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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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The 97% consensus on global warming

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate Advanced

97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.

Climate Myth...

There is no consensus

"[...] And I'll mention that the stat on the 97% of - of scientists is based on one discredited study." (Ted Cruz)

At a glance

What is consensus? In science, it's when the vast majority of specialists agree about a basic principle. Thus, astronomers agree that the Earth orbits around the Sun. Biologists accept that tadpoles hatch out from frog-spawn and grow into adult frogs. Almost all geologists agree that plate tectonics is real and you'd be hard-placed to find a doctor who thinks smoking is harmless.

In each above case, something has been so thoroughly looked into that those who specialise in its study have stopped arguing about its basic explanation. Nevertheless, the above examples were all once argued about, often passionately. That's how progress works.

The reaching of scientific consensus is the product of an often lengthy time-line. It starts with something being observed and ends with it being fully explained. Let's look at a classic and highly relevant example.

In the late 1700s, the Earth-Sun distance was calculated. The value obtained was 149 million kilometres. That's incredibly close to modern measurements. It got French physicist Joseph Fourier thinking. He innocently asked, in the 1820s, something along these lines:

"Why is Planet Earth such a warm place? It should be an ice-ball at this distance from the Sun."

Such fundamental questions about our home planet are as attractive to inquisitive scientists as ripened fruit is to wasps. Fourier's initial query set in motion a process of research. Within a few decades, that research had experimentally shown that carbon dioxide has heat-trapping properties.

Through the twentieth century the effort intensified, particularly during the Cold War. At that time there was great interest in the behaviour of infra-red (IR) radiation in the atmosphere. Why? Because heat-seeking missiles home in on jet exhausts which are IR hotspots. Their invention involved understanding what makes IR tick.

That research led to the publication of a landmark 1956 paper by Gilbert Plass. The paper's title was, “The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climatic Change”. It explained in detail how CO2 traps heat in our atmosphere. Note in passing that Plass used the term "Climatic Change" all the way back then. That's contrary to the deniers' frequent claim that it is used nowadays because of a recent and motivated change in terminology.

From observation to explanation, this is a classic illustration of the scientific method at work. Fourier gets people thinking, experiments are designed and performed. In time, a hypothesis emerges. That is a proposed explanation. It is made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

Once a hypothesis is proposed, it becomes subject to rigorous testing within the relevant specialist science groups. Testing ensures that incorrect hypotheses fall by the wayside, because they don't stand up to scrutiny. But some survive such interrogation. As their supporting evidence mounts up over time, they eventually graduate to become theories.

Theories are valid explanations for things that are supported by an expert consensus of specialists. Gravity, jet aviation, electronics, you name it, all are based on solid theories. They are known to work because they have stood the test of time and prolonged scientific inquiry.

In climate science today, there is overwhelming (greater than 97%) expert consensus that CO2 traps heat and adding it to the atmosphere warms the planet. Whatever claims are made to the contrary, that principle has been established for almost seventy years, since the publication of that 1955 landmark paper.

Expert consensus is a powerful thing. None of us have the time or ability to learn about everything/ That's why we frequently defer to experts, such as consulting doctors when we’re ill.

The public often underestimate the degree of expert consensus that our vast greenhouse gas emissions trap heat and warm the planet. That is because alongside information, we have misinformation. Certain sections of the mass-media are as happy to trot out the latter as the former. We saw a very similar problem during the COVID-19 pandemic and it cost many lives.

For those who want to learn more, a much longer detailed account of the history of climate science is available on this website.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "At a glance" section. Read a more technical version below or dig deeper via the tabs above!


Further details

We know full well that we don’t have the time or capacity to learn about everything, so we frequently defer to the conclusions of experts. Without experienced people using their expertise to perform many vital tasks – and without new people constantly entering such occupations – society would quickly disintegrate.

The same is true of climate change: we defer to the expert consensus of climate scientists. Indeed, public perception of the scientific consensus with regard to global warming has been found to be an important gateway into other enlightened climate-related attitudes - including policy support. 

Nine consensus studies

Let's take a look at summaries of the key studies, featured in the graphic above, into the degree of consensus. These have been based on analyses of large samples of peer-reviewed climate science literature or surveys of climate and Earth scientists. These studies are available online through e.g. Google Scholar. That slightly different methodologies reached very similar conclusions is a strong indicator that those conclusions are robust.

Oreskes 2004

In this pioneering paper, a survey was conducted into all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change', published between 1993 and 2003. The work showed that not a single paper, out of the 928 examined, rejected the consensus position that global warming is man-made. 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way.

Doran & Zimmerman 2009

A survey of 3,146 Earth scientists asked the question, "Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?" Overall, 82% of the scientists answered yes. However, what was most interesting was the type of response compared to the level of expertise in climate science. Of scientists who were non-climatologists and didn't publish research, 77% answered yes. In contrast, 97.5% of actively-publishing climatologists responded yes. As the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement that humans are significantly changing global temperatures. The paper concludes:

"It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely non-existent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists."

Anderegg et al. 2010

This study of 1,372 climate science researchers found that (i) 97–98% of the researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) as outlined by the IPCC and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers. 

Cook et al. 2013

A Skeptical Science-based analysis of over 12,000 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' and 'global warming', published between 1991 and 2011, found that over 97% of the papers taking a position on the subject agreed with the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of the project, the scientist authors were emailed and rated over 2,000 of their own papers. Once again, over 97% of the papers taking a position on the cause of global warming agreed that humans are causing it.

Verheggen et al. 2014

Results were presented from a survey held among 1868 scientists studying various aspects of climate change, including physical climate, climate impacts, and mitigation. The survey was at the time unique in its size, broadness and level of detail. Consistent with other research, it was found that as the level of expertise in climate science grew, so too did the level of agreement on anthropogenic causation. 90% of respondents with more than 10 climate-related peer-reviewed publications (about half of all respondents), explicitly agreed with anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) being the dominant driver of recent global warming. The respondents’ quantitative estimate of the GHG contribution appeared to strongly depend on their judgement or knowledge of the cooling effect of aerosols.

Stenhouse et al. 2014

In a survey of all 1,854 American Meteorological Society members with known e-mail addresses, achieving a 26.3% response rate, perceived scientific consensus was the strongest predictor of views on global warming, followed by political ideology, climate science expertise, and perceived organisational conflict.

Carlton et al 2015

Commenting that the extent to which non-climate scientists are skeptical of climate science had not so far been studied via direct survey, the authors did just that. They undertook a survey of biophysical scientists across disciplines at universities in the Big 10 Conference. Most respondents (93.6%) stated that mean temperatures have risen. Of the subset that agreed temperatures had risen, the following question was then asked of them: "do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?" The affirmative response to that query was 96.66%.

Cook et al. 2016

In 2015, authors of the above studies joined forces to co-author a paper, “Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming”. Two key conclusions from the paper are as follows:

(i) Depending on exactly how you measure the expert consensus, somewhere between 90% and 100% of climate scientists agree humans are responsible for climate change, with most of our studies finding 97% consensus among publishing climate scientists. (ii) The greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.

Lynas et al. 2021

In this paper, from a dataset of 88,125 climate-related peer-reviewed papers published since 2012, these authors examined a randomly-selected subset of 3000 such publications. They also used a second sample-weighted approach that was specifically biased with keywords to help identify any sceptical papers in the whole dataset. Twenty-eight sceptical papers were identified within the original dataset using that approach, as evidenced by abstracts that were rated as implicitly or explicitly sceptical of human-caused global warming. It was concluded that the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change, expressed as a proportion of the total publications, exceeds 99% in the peer reviewed scientific literature.

Myers et al. 2021

This study revisited the 2009 consensus among geoscientists, while exploring different ways to define expertise and the level of agreement among them. The authors sent 10,929 invitations to participate in the survey, receiving 2,780 responses. In addition, the number of scientific publications by these self-identified experts in the field of climate change research was quantified and compared to their survey response on questions about climate change. Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found that agreement on anthropogenic global warming was high at 91% to 100% and generally increases with expertise. Out of a group of 153 independently confirmed climate experts, 98.7% of those scientists agreed that the Earth is warming mostly because of human activities such as burning fossil fuels. Among the subset with the highest level of expertise, these being independently-confirmed climate experts who each published 20+ peer-reviewed papers on climate change between 2015 and 2019, there was 100% agreement.

Public Polls and Consensus

Opinion polls are not absolute in the same way as uncontestable scientific evidence but they nevertheless usefully indicate in which way public thinking is heading. So let's look at a couple taken 13 years apart. A 15-nation World Public Opinion Poll in 2009 PDF), with 13,518 respondents, asked, among other questions, “Is it your impression that among scientists, most think the problem is urgent and enough is known to take action?” Out of all responses, just 51% agreed with that. Worse, in six countries only a minority agreed: United States (38%), Russia (23%), Indonesia (33%), Japan (43%), India (48%), and Mexico (48%). Conversely, the two highest “agree” scores were among Vietnamese (69%) and Bangladeshis (70%) - perhaps unsurprisingly.

The two other options people had to choose from were that “views are pretty evenly divided” (24% of total respondents), or “most think the problem is not urgent, and not enough is known to take action“ (15%). American and Japanese respondents scored most highly on “views are pretty evenly divided” (43 and 44% respectively).

How such a pervasive misperception arose, regarding the expert consensus on climate change, is no accident. Regular readers of this website's resources will know that instead, it was another product of deliberate misinformation campaigning by individuals and organizations in the United States and other nations around the world. These are people who campaign against action to reduce carbon emissions because it suits their paymasters if we continue to burn as much as possible. 

Step forward to 2022 and the situation has perhaps improved, but there's still some way to go. A recent poll, Public Perceptions on Climate change (PDF), was conducted by the Policy Institute, based at King's College London, UK. It quizzed samples of just over 2,000 people from each of six countries (UK, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Italy and Germany). The survey asked the question: “To the best of your knowledge, what percentage of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening?” The following averages were returned: the UK sample thought 65%, the average of the whole survey was 68% and the highest was Ireland at 71%. Clearly, although public perception of expert consensus is growing, there's still plenty of room for strategies to communicate the reality and to shield people from the constant drip-feed of misinformation.

Expert and Public Consensus

Finally, let's consider the differences between expert and public consensus. Expert consensus is reached among those who have studied complex problems and know how to collect and work with data, to identify what constitutes evidence and evaluate it. This is demanding work requiring specific skill-sets and areas of expertise, preparation for which requires years of study and training. 

Public consensus, in contrast, tends to occur only when something is blindingly obvious. For example, a serial misinformer would struggle if they tried running a campaign denying the existence of owls. Everyone already knows that of course there are owls. There is public consensus because we see and hear owls, for real or on the TV or radio. But complex issues are more prone to the antics of misinformers. We saw examples of misinformation during the COVID pandemic, in some cases with lethal outcomes when misinformed people failed to take the risks seriously. There's a strong parallel with climate change: it is imperative we accept the expert consensus and not kick the can down the road until the realisation it is real becomes universal – but utterly inescapable.


Update May 26, 2023: The "At a glance" section was updated to improve readability.

Last updated on 26 May 2023 by John Mason. View Archives

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Further reading

Richard Black at the BBC investigates whether there is a bias against skepticism in the scientific community.

More on what we're talking about when we say "scientific consensus,"  in an essay founded on Denial101x and scientific literature: Scientific Consensus isn’t a “Part” of the Scientific Method: it’s a Consequence of it. (or via archive.org)

Further viewing

The "Climate Denial Crock of the Week" video series examines the list of "32,000 leading skeptical scientists."

Naomi Oreskes gives a thorough presentation of the development of our scientific understanding of anthropogenic global warming:

Lead author John Cook explains the 2016 "Consensus on consensus" paper.

Here is a video summary of the various studies quantifying the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming, as well as the misinformation campaigns casting doubt on the consensus.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Joe Crouch for his efforts in tracking down scientific organizations endorsing the consensus as well as links to their public statements.

Update

On 21 Jan 2012, we revised 'the skeptic argument' with a minor quote formatting correction.

Comments

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Comments 226 to 250 out of 802:

  1. #227 doug_bostrom at 10:22 AM on 2 October, 2010 10:10 needs some grownup supervision. No. They need withdrawal of corporate and government sponsorship.
  2. Perhaps an arrangement may be made wherein government sponsorship of fossil-fuel firms is withdrawn? Meanwhile, I'm wondering if 10:10 is hiding government sponsorship.
  3. #230 doug_bostrom at 10:51 AM on 2 October, 2010 I'm wondering if 10:10 is hiding government sponsorship. It does. About 35,400 results (0.06 seconds) And yes, I agree wholeheartedly, government sponsorship of all private enterprises has to be stopped, including fossil & biofuels, wind, solar, nuclear and oxen energy. Obviously some taxpayer's money should go into basic research, but only if appropriate institutions are installed to make sure politicians don't have their say in how it is distributed. And no IPR tricks, papers written on research done using public money should go into the public domain.
  4. BP #231 Your search is misleading. That's local government agencies who have decided to participate in the campaign, not providers of sponsorship. I hope your extreme libertarian statement is meant to be satirical by the way, as in any other context it makes no sense at all.
  5. BP: ...papers written on research done using public money should go into the public domain. There's broad agreement on that, at least. I'm no expert (on anything) but it looks as though the emerging model going forward is for research budgets to include boosted publication fees, those fees to cover the costs of making publications permanently accessible on a freely available basis. Trying to think of an analogy, the only one coming to mind is unfortunately that of purchasing a plot in a cemetery, where money for the plot pays for upkeep of the cemetery grounds, with no gate fee for those wishing to visit and pay their respects. Stretching the analogy past the snapping point, perhaps we may think of citations as being the equivalent of visitors leaving flowers...
  6. Doug, I tried to work with your analogy but was defeated by the straight face requirement. Perhaps it's more like roads, tunnels and bridges. The authority or other developer's costs are met out of taxes paid by everyone, as are the maintenance costs. There is no restriction on how many kms are driven on those roads by any particular driver or vehicle, taxpayer or otherwise. The current system acts more like a toll road. Not a very wonderful analogy, but you get the idea.
  7. Oh dear, BP's comments were possibly not satirical - I missed the sensible comment among all the extremism ("And no IPR tricks, papers written on research done using public money should go into the public domain."). This is tending to be a requirement in NIH and EU funded research these days. I think we're a bit behind the times here in Australia, although I have an article going into a (free to publish in, and free to retrieve) open access journal sometime soon. But that's an industry-academic partnership body who are trying to raise their profile, so it's a bit different.
  8. #232 kdkd at 13:00 PM on 2 October, 2010 That's local government agencies who have decided to participate in the campaign, not providers of sponsorship. You are kidding, are you? David Cameron announces his ambition spon·sor
    1. One who assumes responsibility for another person or a group during a period of instruction, apprenticeship, or probation.
    2. One who vouches for the suitability of a candidate for admission.
    3. A legislator who proposes and urges adoption of a bill.
    4. One who presents a candidate for baptism or confirmation; a godparent.
    5. One that finances a project or an event carried out by another person or group, especially a business enterprise that pays for radio or television programming in return for advertising time.
    The British government signs up to 10:10, assuming responsibility for the campaign and the group behind it, including a promo depicting reluctant kids to be blown up. A rather generous publicity boost for a private company while shooting themselves in the leg. Hilarious. "Further, and crucially, the solution to carbon emissions will eventually be technological not ideological. Most personal efforts to show willing will in the long-run make no meaningful difference [...] their lobbying activities encourage empty promises rather than sustainable change"
  9. My, what a political turn this thread has taken. If the scientific case against anthropogenic climate change is weak and one has ideological reasons to ignore that, I guess any opportunity for advantage must be seized.
  10. #237 doug_bostrom at 07:20 AM on 3 October, 2010 My, what a political turn this thread has taken. It's still about how to make consensus. The particular method promoted by the 10:10 team is proven to be effective in the short term multiple times throughout history, particularly here, in Central Europe. Should I say we are all too familiar with it? Unfortunately however, it may not work so well in the long run, as sooner or later people are prone to come to their senses.
  11. BP #238 Perhaps you're unaware of the immediate retraction and apology concerning the video by the 10:10 group? Certainly puts your shrill hand wringing in perspective. #236 Maybe - I'm still not convinced. But your google search was misleading as it showed participation in the campaign by a bunch of local government groups. Even adding the word "funding" or "financing" to your search doesn't clarify at all.
  12. Actually BP what's interesting is that from a cognitive perspective faulty "appeals" of the kind 10:10 demonstrated are ineffective; for efficacy, arousal of or appeal to fear must be grounded in reality w/respect to the actual risk at hand and as well must present a clear avenue to reducing the level of fear resulting from the awareness of the particular risk leading to fear. Nobody's going to blow up as a result of leaving their bathroom light on, so we're left to conclude that 10:10 were only guessing about their method of approach. Now if 10:10 were to actually show up on people's doorsteps with the threat of physical violence, different story I'm sure. They didn't do that, they're instead using a crude cognitive bludgeon not properly crafted to achieve its intended effect, akin to putting on a blindfold and a boxing glove, then rummaging in a toolbox and expecting to find the proper wrench for the job at hand. Likening 10:10 to the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit or the like is rather a ridiculous approach in itself. Again, if you're trying to inculcate fear in the audience here so as to engender an effect, you'll want to ground the risk you present in reality, not fantasy.
  13. The world is faced with two dilemmas...
    Response: This is the stump of what became an extended discussion about various alternative energy technologies; very sorry that so many people had their time wasted by a challenging question in the wrong place.

    The topic of the thread is scientific consensus on the reality of climate change.
  14. Roger #244: Several of your assumptions are false. 1: Even taking the high end estimates of future population and economic growth fossil fuels would not run out within 50-100 years. If we squeezed out every last bit we might get 200 years of continual expansion. Prices might rise (barring more cost efficient extraction technologies) to the point that these energy sources would be replaced by others, but they aren't going to run out any time soon. 2: Ditto nuclear power. We'd get less than a hundred years of power in 'once through' type reactors, but with more modern breeder reactors nuclear power could last for thousands of years. 3: Most projections DON'T have population and energy use growing continuously. Indeed, the mainstream view is that both will level off sometime during this century. 4: It is simply false that 'green technology' cannot match the power generated by fossil fuels and uranium. Indeed, potential wind power dwarfs all of those others combined and potential solar power makes wind power look minuscule. Thus, once we have dispensed with the fictions we have considerably more options than 'die off' or 'institute population controls'... aka 'kill off'.
  15. Roger #247: Solar and wind prices are declining while fossil fuel prices are increasing. If we assume these trends will continue then the cost of solar or wind power with an assumed 30 year lifespan is actually ALREADY lower than the cost of a fossil fuel plant (yes, even coal) with an assumed 30 year lifespan and the average projected cost of coal over those 30 years. The point at which the CURRENT price of solar and wind is lower than the CURRENT price of coal for most of the world (it already is in some places, e.g. Hawaii) is still a decade or so off, but since we know the price of coal will rise (as you yourself argue) waiting until that point is short-sighted. "CO2 is at 390 ppmv now and could easily be at 500 ppmv before coal even peaks. Experts say CO2 must be pushed back to 350 ppmv to be safe. Green thinking won't get us there; only downsizing will." Another complete falsity. You could end all human industry and indeed kill off the entire human race and that wouldn't cause the atmospheric CO2 level to drop from the current 390 ppm down to 350 ppm any faster than switching over to 100% nuclear and renewable power. As to BP's 'renewable uses up too much land' argument... in addition to already mentioned offshore wind and space based solar there are; high altitude wind, geothermal, hydropower, tidal, ocean heat flux, and simply citing wind and solar on 'dual use' land... e.g. wind in cornfields and solar over parking lots - more than enough available land.
  16. The AGW arguments rely heavily on feedback loops, and the concensus argument is just about the biggest. A concensus IS a feedback loop. Especially if it exists in a scientific community. How many new students in the climate science field come into the subject without an opinion on global warming? And what it the overwhelming opinion going to be? Pro, of course. If you didn't believe in global warming, you would be crazy to choose climate science as a career. So every new intake is already convinced of AGW, generally because of the concensus. There is your feedback loop, concensus naturally reinforces concensus and actually increases it. In fact, in any field, most "experts" are understandaby apologists for the concensus. There is an incredibly similar situation in the field of Bible study. The huge majority of people entering the profession are already believers. What happens when they study in depth, and maybe experience some doubts? Here's a good article "Biblical Scholars Here's another well written piece on why most "experts" are apologists for the concensus: Most experts are apologists for the concensus .
  17. Mistermack, The difference in religious studies and science is that science is self-correcting, using the most rigorous methodology of discovery humans have ever invented. Providing links to arguments about religious experts tells us absolutely nothing about science or the field of climatology. Your statements regarding a "consensus" are yet another Argument by Assertion, a logical fallacy. I strongly suggest you spend some time at the Fallacy Files before posting here again. You'll be able to make a stronger case for your point of view.
  18. Truevoice, firstly, are you saying then that the scientific consensus is never wrong? I'm afraid I have to disagree. And you don't attempt to refute my points, you are simply argueing by assertion yourself. I think you should reread your own link, and look up "irony".
  19. Mistermack @242 says: A concensus IS a feedback loop. Especially if it exists in a scientific community. There is scientific consensus on General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and Darwinian Evolution ... Does that mean they're wrong ? Why should it for climate science ? There is an incredibly similar situation in the field of Bible study. I had a friend that lost her faith studying Theology. Her view was that the lecturers threw every argument against religion at the students to ensure students could overcome any "doubts". For her the doubts got the better of her. She was quite bitter about it :-(
  20. Hi Phil, from the little I know, QM and GR contradict each other in places, and both fail when applied to the very beginning of the big bang. However, my real argument would be that most science can be verified by experiment, and maths by proof. Climate science is brand new, with no track record, and has a record of NO correct predictions so far. ( I mean real predictions, not retro ).
    Response: You are wrong. In the Search field type "Models are Unreliable."
  21. @mistermack: "How many new students in the climate science field come into the subject without an opinion on global warming? And what it the overwhelming opinion going to be? Pro, of course." This is irrelevant. Most people believe in AGW because the evidence is there, and the science is convincing. One has to be pretty arrogant to assume that the majority of people going into climate science are led by irrational belief rather than actual scientific knowledge. "If you didn't believe in global warming, you would be crazy to choose climate science as a career." It's not a matter of belief, but of logical reasoning. We accept AGW as very likely true because the evidence clearly suggests it is. "So every new intake is already convinced of AGW, generally because of the concensus." The consensus exists because the science is pretty compelling. The fact the science is so compelling is the reason many contrarians choose not to debate the science, but rather attack the integrity of those who understand it by claiming (without evidence) they are victim of groupthink. This is what you're trying to do now. It's insulting, not to mention factually wrong. "In fact, in any field, most "experts" are understandaby apologists for the concensus." And that means they are wrong? Is a doctor an apologist for treatment because he's an expert in it? Is a general an apologist for good military strategy because he's an expert? Your position seems to be that the more someone knows about something, the less we should trust that person. That's nothing more than ole' fashioned anti-intellectualism. the bane of scientific thought. You assume the experts are wrong simply because you don't agree with the conclusion...that's not a logical position. "There is an incredibly similar situation in the field of Bible study. The huge majority of people entering the profession are already believers." Actually, the situation is very different, because Bible study isn't empirical science. It's simply the study of Christian religious texts. Again, you try to attack the reputation of those you disagree with, this time by likening them to religious people. The sad thing is that, by espousing false ideas not based on logic and trying to discredit honest scientists, *you* are the one acting like the anti-sciece fanatical religious fringe.
  22. Mistermack @246 most science can be verified by experiment No, science is verified by observation. Experimentation is, of course, just a "fast track" way of making observations. For some sciences, (Astronomy, Ethology, Geology) experimentation is difficult, if not impossible; for others (Economics, Human Development) experimentation can be considered immoral. Climate science is actually largely, if not entirely, the application of physics and a little bit of chemistry to a specific system - the Earth and its atmosphere. Experiments pertaining to climate science, and indeed think about the effects of CO2 on the energy balance have been going on for about 150 years.
  23. Actually the first relatively back-of-the-envelope style calculations of the net effects of CO2 forcing were remarkably close to what we're seeing, mistermack. The earlier model predictions also produced results that can be considered reasonably useful in light of how things have since progressed. Early calculations were done some 50 years ago or more, model runs were first being done over 30 years in the past, so this is hardly "brand new." One can of course say, "oh, they were just lucky" but that's really not sufficient.
  24. Archie, if the evidence was as overwhelming as you say, I wouldn't waste my time looking. I know for a fact that the evidence is debateable, because I've done a lot of looking, much more that the average student intake. I think I am therefore well justified in my conclusion that most people are initially convinced by the "consensus" rather than evidence. You mention doctors, but many doctors are also homeopaths, and many are "experts" in homeopathy. The concencus of experts in homeopathy would be overwhelmingly supporting the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies. Same applies to Chirpractic. I'm not saying that climate science is as silly as these, I'm just pointing out that a consensus is naturally self perpetuating, till it's disproved. That's why the consensus on AGW is totally valueless, as evidence.
  25. Phil, you can talk up climate science all you like, it involves physics and chemistry, but that's where the similarity ends. You can make predictions in physics and chemistry, and verify them. In climate science, you can't even predict next year's trend. But you can grandly predict the trend for the next century. Without the slightest risk of being proved wrong.
    Response: You are solidly in the topic of a different thread now: "Models are Unreliable." Use the Search field at the top left of this page.

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