The mainstream media is all exercised that some Republican candidates, notably Rick Perry, do not agree that humans are the principal cause of global warming. Typical of the stories is one from the Los Angeles Times, reprinted
in the Arizona Daily Star, that quotes Jon Huntsman as saying, “Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I’m saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science.” The Star headlined the article: “GOP’s Huntsman a voice of reason on global warming.”
Let’s take a closer look at “science” and see where the 98% number came from. It probably came from a paper from the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science titled “Expert credibility in climate change
In that paper, researchers scanned the literature and constructed a “database of 1,372 climate researchers based on authorship of scientific assessment reports and membership on multisignatory statements about ACC [anthropogenic climate change]” as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The researchers then arbitrarily assigned “expert” status to those who had published at least 20 papers. That cut the number of “experts” to 908. In the supporting material at the end of the paper we find that of the original 1,372 researchers, 619 were contributors to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment report, and 212 were signatories to the UN’s Bali declaration. After culling duplicate names, the paper’s authors wound up with 472 “experts” out of tens of thousands of practicing researchers.