Well, the President himself used this 97% figure...and we know President Obama never stretches the truth for his partisan purposes......
"....the only real surprise is that the number isn’t 100 percent. There is virtually no one who thinks the climate hasn’t changed or won’t change in the future, or that there is no human influence on the phenomenon. The leading so-called “skeptics"—like MIT’s Richard Lindzen or Cato’s Patrick Michaels or NASA’s John Christy or Roy Spencer—would be included in the 97 percent figure. I’m guessing the outlying 3 percent are actually just anomalies of an arbitrary classification scheme (more on this in a moment) that serve the same point as a magician’s misdirection—to get you to buy an illusion. In this case, the illusion is that the scientific community is nearly unanimous in thinking we’re on the brink of catastrophe unless we hand our car keys over to Al Gore.
......Many of these articles do not take a position on the magnitude of possible future warming, and fewer still embrace giving the car keys over to Al Gore. Only a handful deal with modeling of future climate change, and this is where the debate over climate sensitivity and the severe limitations of the models (especially as relates to clouds) is quite lively and—dare I say it—unsettled. (Just read the IPCC Working Group I chapter on climate models if you don’t believe me.) The “97 percent of scientists ‘believe in’ climate change” cliché is an appalling abuse of science, and a bad faith attempt to marginalize anyone who dissents from the party line that we need to hand our car keys over to Al Gore. The tacit message is: if you dissent from the party line, you must be in that 3 percent who think you shouldn’t brush your teeth, take painkillers for headches, etc.
Where did this 97 percent figure come from? This story has become interesting over the last few days. The most prominent form of it comes from Prof. John Cook of the University of Queensland in a paper published last year that purported to have reviewed over 11,000 climate science articles. Does anyone really believe that Cook and his eight co-authors actually read through all 11,000 articles? Actually, the abstract of the paper supports the point I made above that most papers don’t actually deal with what the Climatistas say:
We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW [Anthropogenic Global Warming], 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. [Emphasis added.]
Pause here and note that it is odd to see that some folks apparently haven’t gotten the memo that you’re not supposed to call it “global warming”—“climate change” is the term of art now. Anyway, to continue, read this slowly and carefully:
Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus.
Let’s translate: Among the one-third of papers that “endorse” the “consensus,” there is near unanimity. In other words, among people who agree with the consensus, nearly all of them agree with the consensus.
Again—the only mystery here is that the number isn’t 100 percent. Perhaps this would have been too embarrassing to report, like a North Korean election. For this exercise all climate scientists may as well be called Kim Jong Il.
The plot thickens. Prof. Cook refused to share his data with anyone. Shades of the East Anglia mob and their tree ring data. But also like the East Anglia mob, someone at the University of Queenland left the data in the ether of the internet, and blogger Brandon Shollenberger came across it and starting noting its weaknesses. Then the predictable thing happened: the University of Queenland claims that the data was hacked, and sent Shollenbeger a cease-and-desist letter. That just speaks lots of confidence and transparency, doesn’t it?