consensus to speak of

Bojanowski blasts the results of the survey, explaining that “the study confirms only a banality: Scientists are for the most part in agreement than man contributes to climate warming. Even hard-nosed critics of climate science do not doubt the physical principle that exhaust from automobiles, factories and power plants warm the air.” He then reminds readers that man’s impact is a side issue, and that the real issue is the extent man has an impact and whether or not the climate warming is a dangerous thing. Here on the real central issues Bojanowski writes there is absolutely no consensus to speak of.

So why are the 97 scientists trying to produce a different impression? Bojanowski provides an answer:

The public, so the authors justify the idea behind the study, are hesitating to support climate protection because of uncertainty over the consensus among scientists. […] The 97 percent campaign is to ‘strengthen’ the study, the initiators at ‘Skeptical Science’ write.”

Massive criticism from experts worldwide

Critical reaction from other experts came rapidly, Bjoanowski cites Dan Kahan of Yale Law School, who believes the message “promotes the polarization of society“. Also cited is meteorologist Victor Venema of the University of Bonn, who wrote that “‘consensus’ is in itself uncomfortable to many scientists.”

Bojanowski also puts Georgia Tech professor Judith Curry down as a harsh critic of the Cook study asl well. Curry calls the nature of such a survey “senseless”.

Also Richard Tol is cited in the Spiegel article. Bojanowski writes:

Richard Tol of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin aims methodical criticism at Cook’s study: The evaluated climate studies were haphazardly selected. And whether or not the people evaluating the studies worked reliably was not tested. ‘People who want to argue that climate researchers are secretive and incompetent,’ says Tol polemically, ‘only have to point to the 97% consensus paper’.”

Bojanowski ends the piece with a shot of sarcasm, telling readers that “the Environmental Research Letters, which published the paper, was impressed by the Cook study. They selected it best article of 2013.


18 responses to “Spiegel Writes Cook’s 9718 Consensus Claims “Are Deceiving The Public”…”A Failed Call To Action””

  1. DirkH

    Interesting that Bojanovski is allowed to write that. Looks like the Spiegel Collective is too busy with the ongoing internal fights.

  2. DirkH

    O/T EROEI analysis of renewables plus storage shows that highly developed civilisations cannot be maintained by them.

  3. Kim

    It is not “seven” hardnosed scientists, but EVEN hardnosed scientists!

  4. Bebben

    Hi Pierre, thanks a lot for providing us non-German readers with news from Germany.

    I suppose this Bojanowski is already targeted by the thought police for not just being one of the parrots.

  5. ArndB

    What is the problem with 97% consensus on „climate change“? There is none as long as science is not able to define “climate” in a clear and scientific manner, but basically use the layman’s term since historical Greek: “climate is average weather”, replaced by by IPCC telling us that CLIMATE is: “the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years.” , which explains nothing.
    How could it be possible to disagree with IPCC definition on “climate change”?

    1. Bebben

      Well, if the “consensus” is that what is expressed by climate models/predictions, it’s rather nice to see that “all climate scientists agree”, because it’s now becoming Clear that they are all wrong!

      1. ArndB

        …..that they are all wrong!
        ….and are shockingly unscientific!!!

      2. DirkH

        I hear the first utterances of warmists “Models are only a research tool”. So, in the seven stages of grief, they have reached “negotiation”.

  6. Günther

    Are you sure about “seven” hardnosed scientists? I think it is “even” hardnosed scientists

  7. John Shade

    What a stream of good news you are finding for us in German newspapers. There is so much scope for honest, investigative journalists to highlight flaws in the climate panic that it is astonishing how few there are. Donna Laframboise by herself has done so much excellent work in this area that other journalists ought to be inspired and encouraged to get engaged. Is it their employers who have been holding them back or their own blind spots? Whatever, it looks like some more in Germany are smelling the coffee. Hurray for that!

  8. Graeme No.3

    So 97% of scientists agree, so long as you discard 67% of the total. But did they ask all scientists, or just a small sub-set who were more favourably inclined?

  9. The Indomitable Snowman, Ph.D.

    Pierre, off-this-topic, but since you don’t have a “Tips” bin…

    The shape of things to come?

    Nuclear Shutdowns Put Belgians and Britons on Blackout Alert

    Suspected sabotage at three Belgian nuclear reactors—which is still under investigation—has triggered plans for rolling blackouts in the nation this winter. The detailed power rationing plans, which were released this past Friday, support the argument that Belgium may have put too many eggs in too few baskets. Just a few failures, whether deliberate or otherwise, have had a devastating impact on power supplies. Meanwhile, the discovery of similar problems at a reactor in the United Kingdom in August led EDF Energy to shut it and three others like it down. With four reactors suddenly out of service, U.K. grid operator National Grid has begun seeking emergency power supplies for the winter.


    1. DirkH

      Hey they can shutdown Brussels permanently. This way the EU commissioners can’t do anything which will immediately lead to a grand European renaissance.

  10. Kevin Marshall (Manicbeancounter)

    Last Friday I went to hear John Cook speak to Bristol University. Stephan Lewandowsky who had arranged the visit. I commented:-

    “In the Q&A John Cook admitted to two things. First, the paper only dealt with declared belief in the broadest, most banal, form of the global warming hypothesis. That is greenhouse gas levels are increasing and there is some warming as a consequence. Second is that the included papers that were outside the realm of climate science, and quite possibly written by people without a science degree. The Barak Obama tweet account seems to have got the wrong impression.”

    That is, John Cook himself largely agrees with Bojanowski’s assessment.
    My notes are at

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