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The famous 97.1%-climate consensus (“Cook-consensus”) is unsubstantiated and misleading

preprint
posted on 19.05.2021, 13:12 by Philipp Lengsfeld, Andreas Glassl, Adedamola AdedokunAdedamola Adedokun, Fritz Vahrenholt

The notion of a scientific “consensus” on the question of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is very prominent and has influenced political and scientific debate. We re-examined this notion by analyzing a key consensus paper conducted by the Cook team which reports a 97.1% consensus on AGW. While employing a methodology which is in principle sound, the analysis done by this consensus study contains a fundamental weakness. The Cook consensus is primarily based on the abstract language, they retrieved and separated 11,944 abstracts into categories, i.e. abstracts “expressing position on AGW” or “no position/neutral on AGW”, rather than “relevant to AGW controversy”, (i.e. any data on global climate change mechanisms) vs. “non-relevant to AGW controversy”, (i.e. impact modelling, geoengineering proposals, etc.). We demonstrate that the categories and the resulting analysis of the Cook consensus are very likely deeply flawed. In our assessment, the Cook consensus do not present data which can credibly claim to document a “scientific consensus” regarding AGW. The critical re-assessment approach can be transferred to other “consensus” publications. The true extent of the actual support of published data regarding the AGW-question needs to be evaluated in a separate data analysis project.

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