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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 876 to 900 out of 955:

  1. One Planet Only Forever @ 875

    Trust me I do discuss human population with deniers.  Human activity and consumption has a huge impact on global warming.

  2. To add to KR @ 870

    PatrickSS kept propping Judith Curry up as some sort of climate expert who is being hushed from publsihing papers.  I also suggest PatrickSS that you look up her credentials.

    It always cracks me up as Judith is always the wild card deniers pull out of their back pockets and try to prop her us as some sort of credible climate science researcher such as Katharine Hayhoe.

    Here are a few links about who Judith is as well as her agenda.

    Judith Curry Was For Me Before She Was Against Me


    Climate Misinformation by Source: Judith Curry

    IPCC attribution statements redux: A response to Judith Curry

    Judith Curry - SourceWatch

  3. Hmmph.  If Dr Curry were an actor, then you would see her in B-grade movies, at best.

    Dr Lindzen would be the equivalent of Marlon Brando in his last few years ~ someone who once received some respect from those in the industry . . . but was now "washed up" and coasting along on the remnants of his past reputation.  Sic transit.

    Dr Happer . . . also the Emeritus Syndrome, plus something a bit uglier.

    Let's move on from the Ad Hom sketches, and look at the actual arguments that Curry puts forward as a "contrarian".  

    Her arguments ~ well, she doesn't have any really.   She has asserted that for late 20th Century warming, "up to about 60%" of it might (possibly) be caused by a concurrence of several long-cycle periodic ocean current phases (multi-decadal Atlantic overturning current plus other much longer century/multi-century cycles . . . cycles which most scientists consider to be no more than a twinkle in the eye of their "discoverers").  In other words, a load of balderdash.  But a straw which the desperate denialists like to grasp at.

    All the while, Curry wears heavily-shaded glasses which are pachyderm-polarised to show very little of the Elephant in the Room i.e. CO2 .

    Yes, Curry does admit that CO2 has a mild effect on global warming, but maintains that after  you subtract the surface warming effect of those concurrent ocean cycles, the remaining minor warming shows that CO2 is a minimal problem because it must be that the planet's ECS (climate sensitivity) is quite low.

    That's about the size of it.  The rest of her rhetoric is simply empty rhetoric ~ confusing & vague distractions from the underlying reality.  Just what certain American senators/Congressmen wish to hear.  So they call her up to speak to "committees" and thus provide themselves with a veneer of excuse to take no action on AGW.

    Essentially Curry is a misinformer, through the use of vagueness and innuendo.  Like an expensive barrister arguing for a guilty-as-sin client, she usually does not step over the line of absolute mendacity.  Not quite.

  4. Seems to me that any reasonably intelligent person can see that human activity MUST change the climate, a Cow fartingbin a barn changes the climate, it adds methane where there was none.  Lighting a match changes the climate, it burns O2 and adds heat where there was none. 

    The climate MUST change, the planet temperature MUST increase, this seems obvious to me, is it not to all? Now what is causing these changes is debatable.

    Is it reasonable to believe that the climate stays stagnant with 7 billion people living in this industrial environment?

    Is it reasonable to believe that these same 7 billion people adding quadrillions of btu’s of heat every year to the environment would not raise the local temperature?

    NASA graph from 1975 to 2018 is interesting and quite telling but it omits the math showingvhow much heat the increase of 120ppm of CO2 adds to the atmosphere.

    Has anyone here been able to complete this math?


    [PS] For "quadrillions of btus of heat", please see here for the maths and comment on that thread if you have questions.

    And frankly, of course scientists have done the maths. What do you think they do??

  5. "NASA graph from 1975 to 2018 is interesting and quite telling but it omits the math showingvhow much heat the increase of 120ppm of CO2 adds to the atmosphere.

    Has anyone here been able to complete this math?"

    roseland67, scientists have quantified the warming caused by human activities since preindustrial times and compared that to natural temperature forcings.

    Changes in the sun's output falling on the Earth from 1750-2011 are about 0.05 Watts/meter squared.

    By comparison, human activities from 1750-2011 warm the Earth by about 2.83 Watts/meter squared (AR5, WG1, Chapter 8, section 8.3.2, p. 676).

    What this means is that the warming driven by the GHGs coming from the human burning of fossil fuels since 1750 is over 50 times greater than the slight extra warming coming from the Sun itself over that same time interval.

    Radiative Forcing

  6. Rosland66 @879,

    For completeness the calculation which is yet to be set out here (although the moderation Response @879 links to the on-topic thread); according to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy it was 550 quadrillion BTUs added to the environment by "these same 7 billion people" in 2018, a value which equates to +0.036 Watts/meter squared in climatology-speak.

  7. I see the Heartland Institute has a new format for its misinformation campaign - At-A-Glance Summaries which back up a few bullet points with a page or two of paragraph-long summaries. High on the list of these lie-cards is one entitled "Consensus".

    This "Consensus" lie-card mainly cites (or more correctly misrepresents)  a 2016 survey of American Meteorological Society members.

    The first bold-as-brass assertion runs:-

    "A majority of scientists (including skeptics) believe the Earth is warming and humans are playing a role, but a strong majority of scientists are not very worried about it."

    There is no indication of the evidence they have to support this "strong majority."  Heartland's initial mention of this survey does rattle on about how many responding AMS members said they were "worried" by AGW and to what extent. Yet the survey never mentions the word "worried" once (or anything like it). Perhaps the proper take-away from the AMS survey is the finding from the responses that only "about one in twenty (3 to 5%) don’t think there will be any harm from climate change in the next 50 years." (Note that when the AMS members were also asked in the survey if they considered themselves "expert in climate science" only 37% were able to answer 'yes'.)

    Heartland also say of this same survey:-

    "Fully 40% of AMS members believe climate change impacts have been primarily beneficial or equally mixed between beneficial and harmful. Only 50% expect the impacts to be entirely or primarily harmful over the next 50 years. That is nowhere near a consensus." [My bold]

    The sole basis for this statement made by Heartland actually concerns not 'global' AGW but 'local' AGW -  "the impact(s) of local climate change in your area." It is also a mash-up of two seperate questions, one concerning "the past 50 years" and one "the next 50 years."  And each question is only asked of those who responded 'yes' to two preceding questions of the form "To the best of your knowledge, has/will the local climate in your area change over the past/next 50 years?" with  'yes' response of 74% for the past and 78% for the future. These 74%/78% then answered as follows:-

    The impacts will be exclusively beneficial - past 0%, next 0%

    The impacts will be primarily beneficial - past 4%, next 2%

    The impacts will be approximately equally mixed between beneficial and harmful - past 36%, next 29%

    The impacts will be primarily harmful - past 36%, next 47%

    The impacts will be exclusively harmful - past 2%, next 3%

    Don't know - past 21%, next 19%

    So the lie-card's "fully 40%" concerns the past 50 year's local climate change and is only the view of ([4%+36%] x 74% =) 29.6%. The word "fully" is a straight lie.

    A final assertion runs as follows:-
    "Scientists with NASA, NOAA, MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and Penn, along with scientists who have served as official state climatologist for their states, are climate realists making the case against an impending climate crisis. These include many of the science giants of the past half-century, including Freeman Dyson, S. Fred Singer, and Will Happer."
    So with the exception of a trio of very ancient scientists (one of whom died the month before these At-A-Glance cards were launched), these AGW consensus-busting scientists who are "making the case against an impending climate crisis" appear to be all nameless phantoms of Heartland's imagination.
  8. Thanks, MA Rodger @882 ,

    the Heartland "Climate at a glance"  summaries have also recently been touted on WUWT  website:  I gather Mr Anthony Watts has had some co-writing input for the Summaries.   Unsurprisingly, they are a waste of time for anyone who wishes to learn anything truthful about climate matters.

    I have read a number of the Summaries (they are quite short).  Their pattern soon becomes evident :-  cherry-picking & strawman arguments, and the general tenor is that of advocate-lawyers rather than scientists.

    As you say, the "Consensus" summary did nothing but pick out and misrepresent one single study of members of the American Meteorological Organisation, and did not mention the World Meteorological Organisation . . . or any other organisations of greater relevance.   No nuance; no general context; no honesty of presentation.

    The "Summaries" are a complete waste of time for any inquiring mind ~ their only virtue is that they are brief.  Yet brief as they are, they have a surprising number of typos and spelling errors ~ this is surprising for such brief presentations from a supposedly-slick propaganda "Institute" like Heartland, where one would at least expect some proof-reading of stuff going onto permanent display.   Perhaps there is some truth in the rumors that Heartland has been forced to retrench staff.

  9. Eclectic @883,

    The purveyors of fakery at Heartland do seem to be re-branding themselves. As well as the recent appearance of their "Climate at a glance" website, a similar-looking site has reared its head with the title "ClimateREALISM" and proclaiming its mission saying:-

    "The climate alarmism industry and its media allies present a daily barrage of false, misleading, and one-sided information designed to convince people that a climate crisis is at hand. Climate Realism provides daily rebuttals to the alarmists’ Climate Delusion, giving the media and interested persons access to the facts, data, and perspectives that the put the daily media scares in proper perspective. Articles and information presented on this website can be accessed by date or by climate-related topic."

    This site too is provided with a "Consensus" page but the content doesn't even attempt to start to address the subject. I'd assume the rest of the site is likewise fake-heavy anf fact-light.

  10. Thanks MA Rodger and Electric! I can only predict that the climate deniers that I tango with will start parroting Heartlands misinformation campaign...especially the WUWT fans here in ‘Merica.

  11. TVC15 , if you have time for a 20-minute youtube video, then you might enjoy Potholer54 : "How to argue for science (and have fun!)" .

    Potholer54 is always good value, and usually entertaining.  His style of "debate" is consistent, and I can't recall any climate denier getting the better of him.  The typical denialist is psychologically stuck in concrete and won't change or admit error . . . but there will always be some ambivalent onlookers (who may well be swayed by Potholer's fact-based line of reasoning).

    Potholer is currently up to 52 videos on climate; plus many on Evolution; and a few more general ones of interest.

    WUWT  is a fascinating study in itself, demonstrating the abysses of human intellectual insanity, in rampant form.  But I am undecided whether it is a force for evil, in magnifying & "echo-chambering" the nonsense and anger of the anti-science extremists & paranoid Conspiracy Theorists . . . or whether it is indirectly a force for good (in allowing a public venting-space for wackos who would otherwise spend time elsewhere, physically "acting-out" their anti-social urges).

    As MA Rodger mentions above, the denialists seem to be gradually trying to re-classify themselves as Climate Realists.   Laughable, to be sure . . . but let's hope such semantic shenanigans will keep them occupied in establishing their own consensus about their "label" (instead of getting up to more mischief in the public space).

  12. Eclectic @ 886

    Thank you for the suggested video. 

    I truly enjoy Potholer54's YouTube Channel.  He recently posted a Coronavirus: Science vs. politics video that was informative and entertaining.

  13. Hi, I have a question about peer reviews.  Are there lists somewhere that show who has peer-reviewed studies/papers being mentioned?  For example, I have been searching for peer reviews of Naomi Oreske's consenus study, but I'm not having any luck?  Any places you can point me to?  When offer these studies at online discussions, I invariably get linked to critiques given by bloggers.  Of course, these bloggers, being climate deniers offer all sorts of claims of dishonesty and bad studies, but it seems like if these studies where peer reviewed, those reviews would hold much more water than a denier blogger with no real expertise in climate science...

  14. Karlengle: "Peer review" of submissions for scientific publication usually is done double blinded--the reviewers don't know who the authors are, and vice versa. Authors are given the reviews regardless of the final decision of acceptance or rejection by the journal or conference. For many decades, those reviews remained private, as a way to support frankness. But some publications are changing the model to open reviews.

    (In fact, at this very moment, I am in hour 10 of 12 hours of a conference subcommittee meeting--fortunately three sessions of four hours. All 37 subcommittee members are watching discussions of each submitted paper by two of those members, summarizing each paper's review by them plus by two to four reviewers who are not on the subcommittee. Substantial effort went into carefully recruiting those two to four external reviewers, curating discussions among those reviewers to clarify disagreements in their reviews, and crafting demanded or suggested revisions to the authors.)

  15. Karlengle: Perhaps I misunderstood your question. I thought you asked to see the peer reviews of the publications. Are you instead asking how to tell whether a given publication was peer reviewed?

  16. Note there is more the Naomi Oreskes paper here. It is not clear to me from the context whether the Oreske article was peer-reviewed. Editorial-type and some review pieces in Science journals are not always peer-reviewed, though papers are in Science. However, the Oreske paper was in section called "essays on science and society". Since it was presenting an actual analysis rather than comment, I would guess "yes", but it isnt that clear.

    The Oreske conclusion is not substantively different from other peer-reviewed studies of consensus however. It is extremely difficult to challenge the conclusion that a very strong scientific consensus on AGW exists from the evidence.

  17. Tom Dayton, Thanks for the insight into the peer review process!  Sounds pretty grueling... 

    I was asking because one of the main responses I get from deniers when I give the studies on consensus, are links to notable deniers going into details on their own reviews about the studies always claiming a smoking gun of trickery and deception on these studies.  One usually has to get pretty deep in the weeds to dispel those.  I always look for the simpler explanation that makes sense to the possible audience of my discussion.  I've usually given up on convincing the other person, but I want to always frame my arguments to appeal to those with a cursury interest and not get mired in the snowing attempts from deniers.  It would be good to argue that denier biased "reviews" of studies are not reliable, and the scientific peer review process is much better at catching bad science.

  18. Karlengle @892

    Have you browsed our TCP homepage about (esp.) our consensus-related studies yet? I'm fairly certain that we by now have answers for all the various attacks lobbed by the usual suspects at them. Most will be answered in the FAQs and others in one of several blog posts and rebuttals published over time and listed a bit further down on the homepage. And there's also The Consensus Handbook with even more information!

  19. BaerbelW @893

    Thanks for the links.  This will definitely add to my toolbox!

  20. Karlengle:

    You may find it informative to read the American Meteorlogical Society's author information web page. They publish several highly-respected journals in various specialities in atmospheric science.

    The review process is described here:

    ...and what they expect from editors and reviewers is here:

    A couple of Skeptical Science pages on peer review:

    The second of those links shows a case where "skeptic" scientists basically did what they keep accusing the mainstream scientists of doing. Another blog post on the same story can be found at ThinkProgress:

    Two more examples of misbehaviour at journals:

  21. That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 80 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. 

    This is a disingenuous statement.  Of course, 97% of climate scientists believe in global warming, the field of climate science itself was created by a group of people who believed in climate change.  It's literally no different than claiming capitalism in bad, because 97% of communists say so.  It would be similar to creating an academic discipline of hurricane-ology.  It's a one trick pony.  When you have an entire academic discipline dedicated to a single political cause which is funded by a wealthy elite, I tend to be highly skeptical of the intent or motive.

    So, this article has been officially DEBOOONKED!!!

  22. hedron, 

    It is a little difficult to understand your convoluted reasoning and the analogies you provide don't help. There is such a field as the scientific study of hurricanes, it is a specialized area of work for meteorologists. It probably was started by specialists who believed that hurricanes were real. If you don't believe that it is legitimate, substitute your own advice to theirs next time a storm is barreling down the coast of Florida, but to keep honest, leave yourself open to litigation in case your advice leads to loss of life or property.

    "Academies of science from 80 countries" and "many scientific organizations" does not equate to "97% of climate scientist." Furthermore, your analogy does not hold because scientific inquiry is a process whose very purpose is to uncover the stuff that is not a matter of opinion. 

  23. hedron states "Of course, 97% of climate scientists believe in global warming, the field of climate science itself was created by a group of people who believed in climate change".

    This, of course, is complete bollocks. Studies into the nature of climate date back at least as far as the 1800s,

    If hedron wants to inform itself of the history, it can go to Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming. Based in its brief posting history here, I doubt that hedron will make the effort, though.

  24. The argument presented by hedron @896 is entirely anti-science in that it is saying any area of scientific study can be fake as it can be created to sustain fallacious findings based purely on the belief of those who initiated that area of study and not based on the scientific evidence. If this fake science were possible, all science would be at risk of being slowly stacked full of undebunked nonsense.

    Of course, that is not to say that an individual or small group of resrearchers cannot go off and create a pile of undebunked nonsense. Indeed, many researchers do effectively spend their whole careers so employed. Such work is not of itself anti-scientific as, through the act of bebunking it by others or eventually by those initially involved, the science learns what is and what is not nonsense. The 97% consensus is thus healthy and healthier than 100% as the missing 3% provides an arena for testing the veracity of the 97% and specific to AGW healthy because that 3% is better seen as comprising 30 x 0.1% (as those testing the 97% do not present a singular criticism).

  25. What do you think of the article critizising the 97% number here?

    It's claiming the consensus number is closer to 80% – at least in the study being referred to from 2013 by Dennis Bray & Hans von Storch, (linked to below).

    While 80% is still a strong consensus I must agree with the Forbes article author (Earl J. Ritchie) that:

    "It’s not as easy to discount dissenters if the number is 10 or 15 percent."

    The reason for me asking this is that I'm discussing with a friend whether there's still a debate going on if the climate change is of "natural" origin or if human activity is contributing. I'm arguing that the science is basically settled, but he seems to think it's not since not all climate scientists agree. He was the one giving me that article questioning the 97% claim. Now, I of course think the researchers behind the 97% number presented here on the Sceptical Science site has been thorough and honest, but if there are serveys such as the one below pointing more to 80% agreement I'm wondering how we can be sure the consensus number is around 97%?

    "A survey of the perceptions of climate scientists 2013":

    A comment on the above study from the Forbes article by Earl J. Ritchie:

    "A value of 1 indicates not convinced and a value of 7 is very much convinced. The top three values add to 81%, roughly in the range of several other surveys."


    [BL] Links activated.

    The web software here does not automatically create links. You can do this when posting a comment by selecting the "insert" tab, selecting the text you want to use for the link, and clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link. Add the URL in the dialog box.

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