Skeptical Science Study Finds 97% Consensus on Human-Caused Global Warming in the Peer-Reviewed Literature

(This blogger said it better than I could, supported by a decent balance of links and charts, without an overly emotional bias.)


Posted on 16 May 2013 by dana1981, John Cook @

consensus pie chart

A new survey of over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers by our citizen science team at Skeptical Science has found a 97% consensus among papers taking a position on the cause of global warming in the peer-reviewed literature that humans are responsible.

Lead author John Cook created a short video abstract summarizing the study:

The Abstracts Survey

The first step of our approach involved expanding the original survey of the peer-reviewed scientific literature in Oreskes (2004).  We performed a keyword search of peer-reviewed scientific journal publications (in the ISI Web of Science) for the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘global climate change’ between the years 1991 and 2011, which returned over 12,000 papers. John Cook created a web-based system that would randomly display a paper’s abstract (summary).  We agreed upon definitions of possible categories: explicit or implicit endorsement of human-caused global warming, no…

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6 responses to “Skeptical Science Study Finds 97% Consensus on Human-Caused Global Warming in the Peer-Reviewed Literature

  1. I am certainly no scientist, but I would agree it seems pretty clear mankind has an impact on the environment, though I think caution is in order with radical policy choices given the failures of some catastrophic predictive models to accurately forecast recent cooling trends. More generally troubling for me would be the temptation to use popularity as a gauge for truth. I would imagine a similar headline would show that 97% of astronomers believed the earth was the center of the solar system before Galileo.

    • Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, Greg. I agree with you that it’s hard to establish wise policies that apply to all. But I also think what we have now is unwise policies that favor industry to the detriment of public health.

      Respectfully, your historical comparison isn’t entirely fair. Prior to Galileo, who was using the first long-distance telescopes available to verify the mathematical speculations of Copernicus, there WEREN’T any astronomers in the sense we use the term. Astrology was considered a co-equal branch of study, and celestial bodies were observed by the naked eye and by the kind of hand-held scopes used by sailors.

      The 97% figure in the article I reprinted, is not a popularity figure. It’s a consensus among professionals who are being held to the scientific method. Their findings have to be replicable by experiment and a variety of observation methods. It’s not the same as a public opinion.

  2. Banjo Steve

    I think that there is a huge and consistent denial re: human impact on climate change mainly due to the resistance of so many of our “leaders” and fellow citizens from taking on the political and financial burdens needed to really do something about it. Which fits the human pattern, it seems, to only act when the situation has become an undeniable and astonishingly obvious crisis. It’s much easier to denigrate science and the science community.

  3. Environmentalists always say the preponderance of evidence indicates manmade climate change and here’s a simple, unbiased study that scientifically proves it. Better stay invisible, those climate change deniers are mean.

    • I didn’t write the article. I just re-blogged (republished) it. I’m not afraid of people being mean to me, though I do thank you for your concern. I’m “invisible” (semi-anonymous) because I have a past in show biz, and I got tired of people trying to sell me stuff when I wrote under my real name.

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