Lifting the Rug
The notion of an overwhelming consensus in support of alarm is generally traced to one or other of 4 studies:
For example, re the Oreskes study of a set of papers she located from the years 1993 to 2003, the theoretical physicist Lubos Motl was not impressed and supports Benny Peiser's view: 'In light of the data presented above (evidence that can be easily verified), Science should withdraw Oreskes' study and its results in order to prevent any further damage to the integrity of science.' A medical researcher, Klaus-Martin Schulte also took a critical look at Oreskes' methods, and using them on more recent papers, published between 2004 and 2007 he found: 'Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."'
Note added 14 March 2017. The corrupted-by-campaigners organisation NASA has long had a 97% claim up on its website. Here is a report on just how shonky their reference to support it is: https://realclimatescience.com/2017/03/massive-fraud-at-nasa-climate/
'If you actually click on the reference, you quickly realize that the claim is fraudulent. '
(3) For a very recent exposure of Occam's Broom being deployed by IPCC scientists see :
'This all tells us:
1) They blatantly, cavalierly, and repeatedly violated the methods they claimed in their paper, methods that are crucial to the validity of a subjective rater study – maintaining blindness to the authors of papers they rated, and conducting their ratings independently. This destroyed the validity of an already invalid study – more coherently, it destroyed the validity of the study if we assumed it was valid to begin with.
2) These people were not in a scientific mood. They had none of the integrity, neutrality, and discipline to be subjective raters on such a study. We could've confidently predicted this outcome in advance, given that they're political activists on the subject of their ratings, had an enormous conflict of interest with respect to the results, and the design appointed them subjective raters of written work, placing them in the position to deliver the results they so fervently sought. Just that fact – the basic design – invalidates the study and makes it unpublishable. We can't go around being this dumb. This is ridiculous, letting this kind of junk into a scientific journal. It's a disgrace.'
Here is a 2014 article by James Delingpole which provides some useful insights into the tawdry methods and motivation of Cook et al: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2014/09/08/obama-s-97-percent-climate-consensus-debunked-demolished-staked-through-the-heart/
Here is an August 2015 post by the MEP Roger Helmer (hat tip Climate Science) noting that a somewhat more respectable (but imho still very unsatisfactory) survey in which less than 50% of respondents took the IPCC party line: https://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/new-study-destroys-that-97-of-scientists-claim-or-not-as-the-case-may-be/
Details of that survey can be obtained here: http://www.pbl.nl/en/publications/climate-science-survey-questions-and-responses
Note added 23 March 2016.
Anthony Watts: 'I don’t like to use the word “fraud”, and I can’t recall if I’ve ever used it in a title. In this case it is warranted. Brandon Shollenberger writes of a new book, The Climate Wars: How the Consensus is Enforced, that proves without a doubt that John Cook and his “Skeptical Science” team are nothing but a gang of “say anything” activists, and that the much repeated “97% consensus” is indeed nothing more than a manufactured outcome.'
Note added 23 October 2018.
Three cheers! The President of the USA speaks sense on climate, and in particular recognises there is substantial disagreement on the topic amongst scientists: