Most folks know the story of The Emperor's New Clothes. It ends when the innocent little boy says the truth, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" Then all the people are no longer scared to admit the truth, and they acknowledge the emperor is indeed naked, and everyone lives happily ever after. (Except the emperor's two weavers, who die mysteriously of radiation poisoning a few months later.)
But I propose a different, "Fractured Fairy Tales" ending, in which the people shout down the boy: "You don't know what you're talking about! Look at the weave! It's extraordinary!" The boy then tries several more times to demonstrate why the emperor is indeed naked (such as describing moles in private places). The people then shout that the boy is a Clothing Denier. And the boy eventually shrugs and gives up.
I've had a similar experience recently, trying to point out John Cook's (and others') misrepresentation of the paper, "Quantifying the Consensus on Global Warming." Specifically John Cook wrote, in a later published paper, "Of the 4,014 abstracts that expressed a position on the issue of human-induced climate change, Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause."
This is an absolutely blatant misrepresentation of the paper. To put it more bluntly, John Cook is lying. There is simply no way on earth that, "Of the 4,014 abstracts that expressed a position on the issue of human-induced climate change, Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause."
To get into details, the paper has 7 categories, and here are the number of abstracts in the various categories:
(1) Explicit endorsement with quantification = 64 abstracts.
(2) Explicit endorsement without quantification = 922 abstracts.
(3) Implicit endorsement = 2910 abstracts.
(5) Implicit rejection = 54 abstracts.
(6) Explicit rejection without quantification = 15 abstracts.
(7) Explicit rejection with quantification = 9 abstracts.
Category (4) isn't presented above, because only Categories 1-3 and 5-7 are important to the paper. There are 3896 abstracts in Categories 1-3 and 78 abstracts in Categories 5-7, adding up to a total of 3974 abstracts. Then there were 40 abstracts rated as "uncertain" with respect to anthropogenic global warming ("AGW").
The main point is that Cook et al. get the "over 97%" of abstracts by summing all the papers in Categories 1 to 3. However, of those first 3 categories, only "Category 1" truly fits the characterization as "...the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause." So only 64 out of the 4,014 abstracts meet that characterization.
To see how much abstracts in Category 3 do not meet the characterization of, "...the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause" one simply needs to read a few abstracts in Category 3. For example, there's the abstract: Is the extent of glaciation limited by marine gas-hydrates?
"Methane may have been released to the atmosphere during the Quaternary from Arctic shelf gas-hydrates as a result of thermal decomposition caused by climatic warming and rising sea-level; this release of methane (a greenhouse gas) may represent a positive feedback on global warming [Revelle, 1983; Kvenvolden, 1988a; Nisbet, 1990]. We consider the response to sea-level changes by the immense amount of gas-hydrate that exists in continental rise sediments, and suggest that the reverse situation may apply—that release of methane trapped in the deep-sea sediments as gas-hydrates may provide a negative feedback to advancing glaciation. Methane is likely to be released from deep-sea gas-hydrates as sea-level falls because methane gas-hydrates decompose with pressure decrease. Methane would be released to sediment pore space at shallow sub-bottom depths (100's of meters beneath the seafloor, commonly at water depths of 500 to 4,000 m) producing zones of markedly decreased sediment strength, leading to slumping [Carpenter, 1981; Kayen, 1988] and abrupt release of the gas. Methane is likely to be released to the atmosphere in spikes that become larger and more frequent as glaciation progresses. Because addition of methane to the atmosphere warms the planet, this process provides a negative feedback to glaciation, and could trigger deglaciation."
There is nothing in this abstract that says, "The earth is warming up"...let alone that "human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause." The whole abstract (and paper) are about events that happened long before the Industrial Revolution!
Similarly, there is the abstract: On the nature of methane gas-hydrate dissociation during the Toarcian and Aptian Oceanic anoxic events.
The magnitude and timing of a major rapid negative carbon-isotope excursion recorded in marine and terrestrial matter through the Early Toarcian (Early Jurassic) and Early Aptian (Early Cretaceous) oceanic anoxic events (OAEs) have been proposed to be the result of large methane gas-hydrate dissociation events. Here, we develop and evaluate a global carbon-isotope mass-balance approach for determining the responses of each component of the exogenic carbon cycle (terrestrial biosphere, atmosphere and ocean). The approach includes a dynamic response of the terrestrial carbon cycle to methane-related CO2 increases and climatic warming. Our analyses support the idea that both the Early Toarcian and Early Aptian isotopic curves were indicative of large episodic methane releases (∼5000 and ∼3000 Gt respectively) promoting warm ‘greenhouse’ conditions in the Mesozoic. These events are calculated to have increased the atmospheric CO2 concentration by ∼900 and ∼600 ppmv respectively and land surface temperatures by 2.5° to 3.0°C. However, we show that much of the methane released from oceanic sediments is rapidly sequestered by terrestrial and marine components in the global carbon cycle, and this effect strongly attenuated the potential for ancient methane gas-hydrate dissociation events to act as major amplifiers in global warming. An increase in oceanic carbon sequestration is consistent with the deposition of globally distributed black shales during these OAEs. Our analyses point to the urgent need for high-resolution marine and terrestrial carbon-isotope records to better characterize the nature of the Toarcian and Aptian events and improve our interpretation of their consequences for the global carbon cycle.
Not only is this abstract about times before the Industrial Revolution, it's about times long before humanity even existed! But somehow, according to John Cook (and others), this abstract demonstrates that, "the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause." On the blog, "And Then There's Physics," I attempted to explain how the Cook et al. "Consensus" paper is being misrepresented by Cook et al. But the crowd there simply would not believe that the emperor had no clothes. They insisted they could see the clothes. Eventually, a boy has to say, "Whatever."
But the emperor is still naked, and John Cook et al. are still misrepresenting the results of their paper. Their paper most emphatically did not find that, "Of the 4,014 abstracts that expressed a position on the issue of human-induced climate change, ...over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause."