AGW Scientific Consensus: 97% and rising
A new peer-reviewed study in the open access journal, Environmental Research Letters** (ERL) confirms (again) the 97% scientific consensus on the causes of the current global warming. Scientists have looked at the evidence and come to a conclusion. The evidence is so overwhelming now that the consensus has grown - from 90% in the literature twenty-two years ago in 1991 to 97% for the twenty year period to 2011. Today 98.4% of scientists publishing papers relating to climate science and its impacts, agree that humans are causing global warming.
The finding (for anyone who's been sleeping under a cool rock for the past forty years or so) - 97% of published scientific papers taking a position on global warming all agree:
We humans are causing global warming and climate change.
The paper is by Cook et al** and titled: Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. It is by far the largest of its kind in the peer-reviewed literature. The authors analysed abstracts from 11,944 papers mentioning global warming or global climate change over the twenty year period between 1991 and 2011. Of the nearly 12,000 papers only 0.7% disputed the fact that humans are causing global warming. The papers represented the work of scientists from at least 91 countries throughout the world.
These findings are consistent with those of Naomi Oreskes - published in Science in 2004, and those of the recent unpublished work by James Lawrence Powell and other studies. In the 928 peer-reviewed papers she examined spanning ten years (1993-2003), Oreskes did not find a single paper disputing the consensus that humans are causing global warming. Out of 13,950 peer-reviewed articles on global warming in the past twenty-one years, Powell found that only 24 rejected global warming. There's more (click image to enlarge):In this latest study, abstracts of the 11,944 papers were analysed by 24 volunteers led by John Cook of the University of Queensland and owner of the award-winning website SkepticalScience.com. They cross-checked their work by having at least two people independently rate each paper's abstract. The people rating the abstracts didn't see the names of the papers' authors. They further cross-checked by asking the papers' authors.
|Cook et al (2013) and two other similar studies all show at least 97% scientific consensus.|
The research team was just a teeny bit (0.1%) more conservative in their categorisations than the authors of the scientific papers themselves, showing the paper's findings to be rock solid. Here's John Cook describing the study and its findings.
Spread the word - visit the new website: TheConsensusProject.comTo find out how to help the public become aware of the consensus, visit this new website: The Consensus Project.
You can also read reports of the study in this article on SkepticalScience. It's also getting good mainstream and niche press coverage - click here for a multitude of choices:
- UK Guardian
- Australia's ABC News
- Australia's ABC - Environment
- Huffington Post
- The Australian
- Sydney Morning Herald
- The Conversation
- Phys.Org news
- and probably elsewhere.
And on various high profile blogs:
- Scholars and Rogues
- David Appell's Quark Soup
- Rabett Run
- Watching the Deniers
As I said up front, the paper was published in the open access journal ERL. Instead of reader pays, the journal requires an up front payment. To their credit, SkepticalScience raised the fee from its readers in less than half a day - so it's all there for you to read. No paywall. Lots of other good papers from top scientists there as well.
That's about all from me on the research itself for now. The rest of this article is mainly for denier watchers. If you want to skip the bulk of it (it's fairly standard denier weirdness, some of it funny) but consider yourself WUWT-literate, you might enjoy the little bonus at the end :D
The paranoid conspiracy theory of Anthony Watts and his motley crew of science deniers
Despite all these confirmations of consensus or more likely because of them, Anthony Watts (reckons he) has uncovered yet another giant conspiracy. According to him, umpteen editors from one thousand nine hundred and eighty (1,980) journals colluded in one of the biggest scientific scams of two centuries - not!. (Just how gullible does Tony think his readers are? See below to find out.)
Let's say for argument's sake that on average there are two editors per journal with 3% a year retiring or quitting editing. (Some journals might only have one editor, others ten or more and the bigger journals have dozens.) Even using that very conservative estimate, it would mean in aggregate there were more than 6,000 people from all around the world who have been secretly colluding for more than twenty years. And no-one's found out or provided a single skerrick of evidence for this imaginary collusion. What an achievement! If you believe that then I've got a bridge to sell you.
I wish someone would ask Anthony: where are all the tens of thousands of "skeptics" whingeing that their paper got rejected? Not Watts himself - even he managed to get a paper published.
Denier Anthony breaks embargo to feebly protest the 97% consensusYesterday Anthony leaked the embargoed press release after Steve Milloy (yeah, another science denier) first broke it. About time Milloy was dropped from all news distribution lists since he can't be trusted to keep to embargoes. Anthony thought he'd get in early and try to frame the finding his way - dork!
Anthony can't face the fact that from 11,944 papers mentioning global warming or global climate change since 1991 only 0.7 per cent rejected AGW. Of all the papers from this 12,000 or so that attribute a cause to the recent warming, 97 per cent of these endorsed the consensus that we are seeing man-made, or anthropogenic, global warming. Anthony splutters:
And from that (97%) he gets a consensus?From 97% he gets a consensus? Wouldn't you? Not Anthony, though. He feebly tries to tell his readers to "Ignore the 97%. Just look at the 1.9%!!!" I wonder how he'd go if 97 doctors examined his rash and fever, analysed a blood sample and then told him he had measles, while two drongos said it was just mosquito bites.
|How many science deniers like Anthony Watts can fit in the teeny weeny denier pit?|
From the paper, of the 11,944 papers published between 1991 and 2011 there were 4014 that expressed a position on global warming. Of these 4014, 3896 papers or 97.1% endorsed human-caused global warming, 78 or 1.9% disputed it and 40 or 1.0% indicated the cause was 'uncertain'. The remaining 7,930 took no position on current anthropogenic climate change. (I expect this proportion to rise dramatically over time. After all, how many papers on atomic physics today would explicitly state "we believe atoms exist"?)
Anyway, thought it was worth showing Anthony's position in a chart and compare it to reality:
How Anthony disproves his conspiracy theory
|A stubby short of a six pack|
Anthony decides to quote a snippet from a stolen email, in which a couple of scientists are arguing that wrong papers should be kept out of the IPCC report. Trouble is, Anthony's quote doesn't support his argument at all. On the contrary, it flat out contradicts it. Not only were those papers published in scientific journals (obviously, or there'd have been no argument), they were also included in the IPCC report!
From the USC:
Yet, the papers in question made it into the IPCC report, indicating that no restrictions on their incorporation were made. The IPCC process contains hundreds of authors and reviewers, with an exacting and transparent review process.
How Brandon Shollenberger Defends Consensus
Here's a tidbit of denier weirdness from a site called "The Blackboard". Most deniers are weakly protesting that although thousands of experts all agree on AGW, it doesn't matter squat. 'Consensus is for the birds', they mumble. Brandon Shollenberger (yes, that one) is taking a different tack, probably doing an Anthony Watts (see above) when he writes:
How many people currently believe Columbus set off to prove the Earth is round even though it is completely untrue? I’d say there’s even a consensus on itOne can only conclude that Brandon believes consensus is only of value if it's a consensus among experts, like scientists in the case of science. Consensus among a motley mob of ideologically-driven deniers, conspiracy theorists and scientific illiterati from WUWT or The Blackboard is not only rare but meaningless. About the only thing deniers ever agree on is that it must be a giant conspiracy. They can't even agree on what the conspiracy is.
More denier weirdness
Here are some choice excerpts from the comments to Anthony's article - so you can spend your valuable time on the paper itself and not have to wallow in the mud at WUWT:
May 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm I am sick of being told “97% agree…” I want to be told THE EVIDENCE (yes, I am SHOUTING because no warmist ever, anywhere, any time, answers this question) – WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE.
davidmhoffer says confidently, at least seventeen hours before he can possible have seen the paper itself:
May 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm This paper is so bad that mocking it may improve its credibility.And later, davidmhoffer gives some insight into the way his mind works. He brings up a completely unrelated thought held by a Greek philospher two and a half thousand years ago. (Empedocles was pretty close to the mark, he just got it back to front.)
May 14, 2013 at 10:59 pm In 5th century BC, the Greek philosopher Empedocles postulated we could see things due to rays coming out of our eyes.Has David created a paradox for himself? Does that mean all the thousands of scientists creating knowledge today are wrong? If so, how does David know that Empedocles was wrong?
A.D. Everard apparently prefers to listen to people who don't know and says:
May 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm So, they are trying to herd the population back into fear by reinforcing the idea of consensus amongst “scientists” who “know”.
RockyRoad is a back-to-front arithmetician. He thinks that a rise from 90% in 1991 to 97% over the whole twenty years is a decline, saying:
May 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm Hmmmm…..It appears their “concensus” (sic) is declining…. significantly….(and as a reminder to himself, adds) ...Never let a touch of reality ruin your cause, right?
Peter Ward not only can't understand math, he can't read, looks as if he misread 12,000 as 2,000 - and says:
May 14, 2013 at 10:51 pm So 97% of 4000 papers endorsed AGW but of the “over 2000″ papers surveyed only 32.6% did? I don’t understand that math.
Manfred, after two centuries of science and thousands of papers confirming the consensus, is still waiting hopefully for his "one" paper, writing (with a touch of historical liberty and shades of the fake Oregon petition <--worth reading):
May 15, 2013 at 1:37 am How tiresomely ignorant and devoid of science. If I recall correctly, after Einstein had fled from Germany and the Nazis, he was informed that a hundred ‘Nazi’ scientists had come forward to debunk his eminent work on relativity. His comment: “they only needed one paper.”
While poor old Fred would never believe the findings of any collection of experts. He probably gets up every day wondering if this is the day when the sun doesn't rise or the day he'll float off earth and into space. He says:
May 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm And “consensus” is exactly what part of the scientific method? I wonder if Galileo was aware of this concept.
Sheesh. What a weird, contradictory, conspiratorial world deniers inhabit.
An almost final word: Independent. If a denier should stray here from WUWT or The Blackboard, maybe they will be kind to the folk there, and whisper to Anthony and Brandon (and Lucia) what Riki tried to tell them: "I do not think that word means what you think it means…." Similar applies to words taken out of context. You might also mention that stealing is not only immoral, in most places it's illegal. As is receiving stolen property.
A bonus for faithful readers
Here's a little bonus for everyone who's made it all the way to the end of this article. A comment that slipped right by the eagle eyes of Watts and the WUWT
Kevin MacDonald says:
May 15, 2013 at 1:12 am Fuzzy math: In a new soon to be published paper. I thought you might be referring to that one that simply ignored the TOB’s adjustments, but then I realised that piece of junk is never getting published.
Now, time to shift back to the real world: