So, what is the basic problems? John Cook’s recent survey considered almost 12000 papers – published between 1991 and 2011 – that were about either “global warming” or “global climate change”. Of those 12000 papers about 33% addressed whether global warming is man-made or not. According to John Cook’s survey, 97% of those that addressed whether or not global warming was man-made, agreed that it was man-made (i.e., endorsed anthropogenic global warming – AGW). John Cook has, therefore, been stressing that 97% of papers addressing AGW, endorse AGW. The issue, according to Anthony Watts, is that he’s ignoring the almost 67% that made no mention of AGW. Therefore, according to Anthony Watts, his 97% claim is a lie of epic proportions.
I happen to disagree with Anthony Watts. I don’t think the 67% that made no mention of AGW should really be included. One can’t claim that it is because they were uncertain. It’s more likely that it was because it wasn’t relevant to their particular study.
However, if Anthony is so perturbed by this supposed lie and if he thinks all 12000 papers should be included in the description of what fraction endorsed AGW or not, then presumably we should just change the headline to “only 0.7% of papers reject AGW”. That’s both consistent with the results of the survey and consistent with Anthony Watts’s view of how the results should be presented.