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Climate Consensus on a T-shirt

Posted on 10 June 2011 by John Cook

A new survey by George Mason University shows only 15% of Americans correctly understand that the great majority of climate scientists think that global warming is caused mostly by human activities. This is not a happy statistic. Back when I posted an infographic on the scientific consensus on climate change, Skeptical Science reader veryred suggested putting the infographic on a T-shirt. I was immediately taken with the idea of climate geeks walking the streets with the 97% scientific consensus on their chest. Okay, not quite a fashion statement that will attract the opposite sex, it might even get you beaten up in the schoolyard, but certainly a creative way to get the climate message out there. So I've set up a Skeptical Science CafePress store and the scientific consensus on climate change is now available as a T-shirt:


Of course, the beauty of CafePress is they make it very easy to put your graphic on a range of other products. I'm keeping it simple for now - just a few different types of shirts and coffee mugs. If there's some particular CafePress piece of merchandise you'd like to see added, just post a comment here - it takes a few clicks for me to add another product.


The observant SkS reader will notice this design is a little different to our original infographic. There was some debate among SkS authors about whether this new design or the original was better. So I'm also offering the original design to see which is the more popular (and to determine which SkS authors are right or wrong about which is the better design :-)



Note: the 97% figure comes from two different surveys - Doran et al 2009 and Anderegg et al 2010. Both use different methodologies and sample sizes (Anderegg has a much larger sample of climate scientists) but arrive at the same answer. I use the term 'climate experts' by which I mean climate scientists actively publishing climate research in the peer-reviewed literature. More on the scientific consensus...

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Comments 1 to 33:

  1. The 2nd/original is MUCH better. I spent a while trying to find the graphic on the 1st on this page. I shall be purchasing. Hopefully you get some money out of the deal.
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  2. Brilliant, thanks! Shall put this on my birthday prezzie wish-list.
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  3. Shoot! Just realized you have 17 scientists per row in the original graphic. If it is 100 - can't we have the words on top and 5 rows of 20 - or the top graphic (10/10) and the words on the back? That would be the BEST EVER! It would also be really, really cool to juxtapose the following two statements: 15% of Americans know this (on the front, with the graphic) 97% of all climate experts agree we're causing global warming. I actually like that even better than the "BEST EVER" idea above. It creates a little mystery when you look at the front of the shirt. It becomes a conversation starter. It also works if you swap the text front to back. Still a conversation starter.
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  4. "97% of all climate experts agree we're causing global warming." goes on the back. I NEED an edit button around here!
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  5. Curse you and your organic cotton offering - now I'll have to be right on and buy the more expensive one! As a sometime graphic-designer I'd have to say the big text and square format works better and will have much greater impact at a distance, which is a good thing, given what some reactions may well be like! Ah, the conversations I shall have on the train... There could certainly be a case for the text above and the square 10 x 10 graphic, but see above! Hope you sell a truckload - will there be a Parliamentary edition of these, too? ;-)
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  6. I must agree with bill about the larger print of the first design giving the message more clearly - especially on the coffee mug. The mug is probably what I'll buy since wearing that T-shirt arount my workplace would lead to the 'beaten up in the schoolyard' scenario.
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  7. Shouldn't you be wearing that as a tattoo?
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  8. Yeah, but it's only 97% of scientists who wear t-shirts while they drink coffee ... Just teasing ... but it wouldn't surprise me to see that counter-argument show up at WUWT!
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  9. It does raise the question about the 3% of climate experts that don't agree! What are they uncertain about? Have they spotted a piece of blue sky in the climate jigsaw that's incorrectly placed or something that will bring the whole climate house of cards down? Or did they get their qualifications of the back of a corn flakes packet?
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    Response: [JC] To be precise, the Doran 2009 paper finds 1% are skeptics, 2% are undecided.
  10. In true Skeptical Science spirit you also add the peer reviewed reference in tiny print at the bottom of the shirt :) (Doran et al 2009 and Anderegg et al 2010) I prefer the later design. It is more aesthetic, the infograph gets more impact by being fully visable, which in turn prompts the viewer to read the words above it.
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    Response: [JC] Add the peer-reviewed references? The shirt isn't geeky enough already?! :-)
  11. Who do I talk to to get access to the graphics so we can have the T's and mugs printed in NZ? It won't be worth trying to mail the items halfway round the world.
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  12. It won't be worth trying to mail the items halfway round the world.
    Has Australia recently drifted further away from NZ? My receipt definitely comes from, and the postage rate certainly suggested it was local!
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    Response: [JC] Hmm, I ordered from Brisbane and my receipt came from - but the shipping was only $5 so that seems local. And it turns out there is an Australian version at I'm not 100% sure of how international shipping works and the CafePress site isn't that helpful in explaining.
  13. Nice job John :)
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  14. I reckon a "Hockey Stick League" t-shirt would be a winner. Temperature, Atmospheric CO2, Human CO2, net forcing, and some 'inverse' hockey sticks for, say, arctic ice, permafrost, oxygen, CO2 isotope ratios, etc where available. The more the merrier, arranged on a grid, highlighting the many lines of evidence. Very tempted to pick up one of those mugs. I kind of like both versions. The second is more informative (due to the clearer graphic), but the first has more impact.
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  15. How does the 97% compare to other science disagreements? And is there a summary of what the other 3% think is happening? I assume that 100% of climate scientists agree that global warming is occurring?
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  16. Great site I have been reading for a long time but never posted. I like the shirt and cup but how long until the "deniers" claim this site is on the take. Raking in the cash from cup and shirt sales. :)
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    [DB] It's just a pittance compared to the vast billions in government grant money siphoned into our Swiss bank accounts, er, um...  /snark.

  17. As an invisible sks supporter I recently had a T-shirt made with the "indicators of warming" graphic on it. Underneath it has the question "what are we doing?" and the sks web address. It was a one off, it is a bit busy, but hopefully is good advertising and the question forces people to think.
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  18. i definitely vote for the bottom (original?) one!
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  19. bcs the visual impact, i think, is key -- & it's very easy to miss that with the top one (i did at first)
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  20. Like the T-Shirt - I suspect these clever people would like it to, have a watch... Clear concise and to the point by individuals who are qualified and have genuine experience and are therefore considered experts ergo they qualified to perform risk analysis for us.
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  21. I think the top design (10x10) looks more logical and pleasing to the eye (proportionally), and immediately presents the message graphically. Although maybe the text would be a little less bold, so that the design stands out more - but that would just be nit-picking ! It would be nice to see a design using the 10 Temperature Records, or one with the various 'hockey-sticks' - the Hockey Team ? And what about the penguin and the seedling...
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  22. Whatever you do, I strongly prefer the 10x10 over the 5.882x17; especially if the goal is effective messaging to the non-committed public. IMO, I'd like to see the go to the back, which would free up space to drop the 2 grey and 1 red guys onto their own lines with an explanation ("undecided" and "skeptical"). If you aren't going to explain them, make 'em the same color (grey). Mark USA PS When can we see a shirt with Dana's awesome Observed vs IPCC CO2 graph?
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  23. Well, just to be contrary... I like the Tshirt with the big lettering, and the mug with the text and graphic separated.
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  24. Cool idea, and I would totally buy one if only you had used the more correct term of "climate change" instead of global warming. We should stop using the phrase "global warming" because it invites more skepticism whenever there are weather events that people point to and say "see its not getting warmer!", as I'm sure you know...
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  25. I like it, but it's still an argument from consensus, and worry that it will be represented as a bandwagoning attempt by doubters and denialists. I'd prefer something a little more direct. Perhaps "Your Hum-Vee is diminishing the quality of life of my grandchildren" is a little too pugnacious. Maybe a top ten list is better: FRONT Top Ten Reasons Why Global Warming is Not a Problem
    1. God will fix everything.
    2. Technology will save us.
    3. Companies and corporations will begin to practice “ethical capitalism.”
    4. Gaia will bring balance back.
    5. More warming = more destruction = more jobs.
    6. The Arctic Ocean will be open for shipping.
    7. The physics is all wrong (that’s what this ex-meteorologist says on his blog).
    8. More CO2 = more plant food (I’m moving to northern Saskatchewan to grow corn).
    9. More CO2 = fewer coral reefs = safer surfing (yeah, baby!).
    10. Extreme weather events will mainly kill poor people, so poverty will end.
    Click here to learn more: BACK Top Ten Reasons Why Global Warming is a Problem
    1. Sea level rise
    2. Drought
    3. Flooding
    4. Water shortages
    5. Agricultural disruption
    6. Human migration
    7. Plant, animal, and insect extinctions and migrations
    8. Increased weather intensity
    9. Greater energy demands
    10. (related) A more acid ocean
    Click here to learn more: Perhaps have citations for each of the Back ten. Of course, I'd switch the ordering to lead with the tenth. The "click here" is just to get people to touch. Everyone likes to be touched. I'm a little touched myself.
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  26. detroitsylz @24, if they do, you can point out that one cold day does not a winter make. Everybody knows that a cold day, or week in a Northern Hemisphere May (or Southern Hemisphere November) does not mean that summer has been skipped this year and that Winter has come already. They know the vagaries of weather are not the same thing as the seasonal cycle, and that following that cold day, its going to get warmer, indeed much warmer before summer finally fades. So, if they are open to reason, they will also appreciate that one cold month (or year) does not end the trend of global warming. If they are not open to reason, on the other hand, they've probably heard the claim that scientists changed the name from "global warming" to "climate change" to conceal the fact that their theory had failed in the face of no warming. That, like many denier claims, is transparently false, but it means you do not get any rhetorical advantage from switching names.
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  27. I think the second is more effective because it puts the visual emphasis (many people are visual) on the relative quantities, and the words are there for clarification. The first would be okay, if the figures in the back popped more, maybe by using a lighter shade for the words (or darker shades for the bodies), or by using outlines instead of solid coloring for the words.
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  28. Consider this (although maybe it still could be a little darker, or more saturated, on the lettering):
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  29. Tom, Detroit, I think the change from global warming to climate change just caused confusion. Using global climate disruption will add even more fuel to the fire. Out of habit, I have stuck with global warming, but see people using the terms interchangeably. As far as the shirts and mugs go, I dislike them all. Mainly because I am not a big fan of using the Doran survey.
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  30. DSL @25, I share your concerns; the Galileo movement will be up in arms ;) Hopefully this will be one of a series of T-shirts that portray/reflect the many independent lines of evidence that corroborate the theory of AGW.
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  31. I reckon that the second tshirt design would be better, speaking as a girl. It's awkward when people try to read the writing on your tshirt by staring at your chest. I'd much rather have the writing higher up.
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  32. I'd imagine people who wear this shirt will get themselves involved in some interesting confrontations. The fact that it's a statistic, rather than just a picture of a swimming polar bear or something, should make it more inviting for debate. In a few months, it would be cool to post another blog article asking for those who purchased this shirt to comment on their experiences. I'm sure there will be some good stories to come from wearing this.
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  33. Dawei I don't know about anywhere else, but I doubt if anyone wearing the shirt in the UK is going to have a problem, unless of course you attend an denier/skeptic event or are actively campaigning for reductions in carbon emissions.
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