Complexity, Energy crisis, Policy, Psychology, Social development, Truth

Dear Leonardo, …about that 97% consensus…

Yesterday I saw a brief speech by Leonardo di Caprio imploring people to vote – not for the candidate who ignores science. He was talking about the scientific consensus on global warming and mentioned that 97% of all scientists agree that global warming climate change is a man-made phenomenon. This 97% consensus figure is so compelling, it is only fair to explore where it came from.

Where “97% consensus” comes from

One Margaret Zimmerman conducted an opinion survey in 2008. The “survey” consisted of a two-question online questionnaire sent to 10,257 “earth scientists” (?), of whom 3,146 responded. Of these responding scientists, 96.2% were from North America and of those only 6.2% were from Canada. From this sample, 79 researchers were selected and were declared the “experts.” Further, two were excluded from the second, supplementary question. In this well-vetted sample, 97.4% were found to support the consensus that the Earth is at catastrophic risk from anthropomorphic global climate change.

So, from her very impressive rolo-dex of “earth scientists,” Zimmerman pitched her questionnaire to a very narrow segment essentially from one nation, from which she selected a tiny sample to declare that 97% of experts agree bla, bla, bla. Ever since, the media has used this “consensus” to shame anyone who dares disagree as an unscientific simpleton or a paid shill of the oil industry.

Only very recently has James Lovelock, author of “the Gaia Theory,” and the godfather to many of these “earth scientists” come to reject the consensus himself. The man who once predicted that global warming would kill billions now rightly says that climate alarmism is not “remotely scientific,” that the computer models climatologists use to contrive their dire forecasts aren’t reliable, and that anyone who thinks they can predict farther than five to ten years into the future is an idiot (his words, not mine).

If we are to make positive change for humanity’s future, it is essential that our action be based on accurate and truthful understanding of our world. Zealous attachment to any agenda is dangerous if the agenda is based on a misunderstanding of the relevant issues. I’ve come to believe in our collective wisdom: if you give the people the truth, cut out the bureaucrats and their anointed experts, the people will come up with good solutions. And that makes the truth worth fighting for.


Alex Krainer is an author and hedge fund manager based in Monaco. Recently he has published the book “Mastering Uncertainty in Commodities Trading“.


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