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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 1956 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 1, 2024: Corrected a typo in the publication year for Plass (1956) in the at-a-glance section.

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

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.


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


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


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Comments 751 to 775 out of 906:

  1. qwertie @749 & 750

    I disagree that we have to follow the framing of those who still deny the consensus and to then basically censor ourselves by no longer mentioning particular studies.

    As for the details from "Consensus on consensus", they are already just a click away and - at a guess - it wouldn't matter at all if that information were also included right within the rebuttal. They'd still ignore and/or twist it to their liking.

  2. After reading way to many pages of this threads, one thing is certain, too many people are simply going to believe what they want to believe.  To deny that there are legitimate arguments on both sides is dishonest simply dishonest.


    [DB] You are invited to pick the "legitimate argument" you feel the strongest about, and bring the citational evidence to support it, and post it on the most relevant thread here at SkS.

    [PS] You will do everyone a favour if you check your "legitimate argument" is not:

     - a strawman (ie check what science actually does say in eg IPCC WG1, rather than what someone tells you it says)

     - cherry picking data. The other common denier tactic.

    You might also like to run your argument against this list here. If you still think you have a good argument, then please comment on the appropriate thread. Given USA pull out of Paris, some good news would be welcome.

  3. True, CycleGeek @752, there are people who are so divorced from reality as to believe what they want to believe, in defiance of the actual state of affairs.

    If you yourself are not one of these people, then you will now (having read so many pages) be able to give a brief summary of the "legitimate arguments" against the existence of the scientific consensus.

    Reading this thread, and using the most strenuous skepticism, I have been unable to find any such "legitimate arguments" — so I very much look forward to being enlightened by your reply (assuming you can find any arguments that are not simply delusional and unrealistic as Monckton's ).

  4. A paper by five leading climatologists published in the journal Science and Education found only 41 out of the 11,944 published climate studies examined in Cook’s study explicitly stated mankind has caused most of the warming since 1950 — meaning the actual consensus is 0.3 percent, not 97%.


    [DB] In this venue, participants cite credible sources.  In this case, if you wish to cite a published study, then furnish a link to the actual study, and not to some news article that may or may not be misrepresenting the paper.

    Please read this venue's Comments Policy to familiarize yourself with this venue's permitted rules of engagement.  Thanks!

  5. Sorry, Rikoshaprl @754 , but the link you supply mentions the main "leading climatologist" as Richard Lindzen — an ex-climatologist who was so unscientific, that he caused major embarrassment to his colleagues at M.I.T. when he was there.  And the other climatologists your article (at yournewswire) links to, are little better!  Lindzen makes a triple fail, because his own climate predictions are now a full degree Celsius below the present day global surface temperature.   That is a colossal error by Lindzen.  And Lindzen still seems to think there has been hardly any warming, despite all the evidence to the contrary!  Lindzen is severely out of touch with reality.  And his third fail, is that he appears to hold a religious-based belief that Jehovah would prevent a global warming of more than the slightest amount.  Completely unscientific attitude there, as I am sure you must agree.  Among genuine climatologists, Lindzen is a laughing stock.

    Now to the Cook study itself.   Rikoshaprl, it appears you have not read the Cook paper.   If you had read it, then you would see that the second part of the paper consists of questioning the authors of those papers — and here, the authors themselves rate their own papers at around 97% support of the consensus figure found in the first section of the study [i.e. also 97%]

    Sorry, Rikoshaprl, but you haven't a leg to stand on.

    Perhaps you can inform us of how you came to make such a complete mistake of the real situation.   For your own benefit, you should do some reading about what is actually happening in the field of climate science — and you can learn a great deal, right here at Skepticalscience.

    Avoid foolish propaganda sites such as Yournewswire.  They will misinform you and lead you to embarrass yourself, hugely !!

  6. Just because there is consensus doesn't automatically mean that the view is correct. Historically, scientific consensus has not only been proven to be wrong, but spectacularly wrong...time and time again.


    [PS] This sloganeering without a  scrap of support. If you want to dispute, pick a point, back your argument with references/data. If you are taken in by the nonsense in link presented, then I strongly recommend you read here and here

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  7. The point is that scientific consensus can be wrong. Nobody disputes the following:

    • Prior to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, a magical “luminiferous aether” was considered by scientific consensus as the medium for the propagation of light. Einstein was actually still trying to work the aether into the theory of relativity as late as 1924. Evidence:
    • Prior to the 1970’s, the scientific consensus for macro geologic processes was not plate tectonics. Evidence:
    • Prior to the 1980’s, the scientific consensus was that there was no such thing as dark energy and dark matter. Scientific consensus was that we could see 100% of the matter and energy in the universe. We now understand that visible matter and energy represent only a small fraction of the matter and energy in the universe. Evidence:
    • Prior to the 1980’s, scientific consensus would tell you that sauropods lived in lakes and that dinosaurs were cold blooded and extinct. We now understand these things to be entirely false.

    The point is that simply pointing to scientific consensus is not fool-proof. I think this is a valuable input to the discussion.


    [PS] You are again indulging in the strawman arguments. Where is the claim that scientific consensus is foolproof?  The claim is:

    1/ There is a scientific consensus on the cause of current warming (and a very strong one at that)

    2/ That the scientific consensus (particularly when strong) is the rational basis for policy making (on any technical topic).

    Feel free to bring evidence against the claim but dont bother disputing non-claims.Take your sophistry elsewhere.

  8. Look, your argument is that anthropogenic causes are proved by scientific consensus. I have presented examples where scientific consensus was not just incorrect by exactly the opposite of what we know today. Although you deleted them. That's the only point. I happen to believe in the anthropotenic causes for cliimate change, but basing that upon scientific consensus is problematic. If you want to talk about logical fallacies, there you go.


    [PS] "Look, your argument is that anthropogenic causes are proved by scientific consensus. "

    No, as repeatedly said, that is not the argument and you repeating it does not make it so. Nothing is "proved" in science. What is asserted is that the vast weight of scientific evidence supports the notion of anthropogenic cause, so much so that a scientific consensus has formed on that. It might be wrong, but until someone shows evidence that it does, policy should be guided by that consensus. Show us anywhere in the IPCC report (or peer-reviewed paper) where it is claimed that anthropogenic warming is proved by consensus. That is a nonsense statement. The papers discussed above simply a methods to determine whether a consensus exists.

  9. I agree that scientific consensus is that climate change has anthropogenic causes. I think I was pretty clear about that.


    [PS] Great but didnt say you didnt. I am saying that you are making claim about that means that neither the article nor any scientific source actually makes. (ie a strawman).

  10. I am not going to make the argument again but post 712 sums it up splendidly. 

    TLDR: read the paper by Cook et al and you will see what the consensus is really about. Not that much shocking facts. Human activity is creating greenhouse gas and this impacts the global climate. 

    So basically I would advise any skeptic to read and think for themselves. Don't accept what is pre

  11. I can't edit, so I will rephrase that last sentence. 

    Don't just accept what is presented to you, think critical and challenge the assumptions. 

  12. Unfortunately many of the links have aged out in your "Scientific organizations endorsing the consensus" section. You might want to try updating them. Although good luck with the EPA these days...

  13. As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to pleIt  ase follow our comments policy. Thank You!

    It is one thing to establish Global Warming, it is quite another to reach fairly accurate conclusions or predictions concerning the effects.  Most projections I've seen mention a rise in sea level of maybe several inches over a 20 year period.  With that one scenario, don't you think that human ingenuity and engineering skills can meet the challenge?


    [PS] This post is offtopic. Any responses to it, put in appropriate thread and post only a link to it. To find an appropriate thread, use the search tool or look under arguments (eg taxomony, "its not bad").

    Also please cite your sources of information. Note for instance that Stern report for instance costed adaptation. The argument is that it is cheaper to get off fossil fuels than adapt. (I assume you are happy to pay for seawalls in areas affected by typhoons and monsoon river levels to pump, in countries that have contributed next to nothing to the problem.) Please respond on "its cheaper to adapt" thread.

  14. The laws of physics are not in dispute whereas those of geology are. The laws of physics apply to an infinite number of possible events at any time: geological theories state whether certain events occurred at certain times on this one planet. The laws of history are endlessly debatable. The laws about which there is the greatest certainty are capable of mathematical formulation: those about which there is least certainty are not.
    Is there a mathematical formula agreed by the 97% in the matter of global warming according to which the future can be predicted depending on stated variables? If so, what is it?

  15. Adrian White @764 , regarding "the laws of history" [your quote] ,

    Adrian, you appear to have a very strange and peculiar definition of the meaning of the word "laws".

    By failing to use English words in a standard English sense, you render your comments rather meaningless.   Please re-state (more intelligibly) the ideas you are trying to convey.

    (B) Question: Is there a mathematical formula agreed by 97% of biologists, which will describe & predict the processes of Evolution?   If so, what is it?   If not so — then we must presume that Evolution is false (and a form of Junk Science).

    We need better communication from you, please Adrian !

  16. Climate change is real and has very clear anthropogenic causes. Countless people have died due to smog and pollution, proven. It has a negative impact on the environment, proven. CFCs and other greenhouse gases created a hole in Antarctica's ozone layer, proven. Banning CFCs helped the ozone layer heal, proven. Just because oil conglomerates will lose billions switching to renewable energy and it's more expensive for them to observe emissions regulations while mass producing plastics doesn't mean the science behind industrialization changing our climate isn't true.

  17. How is anyone against what the scientists are saying against global warming? They're telling you to, you know, drive less, use less coal/petrol/other forms of fossil fuel, don't litter, recylce, etc. To me, it seems win-win either way and so far anyone who wants to disbelieve these scientists seem to be trying to justify themselves for their environmentally destructive behaviours. Let's give everyone a benefit of the doubt and use two hypotheses:

    a) Global warming is real.
     If it is real, then if you do all the things the scientists are saying, you'll be slowing down the process. Sweet, we get extra years, we don't have to experience such extreme weather conditions/changes, etc. Good for us.

    b) Global warming is a hoax.
     If it is fake, then if you do all the things the scientists are saying, you'll be cleaning up the planet. Sweet, we get a clean planet to live on. Good for us.

    So tell me, why is it so hard for you to accept global warming?? Do you only disagree because it seems like the "mainstream" thing to do and you want to seem "different"? I never understood this.

  18. Also, this article:

    David Archibald says "higher level of CO2 is better for all lifeforms on the Earth" - OK, well, can we trap him in a room that only has CO2 in it and see how much he benefits from it? I would love to watch that. For scientific purposes.
    CO2 is a waste material for any species that requires cellular respiration - and, uh, there are heaps of species like this out there. Tell me you at least know this. In case you didn't pay attention in Biology classes in high school, the waste products of cellular respiration is H2O and CO2. That's why you have to breathe out and pee. Bottom line: humans, as well as many lifeforms that are not plants, do not benefit from high CO2 level. Who benefits from the waste products?

    He says "lucky for us, the relationship between CO2 level and temperature is logarithmic, not arithmetic" - buddy, a logarithmic relationship increases faster than arithmetic. This is where you lost all credibility. You can't even tell the difference between the two and claim to know "science".

    Lastly, our good old David is also a CEO of an oil company in Australia. You know why he keeps claiming there's no global warming? It's cos he's losing money if you believe the facts. Wake up.

  19. I can't edit my comment there, but @767, I meant "How is anyone against what the scientists are recommending against global warming".

    I sincerely believe that global warming is real.

  20. As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!

    Found this forum on a link posted on a POW(Protect our Winters) EM article I recieved. I consider myself an open minded person and willing to listen to many points of view and draw my own conclusions from the facts presented, regardless of my personal opinions.  My views have changed on several things over the years.  Winston Churchhill, hardly a scientist but certianly one of the biggest influencers on the course of 20th century history, once said that "if you are not a liberal in your twenties you have no heart, and if you are not a conservetive in your forties you have no brain."

    The heart creates passion, and passion emotionalizes arguements, obscuring the validity of points of contention.  One of the obscured points is the method that one of the cited studies was conducted, the Doran study, conducted by Margeret R.K. Zimmerman, as a grad student under Doran's direction.  Points that make you go huh?... 10,257 surveys were sent out. 3,146 bothered to respond.  Does that mean 7,111 questionaires were not delivered? Or that the intended recipients had no opinions, yea or nay? Only 30%, give or take, bothered to respond. Only 79 respondents answers were eventually used to come up with the 97%- the other responses supposedly did not come from "climate scientists" so they were not used.  Why were they even sent?  There are other questions that arise from the conclusions that were drawn from this study but I think the point is made.  When any survey requires closed answers the results must be considered with a skeptical eye.

    Facts are not arrived at by consensus.  If this were true, the earth would still be flat, and Giordano Bruno's burning by the Vatican Inquisition in defense of geocentrism would be justifiable. Aristotle's expansion on spontaneous generation were accepted as fact for over 2,000 years! Neaderthals are not ancestral to modern man! Micheal Bradley's assertation of Neanderthalic genitics in "The Iceman Inheritance" was laughed at and later decried as racist. Indeed, the scientific community's persecution of any one who questions the dogma of the alarmists who have made substantial financial gains espousing the global warming/end of the world would be entirely defensible.  One of Micheal E. Manns (the hockey stick guy) claims in the defamation lawsuit against Mark Styen,et al., was that it is (or should be) a crime to defame a Nobel Prize winner.  Of course he is not, and it is not.  This claim was dismissed from the suit. The financial gains to be garnered by silencing any thought contrary to the prevailing AGW theocratic dogma is too great to be allowed a voice.  This site has poo-poo'ed Judith Curry and some of her claims, but I have found more open minded and even handed writings on her site, on both sides of the issue. Humankind thinks that they are of gret consequence but the truth is we are like all other afflictions this globe has suffered, and when she tires of us she will shake us off like raindrops and without a second thought.

  21. Windrunner @770 , welcome (back) to SkepticalScience !

    If you have come to defend Dr Judith Curry's reputation as a scientist, then alas you come too late.  That ship has sailed.

    If you have come to argue that the climate scientist consensus on AGW is anything less than 99%, then alas you come 30 years too late.  The consensus has been steadily rising for many years now, and has reached 100% (or more precisely:  100% minus a few crackpots, who are entirely unable to provide any valid contrarian scientific reasoning or supportive facts).

    In addition, your "Churchillian" quote is wrongly ascribed.  There have been many versions of it -— the Twenty-First Century version is:  "If you are not a liberal in your twenties you have no heart, and if you are not a conservative in your forties you have no brain, and if you are not an environmentalist by your sixties then you have no conscience."

  22. "Facts are not arrived at by consensus"

    This is a very tiresome strawman argument. We agree. However, the important facts are: a/ the consensus does exist and b/ scientific consensus (especially when strong), is the best guide to policy.  A true scientific consensus is very seldom wrong and you would be an idiot to bet the planet on it being wrong.

    Citing pre-scientific examples of societial consensus (a very different thing) is pointless. 

    "One of Micheal E. Manns (the hockey stick guy) claims in the defamation lawsuit against Mark Styen,et al., was that it is (or should be) a crime to defame a Nobel Prize winner." Citation please. What were his actual words?

  23. I agree with the consensus research. But I want to address something to those who don't believe it. That is: is there NO CHANCE that these scientists are correct? As in zero? It's hard for me to accept that a thinking person could rule out the possibility unilaterally.

    So let's assume for argument's sake that there is some chance these scientists are right, and that climate change is as real and dangerous as they say. Maybe not even a 50% chance. Maybe just a 20% chance.

    Now put a single bullet in your 5-chamber revolver, spin the cylinder, point it at your child's head, and pull the trigger. Why not? There's only a 20% chance it will go off, and an 80% chance it won't. But of course no reeasonable person would do that because the consequences of being wrong are unthinkable.

    I would argue that climate change isn't that different. Already, low-lying countries like the Maldives and Bangladesh are losing real estate. Already ski areas in the U.S. are going out of business because winters are warmer. Some lakes have dried up completely. Thousands of square miles of ponderosa pine are dead in the southwest because winters are no longer cold enough to kill the bark beetle. Hundreds of American kids are getting sick because the Lone Star tick is no longer confined to the deep south, but has been found as far north as the Canadian border, bringing with it five diseases and an allergy to mammal meat. And this is just the beginning. Are we ready for NYC to be under water in 40 years? For our farmland to become desert? For wars over drinking water? (Those crazy liberals at the Pentagon are preparing for climate change, check ut their published studies. Maybe we should be preparing, or better yet preventing, too.)

    I happen to believe the scientists are right. But even if you don't, can you reasonably argue that there's no possibility you're wrong?

  24. A scientific consensus does not make a theory correct and it certainly does not rule out the existance of an alternative theory which better explains observations. More importantly, no scientist has made such a claim - it is a deniers favourite straw man arguement.

    The important thing about a scientific consensus it that it is the only rational basis for policy decisions, especially when it is strong. Betting on say a 20% chance of scientists being wrong is a bad bet especially when consequences for getting it wrong are terrible. The research into the consensus was to determine the strength of consensus and lay to rest the unsupported assertion by deniers that there was no consensus.

  25. The 97% mantra is debunked in this empirical analysis, including some rebuttals by actual scientists cited in the 97% claim who say their assessments were misrepresented.

    Any responses to clear up this speed bump would be appreciated.

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