follow us like us subscribe contact us
Adbar

Contrary to Popular Belief Scientists are United on Climate Change

By Science Progress | Wed, 21 November 2012 23:21 | 22

Polls show that many members of the public believe that scientists substantially disagree about human-caused global warming. The gold standard of science is the peer-reviewed literature. If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature.

I searched the Web of Science, an online science publication tool, for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between January first 1991 and November 9th 2012 that have the keyword phrases “global warming” or “global climate change.” The search produced 13,950 articles. See methodology.

Global Warming Science

I read whatever combination of titles, abstracts, and entire articles was necessary to identify articles that “reject” human-caused global warming. To be classified as rejecting, an article had to clearly and explicitly state that the theory of global warming is false or, as happened in a few cases, that some other process better explains the observed warming. Articles that merely claimed to have found some discrepancy, some minor flaw, some reason for doubt, I did not classify as rejecting global warming.

Related Article: World Bank: Leaders are Running out of Time on Climate Change

Articles about methods, paleoclimatology, mitigation, adaptation, and effects at least implicitly accept human-caused global warming and were usually obvious from the title alone. John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli also reviewed and assigned some of these articles; John provided invaluable technical expertise.

This work follows that of Oreskes (Science, 2005) who searched for articles published between 1993 and 2003 with the keyword phrase “global climate change.” She found 928, read the abstracts of each and classified them. None rejected human-caused global warming. Using her criteria and time-span, I get the same result. Deniers attacked Oreskes and her findings, but they have held up.

Some articles on global warming may use other keywords, for example, “climate change” without the “global” prefix. But there is no reason to think that the proportion rejecting global warming would be any higher.

By my definition, 24 of the 13,950 articles, 0.17 percent or 1 in 581, clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming. The list of articles that reject global warming is here.

The 24 articles have been cited a total of 113 times over the nearly 21-year period, for an average of close to 5 citations each. That compares to an average of about 19 citations for articles answering to “global warming,” for example. Four of the rejecting articles have never been cited; four have citations in the double-digits. The most-cited has 17.

Of one thing we can be certain: had any of these articles presented the magic bullet that falsifies human-caused global warming, that article would be on its way to becoming one of the most-cited in the history of science.

Number of Articles on Climate Science

The articles have a total of 33,690 individual authors. The top ten countries represented, in order, are USA, England, China, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia, France, Spain, and Netherlands. (The chart shows results through November 9th, 2012.)

Related Article: The IPCC May Have Outlived its Usefulness - An Interview with Judith Curry

Global warming deniers often claim that bias prevents them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals. But 24 articles in 18 different journals, collectively making several different arguments against global warming, expose that claim as false. Articles rejecting global warming can be published, but those that have been have earned little support or notice, even from other deniers.

A few deniers have become well known from newspaper interviews, Congressional hearings, conferences of climate change critics, books, lectures, websites and the like. Their names are conspicuously rare among the authors of the rejecting articles. Like those authors, the prominent deniers must have no evidence that falsifies global warming.

Anyone can repeat this search and post their findings. Another reviewer would likely have slightly different standards than mine and get a different number of rejecting articles. But no one will be able to reach a different conclusion, for only one conclusion is possible: Within science, global warming denial has virtually no influence. Its influence is instead on a misguided media, politicians all-too-willing to deny science for their own gain, and a gullible public.

Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree.

By. Dr. James Powell

James Lawrence Powell is the author of The Inquisition of Climate Science. Powell is also the executive director of the National Physical Science Consortium, a partnership among government agencies and laboratories, industry, and higher education dedicated to increasing the number of American citizens with graduate degrees in the physical sciences and related engineering fields. This article is cross-posted with permission with the Columbia University Press blog.

Leave a comment

  • Bill Tryon, DC on November 22 2012 said:
    It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes.

    Likewise, it is not what scientists observe, think privately, or deduce logically that counts. It's what they are allowed to publish by the gatekeepers of the academic and climate science publishing complex.

    Big money is at stake. Very big money. Follow the money to the honey tree.

    Trillions of dollars are at stake in the UN IPCC-led global drive to redistribute assets from the first world nations to the nations of the emerging and third worlds.

    That is a lot of money, and a lot of incentive to deny publishing and tenure to scientists who submit "inconvenient findings" to the inner circle of climate science.
  • Marko on November 22 2012 said:
    Yes, they agree warming is happening. But are all of these papers claiming humans are the cause? I seriously doubt it.
  • MJ on November 22 2012 said:
    Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

    Typical propaganda using manipulation of words to imply the desired outcome.

    With threats made against anyone who questions the religion of global warming

    (maliciously labeled "DENIERS"!)

    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/1096/Execute-Skeptics-Shock-Call-To-Action-At-what-point-do-we-jail-or-execute-global-warming-deniers--Shouldnt-we-start-punishing-them-now

    how can anyone claim that the science is settled? How can anyone claim that changes in climate are a result of man's activities? If Christopher Monckton made public calls to jail or execute those promoting the religion of AGM, do you think he'd be walking free today?

    the only thing "SETTLED" is: "THOU SHALT NOT INTERFERE WITH OUR PROFITS OR AGENDA!"

    With the politically-connected openly, and with impunity, publicly threatening their lives and careers, is it any wonder that there has been a growing silence from objective scientists?

    It is also quite ironic that this writer's noted publication "The Inquisition of Climate Change" uses such a word as "Inquisition".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition

    In the past, scientists and other OBJECTIVE researchers "Investigated"
    The did not conduct an "INQUISITION".

    Unless and until there can be open and honest discourse without threats and intimidation with huge sums of money going to the Chief Priests, the religion of AGM will remain the pariah that it is.
  • JBowers on November 22 2012 said:
    I see the anti-Holocene commenters above haven't tried to replicate your results, but feel confident enough to wear tinfoil hats in public and call the consequences of the laws of physics a conspiracy. Strange world indeed.
  • mj on November 22 2012 said:
    JBowers claims that the above commenters "haven't tried to replicate your results"

    What results? The search(s) noted in "Methodology"?

    That is a sampling of articles based upon a number of limited, carefully chosen words. The same "methodology" with similar results could be used to argue against AGW.

    This is the typical religious intolerance used to attack heretics for centuries.

    Even if a peer-reveiwed paper was submitted claiming to substantiate AGW with alleged cataclysmic results, what private individual has the resources and atmospheric science background to critique and evaluate such research? The public at large must rely on analysis from several sources of experts (and that does not include any mega-wealthy, opportunistic, grandstanding, tobacco-growing lawyers) examining their conclusions and viewing their citations and sources.

    Christopher Monckton invited debate on AGW and when his opponents could not argue against his facts, figures and research which discredited AGW, they would resort to a red herring such as demanding that he stop using the title of "Lord". What would any prudent person conclude when an opponent in a debate (regardless of the topic) goes off on such a tangent which has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion?

    As has been proven (numerous validations via the same methodology as used in the above article), institutes and government agencies cannot be relied upon for unbiased data and anything coming forth from government, or special interest groups (IPCC.......aka "State Science Institute") receiving government funding or funds from ponzi schemes (carbon trading), simply cannot be trusted. If one subscribes to the religion of AGW and wants to "BELIEVE" in the gospel without objective proof, that is their choice.

    Although the science is far from settled, the certainty is that propaganda and religious persecution of "DENIERS" will continue. THE INQUISITION LIVES!!!!!
  • Lulapalooza on November 23 2012 said:
    " The same "methodology" with similar results could be used to argue against AGW."

    Can it? Or should we be expected to accept this statement upon YOUR faith that it is true?

    And why do I get the feeling that there are no scientific institutions that would be deemed to pass muster? Who does scientific research that is not funded by special interest groups or government, and
    SHOULD be trusted?

    I've reviewed some of the AGW studies, and no, a background in atmospheric science is NOT necessary to be reasonably confident that a study has been held to rigorous standards and generates reliable data. There is no doubt the earth is warming at a rate far faster than ever seen before. Causation must be proven using indirect evidence, but still this is relatively trivial extrapolation. For a simplified example: If emissions retain heat, and the amount of heat can be measured as a ratio to the number of particulates in a given volume of atmosphere, in a lab for example, and the concentration of particulates in the atmosphere are being shown to increase on a yearly basis, what is the logical conclusion?

    Outside of the science, c'mon, who has the most to gain from hiding the truth? Follow the money. A life-long conservative, I don't know what has happened to my fellow conservatives that they now think they can rewrite truths and reality, such that evolution is discredited, giving tax cuts to corporations and the rich will create jobs, or all the polls that showed Obama would win were wrong and could be ignored. Or that AGW or not, forsaking the pursuit of alternative energy so that China (15-20 years ago we were investing three times as much as China, now the numbers have flipped) could gobble up the global market was a good business decision. (Certainly not because our manufacturing base was too heavily weighted.) Here in the U.S. the AGW denying memes and fossil fuel special interests may have alternative energy may have managed to limit the use of alternative energy, but globally the market is growing rapidly.
  • J Bowers on November 23 2012 said:
    mj -- "That is a sampling of articles based upon a number of limited, carefully chosen words. The same "methodology" with similar results could be used to argue against AGW."

    Like I said, you haven't attempted anything, even using different terms. Wonder why.

    mj -- "This is the typical religious intolerance used to attack heretics for centuries."

    Tim O'Reilly: Climate Deniers are the Equivalent of Galileo? I don't think so.
  • J Bowers on November 23 2012 said:
    Link for last:

    https://plus.google.com/+TimOReilly/posts/bx2uhzaYsww
  • Mel Tisdale on November 23 2012 said:
    It looks like we are on the way to a temperature rise of between 4 and 5 degrees C. That will be terrible for all those forced to endure it and certainly a 4 degree warmer world will not be able support the 9 to 10 billion population forecast to be with us long before the end of this century. Starvation looms for many of our future families.

    It really does not matter what is causing the warming. For instance, the warming could be due to the sun, even though we know it isn’t. What matters is that we must do whatever we can to combat it. We know from the science that greenhouse gases cause the planet to warm, so we should do whatever we can to reduce emissions of them even if the sun, volcanoes, or whatever were primarily to blame. It would at least slow down the rate of increase and give future generations a chance of finding a solution to their climate problems, which will be extreme.

    To argue that we should not act because climate change is not human in origin is like refusing to steer round an iceberg simply because it is not manmade. It doesn’t require much in the way of an IQ to see how silly that position is.

    Finally, it is sobering to read the latest World Bank paper on the matter. Anyone who can read that and not support action to combat climate change is probably in need of some clinical intervention.
  • tolo4zero on November 23 2012 said:
    "John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli also reviewed and assigned some of these articles; John provided invaluable technical expertise"

    From the alramist and misleading skeptical science blog, who claim :
    "Several independent studies have shown that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing the climate to change, that CO2 is causing global changes to the climate, and that the consequences could be catastrophic. These views form the scientific consensus on climate change.” "

    None of these studies mention CAGW, not one.
    Skeptical science is misleading it's readers.
  • J Bowers on November 23 2012 said:
    We're not 'alarmists', we're just pro-Holocene and pro-agriculture.
  • David Hrivnak on November 26 2012 said:
    I find it curious that that many people who are climate skeptics talk about all the research money at stake. But from what I can find, the pockets of oil, coal and gas companies are FAR larger than that of any private/governmental grants.

    I would love for anyone to give data to show there is no warming or if there is warming what is causing it besides mankind?
  • mj on November 26 2012 said:
    Thank you all very much for your participation. I won my wager.

    And my colleague from the UK forwarded the following:

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/358717/Coldest-winter-in-100-years-on-way

    (and he IS educated in atmospheric science!)
  • Roger Knights on November 26 2012 said:
    The article states:
    "To be classified as rejecting, an article had to clearly and explicitly state that the theory of global warming is false or, as happened in a few cases, that some other process better explains the observed warming. Articles that merely claimed to have found some discrepancy, some minor flaw, some reason for doubt, I did not classify as rejecting global warming."

    How many papers that "explicitly state that the theory of global warming is false" would get by peer review with that phrase intact? How many would even be submitted to peer review if they included that phrase? They therefore tend to be more circumspect and merely cite a discrepancy, some flaw (minor perhaps only in the author of this article's opinion), etc.

    Here's a link to 1100+ peer-reviewed papers supporting skeptical arguments critical of ACC/AGW alarmism:
    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

    ========

    The article states:
    "Global warming deniers often claim that bias prevents them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals. But 24 articles in 18 different journals, collectively making several different arguments against global warming, expose that claim as false. Articles rejecting global warming can be published, . . . ."

    Strawman. The claim is not that skeptics are 100% "prevented" from being published, but that that it is difficult (and hence rare) to get them published, or to get them published without being watered down, as I hinted above.

    ==========

    The article states:
    "If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature."
    AND:
    "A few deniers have become well known from newspaper interviews, Congressional hearings, conferences of climate change critics, books, lectures, websites and the like. Their names are conspicuously rare among the authors of the rejecting articles. Like those authors, the prominent deniers must have no evidence that falsifies global warming."

    IOW, an article will be classified as skeptical only if it presents hard evidence. BUT an article will be counted accepting/endorsing even if it presents no hard evidence, but merely implicit opinion:

    "Articles about methods, paleoclimatology, mitigation, adaptation, and effects at least implicitly accept human-caused global warming and were usually obvious from the title alone."

    Denial must be explicit, but acceptance may be implicit. This double standard biases the results of this article. By how much is unknown. For that, the author should have indicated how many fall into the "implicitly accepting" category.

    ==========

    The article states:
    "If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature."

    But the weakness of the warmist case isn't in the "hard evidence" so much as in the inferences drawn from that evidence, the selectivity applied in deciding which evidence is the most relevant, the inferences drawn from those relevant bits of evidence, the assumptions made, etc. It is at those matters where the main thrust of skepticism has been directed.

    But journals want to publish "findings." This biases them against publishing wide-ranging, argumentative critiques. (To be fair, they rarely publish similar argumentative essays from the warmist side either.) They have a just-the-facts attitude. But the facts don't speak for themselves. Argumentation has therefore moved to other venues.

    What's needed is an online venue where viewpoints can be argued among credentialed scientists, with the peanut gallery roped off into a separate section where their comments won't disrupt the discussion, but can be drawn upon by the participants if desired. This is what has finally gotten underway with the establishment this month of the Climate Dialogue site, at http://www.climatedialogue.org/
  • Roger Knights on November 26 2012 said:
    The article concludes:
    "Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree."

    So what? (Irrelevant thesis.) Skeptics don’t deny that. What they deny is that this warming will continue at its current pace; that it would be very harmful if it did so—or even harmful on balance at all; and that there are amplifying factors that will accelerate the current trend.

    The alarmists’ case rests on the assumptions of strong positive feedbacks and the absence or weakness of negative feedbacks. That’s where their case is weakest.
  • Roger Knights on November 26 2012 said:
    lulapalooza says:
    "There is no doubt the earth is warming at a rate far faster than ever seen before."

    NOAA's chart shows that the rate of rise from 1910 to 1940, before significant amounts of manmade CO@ were emitted, equaled the rate of rise from 1980 to 2000:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/global-land-ocean-mntp-anom/201101-201112.png
  • Roger Knights on November 26 2012 said:
    lulupalooza says:
    "Here in the U.S. the AGW denying memes and fossil fuel special interests may have alternative energy may have managed to limit the use of alternative energy, but globally the market is growing rapidly."

    But the SEPP (Science & Environmental Policy Project) states: "England is pulling back from wind, Germany has announced drastic cut-backs on its subsidies to solar, and Spain has announced the elimination of subsidies for renewable power. These actions are not the result of success.

    This just in:

    From PhysicsWorld.com, this news bit: Siemens and Bosch pull out of major African solar initiative dated Nov 19, 2012.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2012/nov/19/siemens-and-bosch-pull-out-of-major-african-solar-initiative

    The German firms Siemens and Bosch have announced they are both leaving the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii) – a private industry consortium that plans to install a total of 125 GW of solar-power capacity throughout the Middle East and North Africa by 2050….

    …Siemens has also announced it is to completely pull the plug on its solar-energy business. Blaming “changed framework conditions, lower growth and strong price pressure in the solar markets”, the firm will instead focus on developing its wind and hydroelectric power units.
  • Roger Knights on November 26 2012 said:
    The article states:
    “By my definition, 24 of the 13,950 articles, 0.17 percent or 1 in 581, clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming. The list of articles that reject global warming is here.”
    ( http://jamespowell.org/styled/index.html )

    Hmm . . . There’s nothing in that list by the following skeptical scientists, at least half of whom have presumably published papers properly classified as skeptical:

    Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Claude Allègre, John Christy, David Douglass, Don Easterbrook, William M. Gray, Richard Lindzen, Nils-Axel Mörner, Fred Singer, and Roy Spencer.

    I took their names from Wikipedia’s “List of [35] scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    Here are four other names, half of whom I presume wrote articles that were missed: Zbigniew Jaworowski, Augusto Mangini, Nathan Paldor, and Richard Tol
  • David L. Hagen on December 13 2012 said:
    This appeal to the majority (argumentum ad populum) is directly contrary to science and logic.

    "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong."
    -- Albert Einstein

    Major anthropogenic global warming is only as robust as its ability to distinguish its predictions from alternative theories. Currently the IPCC models are performing very poorly compared to alternative theories of major natural variation with minor anthropogenic contribution.
    See Nicola Scafetta 2012 etc.bottom of page
    http://people.duke.edu/~ns2002/
  • Heather on April 03 2013 said:
    Oh do not worry! Climate change alarmist have an explaination for why we do not see real world data that matches their theories......

    They call it global dimming! Just because none of their theories actually predict anything is not a problem for them!

    If we have a hot summer its global warming, if we hae a cool summer it's also global warming. If we have a mild winter that's also global warming, if we have a winter with a lot snow...... yup you guess it, that's global warming too!
  • Poptech on May 09 2013 said:
    This is completely refuted here,

    13,950 Meaningless Search Results
    http://www.populartechnology.net/2013/04/13950-meaningless-search-results.html

    1. The context of how the "search phrases" were used in all the results was never determined.

    2. The results are padded by not using the search qualifier "anthropogenic".

    3. The 13,950 results cannot be claimed to be peer-reviewed as the Web of Science does not have a peer-reviewed only filter.

    4. It is a strawman argument that skeptics deny or reject there has been a global temperature increase of a fraction of a degree since the end of the little ice age
  • john tucker on September 18 2013 said:
    I was blessed to spend more than a decade rubbing shoulders with professional mathematicians and statisticians tasked with the responsibility of "What is the exact depth of the water at such-and-such a point in the chesapeake Bay, given this data: the depth of that point at mean mean low water, the current position of the moon, of the sun, the current saqlinity and temperature of the water column, the wind direction and speed for the last 24 hours, and the rainfall upstream for the last day, week, and month.... its an extremely daunting task, even with supercomputers and masses of data.

    As human beings, we really think we can predict what the earth's climate is going to do ten, fifty years from now? Get real....we can't even predict the weather for next week! Everybody has their own biases, that is all. No one has the big picture, its way too big for any of us to fathom ....

Leave a comment