Yonatan Dubi climate change Ben Gurion University,
© Two Nice Jewish Boys Podcast
Yonatan Dubi, Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Ben Gurion University
The invented political notion that 99% of climate scientists believe humans have caused all or most recent global warming has been dealt another significant blow. A group of Israeli scientists has examined the widely-publicised claim by the climate activist Mark Lynas that there is a 99% 'consensus' that humans cause most warming. Led by Yonatan Dubi, Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Ben Gurion University, the scientists found that massive flaws and biases riddled the Lynas work, implying the conclusions of the study do not follow from the data.

This work matters. The claims of a 99% consensus, along with an earlier 97% figure, are widely used in political and media circles to shut down debate over anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Sceptical scientists - even those as distinguished as last year's Nobel Physics Prize winner Dr. John Clauser - can be dismissed as cranks and deniers. Of course consensus is not proof, which is notably lacking in the model-driven climate science field. However the Israeli authors observe a consensus claim is "influential in bolstering the reception of a particular thesis within the broader public sphere". This leads to "less quantifiable statements", such as humanity is facing an imminent climate crisis, and is followed by global calls for action. Not to put too fine a point on it, the collectivist Net Zero project relies on a fake scientific consensus that crumbles when exposed to the most basic scrutiny.

Mark Lynas, environmental journalist and author
© Earth.org
Mark Lynas, environmental journalist and author
The Lynas et al. paper, which examined the 'abstracts' of 3,000 papers, is riddled with errors. It assumes that all papers taking 'no position' on AGW are in support of the hypothesis. The Israeli authors note that sceptical scientists tend not to emphasise scepticism in the opening abstract as work not supporting the political narrative on climate is now almost impossible to get published in the major science journals. Careful analysis of how sceptical papers diplomatically "fit the consensus" suggests the actual number of scientists agreeing with AGW may be on the "low side", conclude the examining authors.

The dictionary definition of consensus is a "general agreement" or "the judgement arrived at by most of those concerned". The authors are clear in their judgement: "No claim for consensus can be made from the data presented in Lynas et al."

This is not the first time such outlandish 'consensus' claims have been critically examined. In 2013, John Cook asserted that 97% of 11,944 peer-reviewed science papers explicitly endorsed the opinion that humans had caused the majority of the warming over the last 150 years. But, 7,930 of those papers took no position on anthropogenic change and were excluded from the 97% claim. It was subsequently revealed that only about 0.5% of the papers explicitly stated that recent warming was mostly human caused.

At the time, a former IPCC author Professor Richard Tol said that Cook's nonsense paper showed the climate community still had a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behaviour. For their part, the Israeli scientists note that their criticisms also apply in general to earlier consensus studies based on abstract scanning, and it is to be regretted that they were "not taken into consideration" by Lynas et al. "It is thus crucially important to understand the limitations of, and the good practices required of, these types of consensus studies". The matter is said to be too important to be left "blurry and subjective".

These days, Mark Lynas is the Communication Strategist and Climate Lead for the Alliance of Science, a non-profit operation linked to Cornell University. Its primary source of funding is said to be the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In the past, his career has taken a number of colourful turns. He first drew attention to himself in 2001 when he threw a cream pie into the face of the sceptical climate economist Bjorn Lomborg. He was behind the PR stunt in 2009 when the Government of the Maldives met under water to raise fears about rising sea levels. Happily this is not a problem for the Maldives, since overall the islands have grown in recent years. In 2007 he wrote an article in the Guardian reporting on the possibility of global warming producing fuel air bombs caused by oceanic methane eruptions. These would be equivalent to 10,000 times the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Always the activist and politician, Lynas has also entered the recent debate around the deaths caused by onshore wind turbines of millions of bats and large numbers of raptors such as eagles. As the Policy Director of Audubon California, he said we needed renewable energy, and eagle deaths should not be "used to push against clean energy".
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic's Environment Editor.