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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 501 to 525 out of 955:

  1. Jdey123, what do you make of that paper from Hansen et al. 11 years ago? Did you read the whole thing, and do you think that Hansen currently thinks that CO2 is not the dominant forcing where recent warming is concerned? It's easy to point to abstracts and say, "see! see!," but perhaps you can tell us what you think the paper says. I do note that it does say that CO2 and CH4 are the principal GHGs.
  2. Jdey #497 It's hard to forecast the weather more than a few days ahead, yet amazingly we can have (in the NH) real confidence that June will be warmer than December, and that June's temperature will lie within a particular range. GHGs play the role of the height of the Sun in the climate version of this analogy - the strong longer-term forcing that does not immediately dominate the vagaries of day-to-day weather, but inevitably wins in the end. Scientific theories are the best we have (read up on what a theory is). What are scientific 'facts'?
  3. I dont think Hansen 2000 establishes a crack in the consensus. The uncertainties were quickly resolved and in Hansen et al, 2002: "Climate forcings in Goddard Institute for Space Studies SI2000 simulations" Hansen was able to conclude: "The greenhouse gas forcings are known with reasonably good accuracy. CO2 (1.4 W/m2) has the largest forcing, but the CH4 forcing is half as large when its indirect effects on stratospheric H2O and tropospheric O3 are included, and the sum of non-CO2 greenhouse gas forcings exceeds the CO2 forcing." AR4 papers improve on that. The current knowledge on greenhouse attribution can be found in Schmidt et al 2010. Got anything that challenges that paper?
  4. In the Crock of the Week video above, I thought the stuff about characters from Deliverance was un-called for, showed class prejudice, and was counter-productive. Snobbishness and elitism is no way to convince climate change denialists. I've known lots of dolks with Appalachian roots, and this is offensive.
  5. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists just moved the Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight (11:55). Meaningless to the science, but something worth noting anyway within the domain of climate science communication. From the report in the Guardian: "A number of the scientists who took part in the deliberations said they were also dismayed by a growing trend to disregard science." "On climate change, the scientists warned the global community may be reaching a point of no-return unless there is a push to begin building alternatives to carbon-heavy technologies within the next five years."
  6. Not that having a consensus is necessary to validate a theory, but just dealing with this argument, the first sentence of the article "Science achieves a consensus when scientists stop arguing.", would say there isn't a consensus since scientists are clearly still arguing!
  7. Consensus means that a large majority of people, or in this case scientists, agree that something is happening. There is obviously not consensus since not all scientists agree on whats happening or whats causing it. The large debate going on here is proof of that fact. Obviously there isn't enough information because science is fact and if the evidence was in there would be a consensus. Science is clear and if there was proof that the world was getting warmer or even not getting warmer scientist would agree and make up there mind like they did with gravity! Thank you
  8. YellowElephant @507 - you just contradicted yourself, first saying consensus is "a large majority", then saying there is no consensus because "not all scientists agree". Which is it, a majority, or unanimity? You were right the first time - consensus is a majority. In the case of man-made global warming, it's a vast majority (over 97% of scientific experts in agreement), as discussed in the post above.
  9. There is obviously not consensus since not all scientists agree on whats happening or whats causing it.
    Perhaps you can clarify here, YellowElephant, as to which scientists disagree. Are they climatologists or scientists in closely-related disciplines? And what is the basis of their disagreement? To my knowledge, even abject contrarians such as Spencer & Lindzen agree that heat-trapping gases (CO2, CH4, H2O, etc) cause global warming and that humans have emitted significant amounts of long-lasting heat-trapping gases. Their points of disagreement with the mainstream position lie elsewhere. When over 97% of scientists with relevant expertise agree on the basics of AGW and, as far as I am aware, every major national scientific body (NAS, Royal Society, &c) agree with the major conclusions of climatology as identified by the IPCC, and when even contrarian scientists agree with the basics, then IMO there is no "large debate" going on at all. Instead, there is what medical blogger Orac calls a 'manufactroversy'(*), where non-scientific interests attempting to defend or upend a status quo rely on various contrary arguments, increasingly of poor quality, to create the illusion of a genuine scientific debate. ----- (*) I'm not certain that Orac coined the term, however his use of it is the first I am aware of. (Orac blogs elsewhere under his real name, so my pronoun use is correct.)
  10. YellowElephant, you can easily tell when a consensus has been reached by working scientists and scientific organizations. Consensus occurs when scientists stop spending time, money, and energy to test hypotheses within an area. People stopped working on testing the radiative properties of atmospheric gases decades ago. The radiative properties of CO2 are well-established. Now, you might get the odd working engineer or geologist who doesn't understand the idea of pressure broadening, and who will make a claim like "CO2 effect is saturated!" The basics of AGW are old hat, even though blog sciency types keep making bizarre claims about them. Actual science has long since moved on to build successfully on those basics. As far as the human element goes, I've never heard an argument from a working scientist that makes the claim that we are not the source of the additional atmospheric CO2. I've read the opinion and work of hundreds and hundreds of working scientists who readily accept the mass balance argument corroborated by isotope studies. If you think you have evidence that there is not a consensus, present it. Change my mind. I take it that you have no time, energy, or training to work on understanding the science yourself. If that is the case (as it is with most of the general population), ask yourself why you believe what you believe. Why believe source X (who argues with great passion but no evidence) rather than source Y (who argues with evidence from a broad range of scientific disciplines).
  11. So a consensus in science is different from a political one.
    In theory, yes. Does though assume that scientists behave as scientists ought to, eg making their data available etc etc, and more generally searching for truth rather than pushing an agenda. Which, when the sole funder of a science is political institutions, may be easier said than done. And so an apparent science consensus may in reality be a political consensus in disguise.
  12. Example, Punksta? The social construction of knowledge via the scientific method takes the garbage out eventually. The more scrutiny the discipline gets, the quicker the garbage is taken out. I can't think of a discipline that is not funded by a political institution(s). Solely? Probably not. I keep thinking of Jeffrey Wigand's research while he was working for a tobacco company. He did good work, but he wasn't allowed to publish his findings (often the case with private research). The scientist wasn't the problem, though. Wigand wasn't pushing an agenda (well, not true - he was working on smoke-free cigarettes and that may be why he decided to work for the company); the political institution (the company) was the corrupting force (well, it didn't force Wigand to lie about his findings; it just prevented publication either in physical expression (engineered product) or in sharing with the rest of the world). The diversification and dispersal of science throughout the university system is a good way to keep politics (in the mainstream sense) from taking a heavy hand in most sciences.
  13. The best evidence of consensus on ACC appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienc (PNAS), April 9, 2010 (Anderegga, Prallb, Haroldc, and Schneidera). Does anyone have something more recent or definitive? Abstract Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.
  14. By the way, the SkS article here (in the "intermediate tab") gives a beautiful graph, but not as much text information as appears in the Abstract above (503)...e.g. the 1,372 climate researchers figure. It would also help to know more about the selection criteria for the dataset of respondants. Can anyone provide with a link to the full article?
    Response: [DB] The abstract has a link to the full article, on the right side of the page. It is also found here.
  15. OPEN ISSUES: Does the statement, “From 82% of earth scientists to 98% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.” accurately reflect what the studies show? It is unclear that the two studies cited here (Doran 2009 and Anderegg 2010) adequately represent contrarian views. Does either study eliminate elitism or biased sampling? The Doran study was not a random sample, but rather a reflection of about 30% who took the time to respond to an on-line study. The respondents were almost exclusively American. Are there studies or polls from other countries that show similar results? Anderegg et al started with a database of 1,372 climate researchers based on authorship of scientific assessment reports and membership on multisignatory statements about ACC. “We provide a broad assessment of the relative credibility of researchers convinced by the evidence (CE) of ACC and those unconvinced by the evidence (UE) of ACC.” Their Materials and Methods explains how this was done. “We then imposed an a priori criterion that a researcher must have authored a minimum of 20 climate publications to be considered a climate researcher, thus reducing the database to 908 researchers.” They claim this did not materially alter results, but they later state, “researchers with fewer than 20 climate publications comprise ≈80% the UE group, as opposed to less than 10% of the CE group. In other words, they removed 80% of the initial UE group, and only 10% of the CE, Can we cite more recent studies, or polls taken among climate scientists of other countries and different affiliations? Sites like World Climate Review will throw an elephant through any cracks we give them. PROPOSED DISCLAIMER: No poll or survey is perfect. Error margins should be expected.
  16. Tom, the point of Anderegg is to assess the consensus among climate experts, and in their opinion people with fewer than 20 climate-related publications are not experts. You may disagree with that definition of expertise, but it doesn't reflect "bias". I'm not aware of any more recent studies, but as it so happens, the SkS team is currently working on the definitive demonstration of the AGW consensus.
  17. Dana, I was surprised that the threshold for “expert” (20+ published papers) was so high. But I'm not a researcher, so maybe that is reasonable. The authors were admirably clear as to why and how they determined “expert” vs. “non-expert”, which was the main point of their study. Still, trying to play the Devil's Advocate of a contrarian, eliminating (1,372 - 908) of the climate scientists in the first step means that none of these 464 were reflected in the graphs that followed (Fig 1,2,3). Since the UE group is already humbled as being less published than the CE group, not even including them in overall percentages adds insult to injury. Someone may cry “foul”, justly or unjustly. If may look like elitism to outsiders. From the paper: “The UE group comprises only 2% of the top 50 climate researchers as ranked by expertise (number of climate publications), 3% of researchers of the top 100, and 2.5% of the top 200, excluding researchers present in both groups (Materials and Methods). This result closely agrees with expert surveys, indicating that ≈97% of self-identified actively publishing climate scientists agree with the tenets of ACC (2).” (Doran 2009) I would have preferred the authors go on to include what % the UE group represents out of the full 908, or even the original 1,372. The authors have made it very clear that the most published and most cited researchers are 97% to 98% CE vs. 2% to 3% UE. That's all well and good. But to stop there seems a little too pat and could raise a contrarian's suspicion that it is contrived to match the Doran results of the previous year. It leaves a reader with a simple question, “What are the percentages of CE and UE among 'non-expert' climate scientists?” Simple question, but hard to answer from reading their paper.
  18. 'The fact that there are so many Academies of Science endorsing the global warming position is probably the strongest argument for supporting it.' - Will Nitschke, on the 21st Dec. 2007, post 3. No, that's not a good reason at all. You've basically stated that if enough authority figures, from prestigious institutions, endorse an idea then we, the general public, should accept it. I can think of a better reason to accept an idea; examine the merits of it, the evidence both for and against it, weigh the probabilities of it being true, and then come to an independent assessment of its likelihood. If the idea in question is far more likely to be true than not - then, and only then, should you accept it.
  19. Yah, true Peter. However, there are a whole lot of people who do not have the time, energy, training, and/or motivation to do the math and read the literature. They need an interpreter. Who should they choose? Upon what basis should they make such a choice? You yourself have not read the literature -- that is clear from your other comments. Again, upon what basis do you speak so confidently?
  20. If someone is concerned enough about this issue, then they will find the time and motivation to 'do the maths and read the literature'. They do not 'need an interpreter'! This is reminiscent of the view widely held not so long ago that in order to 'know the mind of God' one needed to consult a priest who could act as an 'interpreter' of his will, thus keeping the poor peasants in the dark. Who would you choose to be your interpreter? (-snip-). My 'other comments' make it clear that I have not 'read the literature'? Really? In your opinion only.
    Response: [DB] Please read the Moderator Response to you here before placing further comments in this forum. Sloganeering snipped.
  21. @Peter A #518: The body of scientific evidence about anthropogenic global warming is not an “idea”, it is a body of scientific evidence. It would take years for the average person to sift and winnow through each and every cell in this body of evidence in order for him /her to make an informed decision. If your personal physician determines that you have an illness and recommends a course of treatment, do you sift and winnow through the entire body of scientific evidence about that illness and about the recommended treatment before deciding whether to proceed? If your personal physician tells you that a specific treatment for your child’s illness is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, do you challenge him/her to explain why he/she is deferring to a higher authority,
  22. Peter, the "peasants" didn't need an interpreter, but when they went off on their own, they still assumed the god of their ancestors existed. In other words, they carried their cultural assumptions with them as they went to try to understand the mind of god. This is precisely why many non-experts doubt anthropogenic global warming. Humans have never had such control over the Earth before, things are developing nicely for us, these guys over here say that some of these scientists are frauds, and everyone knows that sensationalism is the way to catch a buck these days. Business as usual. Not really a rapid shift in climate of the type that humans have rarely had to deal with (and certainly not in the historical period). I find it odd that you would characterize SkS as a "priesthood" site. It has comment streams. You can ask questions. You can go directly to the science itself. On this site, there are more direct links to the science than at any other climate science site on the net, IPCC included. This is, in fact, the best place to inform yourself. All we need are links to atmospheric science textbooks, but there are links to science of doom, which is about the same thing. Now consider sites like WUWT. These are the new priesthood you describe. The owners/mods and especially the news sites that are plugged into places like WUWT assume their audience is incapable of understanding the science. They post articles containing really basic errors, and then sit around while the comment stream cheers them on. They engage in rhetorical games like "climategate." The "climategate" allegations, never formalized, are wholly fraudulent, except for one claim (Jones being mean to Soon and Baliunas, but even then there's much, much more to the story). Yet these people knew that their allegations would be swallowed whole by their congregation. They depended on it. And that congregation did not disappoint. They bleated the news far and wide, never once actually checking the claims against what Jones and Mann (and the various independent investigations) had to say. No, people don't need interpreters. They believe they need interpreters--talk radio, CNN, Anthony Watts.
  23. Peter, I'd just like to point out that your opinion of the IPCC is based entirely on what other people have told you to think, based on their own opinions and misunderstandings.
  24. Why do you say 95% in the intermediate response, when the basic says 97%, and your sources (Doran 2009, Anderegg 2010) both say 97%? Please be consistent with the message. "around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position"
  25. 97 is one good number but not so absolute as 100 of the theologians. They are 100 percent sure of god. And they are scientists too. All the same, their over confidence will not bring such a creature to real existence. (-snip-). According the data one real scientist only can decide that the information about climate is still scarce and there are many unknown components. (-snip-).
    Response:

    [DB] Please familiarize yourself with this site's Comments Policy; additionally, please read the Big Picture post.

    Finally, commenting at Skeptical Science works best if you first limit the scope of your comment to that of the thread on which you post your comment and then follow up on those threads to see what respondents have said in response to you. There are quite literally thousands of threads here at SkS; if you do not engage with the intent to enter into a dialogue to discuss the OPs of the threads on which you place comments, you invite moderation of your comments.

    Off-topic and ideology snipped.

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