I first wanted to say thank you for holding your scientific position here in the face of ignorant objections.
AthanasiusKircher, this sort of research is as profoundly unscientific as it comes (including the stuff you quote from Cook et al). And your comments are just as bad. For example, consensus about what?
Notice that the alleged 97% consensus is relatively accurate when the claim is that there is global warming. It goes down once you add that the global warming is human-induced. And then it goes down much further when the claim is that the impact is catastrophic or severe over the next 50 to 100 years to 41%. 41% is a bit less than 97%, right?
I suspect you will find similar divided opinion on the matter of whether immediate mitigation efforts are required right now.
James L. Powell's 99.99% paper is ridiculous and you can see that just by looking through the methodology. It doesn't measure what it claims to measure. You can't get more damning than that. Yet once again, we have these slashdot posts talking about scientific positions and holding the line in the face of "ignorant objections".
You may not like Powell, but he is entirely clear about his methodologies, about how he measures what he measures, and about what data he used. You can certainly disagree with his conclusion, but if you want to be taken serious, you should actually do the work of re-doing the analysis with the same transparency and provide a clear argument for your different interpretation (if it still differs - "Powell is totally wrong, the consensus is only 99.3%" ;--).
I think we are now into infinite regression territory. Everybody who is scientifically literate and looks at the primary literature (and by than I don't mean propaganda blogs) can easily determine the prevailing position. And with a bit of experience in reviewing it's also easy to see the quality (rare) and scope (narrow) of the very few disagreeing publications. But that apparently is not good enough, and we get nit-picking from people who don't like the consensus. What we don't see are significant publications providing alternative explanations.
So now we have meta-analyses, where people go to great length to analyse papers, to count positions, to interview scientists, and to publish their findings in the peer-reviewed literature. But that apparently is not good enough either, and we get nit-picking from people who don't like the consensus. What we don't see are significant academic publications showing that there is indeed no consensus - the best we get is the occasional opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal or the 17 year old fraudulent Oregon Petition.
What's next? Meta-meta studies? Meta-meta-meta-studies? As far as I can tell, the opposition to the consensus is largely immune to rational arguments - "global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese" is one of the more prominent stupidities in this field.