A bouquet to Heather Moreno and Roberta Fonzi for questioning the dire predictions in the draft Atascadero Climate Action Plan. Instead of blindly accepting language from other CAPs, they demonstrated skepticism despite the claim repeatedly made at the meeting and in The Tribune that 97 percent of scientists believe man-made climate change is a problem.
The 97 percent figure is derived from so-called consensus studies and is a prime example for lying with statistics. For example, the 2009 study by Doran and Zimmerman conducted an online survey of 10,257 earth scientists 7,111 did not respond. Out of a total of 3,146 responses, 79 were selected for further analysis because they were from individuals who identified themselves as climate scientists. Two of the 79 did not believe that there had been significant global warming since 1800.
Seventy-five of the remaining 77 stated that human activity (all activity and not just CO2) is a significant factor in global warming. Seventy-five out of 77 equals 97 percent, but that is hardly a consensus among the 10,257 asked to respond. Other studies have similar weaknesses.
Moreno and Fonzi drilled down on the issue of climate change and questioned popular dogma. Our other elected officials and civil servants would do well to emulate such critical thinking.