In the U.K., a well-known advertising slogan for Whiskas cat food was, “eight out of 10 owners said their cat prefers it”. After a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, this was changed to “eight out of 10 owners who expressed a preference said their cat prefers it”.

Do you remember that advert? And do you remember it changing? The initial advert carried with it the implication that out of a sample of 1000 cats, 800 would prefer Whiskas cat food.

So why did they have to change it? Well what if, of that 1000 owners, only 10 had expressed a preference (990 tacitly acknowledging that their cats would eat anything – I know ours will)?

Now, out of those 10 that expressed a preference , if 8 preferred Whiskas and 2 had actively preferred fillet steak? Would it be more accurate to say, “eight out of 10 owners said their cat prefers Whiskas” or “eight out of 10 owners who expressed a preference said their cat prefers Whiskas”.

Clearly the latter. But in reality it would be even more accurate to say that out of 1000 cats, only 8 are likely to express an active preference for Whiskas. That’s less than 1% … but that don’t sell cat food does it.

So why am I mentioning this?

Well apparently,

The vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists – 97 percent – agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change.

You may have heard this, and you may also have noticed that anyone who tries to speak out against it is a CLIMATE DENIER.

Well, I’m afraid you’ve been conned just like all those cat owners many years before you.

Firstly, you will notice the caveat, “The vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists”. This isn’t all climate scientists, this is “actively publishing” climate scientist, and also notice that it doesn’t say “catastrophic” or “dangerous” or “irreversible” global warming and climate change, just global warming and climate change. So bear that in mind as you read on.

Next notice that it doesn’t say “who expressed an opinion”. Well it should, because that’s what the 97% was based upon.

Before I go on, I should provide some evidence of what I am saying, so here is the actual scientific paper where the 97% comes from. Read it for yourself, don’t take my word for it. Every time you’ve heard someone mention the 97%, this is where that number comes from.

Cook J et al. ‘Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature.’ Environmental Research Letters. 2013; 8 024024

So to continue, here is a table from the above paper. Check it out for yourself.

The researchers identified a total of 11944 papers that they considered relevant. Each of these papers had its “abstract” reviewed. Now notice the whole paper wasn’t reviewed, just the abstract, the “summary” at the front of the paper. Based on this and this alone, papers were filtered into number of categories and ultimately into 4 as in the table above. Those that “Endorsed” Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW); those that “didn’t express a preference”; and those that either “Rejected” or were “Uncertain/Inconclusive”.

7930 of the papers reviewed expressed no preference; that’s two thirds of actively publishing climate scientists!! Think about that!

Well they were chucked in the bin straight away … as I presume they didn’t fit the narrative of the researchers.

This left only 4014 papers in the sample, meaning that the 3896 that endorsed AGW now made up 97.1% of the pile. Wow! Fewer than a third of the papers (32.6%) suddenly becomes 97%.

And by the way, those 3896 papers only agreed that AGC was happening. i.e. (1) The climate is changing, and (2) Humans are having an effect. There was no implication of “dangerously” or “catastrophically” or “adversely”. In fact many of the scientists who were included in the 3896 papers have since asked to be removed from the calculation as they believed they were misinterpreted by this study. You couldn’t make this up.

Whiskas couldn’t get away with it and neither should the IPCC or the extreme climate movement.

And if you want a more in depth and scathing review of this persistent lie, have a look at this Forbes article

‘97% Of Climate Scientists Agree’ Is 100% Wrong

Now don’t get me wrong … the climate is changing and humans are almost certainly having some effect on it. I firmly believe a managed transition away from the use of fossil fuels to renewables is a good thing, in terms of pollution, the climate in general and the democratisation of energy sources. But we shouldn’t be destroying our economies, our natural environment and damaging the mental health of our children based on an unsupported activist narrative, especially one that is based on such dodgy science as this.

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