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Climate Progress

Climate Progress

Joe Romm is a Fellow at American Progress and is the editor of Climate Progress, which New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called "the indispensable…

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Watch John Oliver's Spot-On Takedown Of Climate Change Debate

Some 97 out of 100 actively publishing climate scientists agree with the overwhelming evidence that humans are causing global warming.

Climate change

The challenge for the media is how to accurately reflect that consensus. One way NOT to do it is to give equal time to climate science deniers. Unsurprisingly (yet tragically), that is the preferred strategy of most of the MSM. False balance lives at CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, and even PBS.

Only one cable news show has been brave enough to take on false balance with a “statistically representative climate change debate.” Unfortunately, it’s a fake news show, John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” on HBO. Here is the must-see segment:

Sadly, this is no laughing matter. False balance and media miscoverage have left the public with a serious misperception about the degree of scientific agreement on climate change:

And as Skeptical Science has noted, this “consensus gap” matters: “Research has shown that people who are unaware of the expert consensus are less likely to accept the science and less likely to support taking action to address the problem, so media false balance can be linked directly to our inability to solve the climate problem.”

Climate scientists

All scientists and media outlets should heed the “advice to climate scientists on how to avoid being swift-boated,” from History professor Juan Cole:

“Any broadcast that pits a climate change skeptic against a serious climate scientist is automatically a win for the skeptic, since a false position is being given equal time and legitimacy.”

By. Joe Romm of Climate Progress

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Comments currently closed.

  • Randy on May 13 2014 said:
    What complete nonsense! Show me which report shows 97 out of 100 so-called "climate scientists" agree that humans are the primary cause of climate change. Who are these people? Name them. Tell me about their extensive knowledge on climate change computer models. Tell me how they arrived at their numbers. They post a comedian to make their point? Really? "Climate Progess" is so off-the-wall, so nonsensical, that they should not be posting on this forum. They have a POLITICAL AGENDA and could care less about debate or the truth! Their claims and methodology are mostly fraudulent.
  • patsfaninpittsburgh on May 13 2014 said:
    Who is this moron?

    Who knew 97% of idiots economically dependent on "climate change" think their is "climate change".

    It's comical that people are truly this stupid.
  • Head in the oilsand on May 14 2014 said:
    !Wait! ?What? Are you trying to tell me that if WE burn millions of tons of gas and oil and coal and trees, Every Day. That the environment will become HOTTER. Nonsense everyone knows that fire is not hot.
  • jess on May 14 2014 said:
    You two should really read some scientific journals instead of fox news if you want accurate science news. Of course global warming is occurring, I don't even know any one who really debates that anymore. Of course most of my friends are biologists and engineers who see the effects first hand. I was able to participate in a marmot/pika study which ultimately revealed that the pika are being crowded out of their high altitude(think cold temps) burrows by marmots which traditionally live in lower/ warmer elevations. However if you want to bury your head in the sand and be obstinate, go right ahead. Just like with all science it doesn't require faith or belief.
  • Randy on May 14 2014 said:
    Hey Jess!
    The debate is over you say? We've been watching too much FOX news you say? Got our heads in the sand you say? Really? Lemme say this, ...YOU and the people who regurgitate that nonsense/drivel noted above from groups like "Climate Progress" are helping to perpetuate one of the greatest frauds in human history. WE WANT A DEBATE! There is no 97 out of 100. It's complete BS! We want scientists to debate other scientists before moronic/idiotic economic decisions are made which effect all of humanity. Here are some OUR scientists:
  • Randy on May 14 2014 said:
    Here is what Forbes Magazine reported on how the "97% consensus" was achieved:
    "So where did that famous “consensus” claim that “98% of all scientists believe in global warming” come from? It originated from an endlessly reported 2009 American Geophysical Union (AGU) survey consisting of an intentionally brief two-minute, two question online survey sent to 10,257 earth scientists by two researchers at the University of Illinois. Of the about 3.000 who responded, 82% answered “yes” to the second question, which like the first, most people I know would also have agreed with.

    Then of those, only a small subset, just 77 who had been successful in getting more than half of their papers recently accepted by peer-reviewed climate science journals, were considered in their survey statistic. That “98% all scientists” referred to a laughably puny number of 75 of those 77 who answered “yes”."
  • Science on May 14 2014 said:
    Instead of getting all huffy and self-rightious, why not just post the actual study and a quick summary and let the numbers do the talking. Here are the questions and a link to the actual study in question. Let people then make an educated decision based on the merits on the study versus cherry picking data points.

    Question #1: When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

    About 90% of all the scientists and 97% of the climate scientists said temperatures had risen.

    Question #2: Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

    About 82% of all the scientists and 97% climate scientists agreed that human activity is a significant contributing factor.

    The anonymous poll sought the opinion of the most complete list of earth scientists they could find, contacting more than 10,200 experts at universities and government labs around the world listed in the 2007 edition of the American Geological Institute's Directory of Geoscience Departments. The 2-minute, two-question poll had 3146 responses (30.7% of those polled). Approximately 90% of the scientists who responded were from the U.S., and about 90% held a Ph.D. degree. Of these scientists, 5% were climate scientists who published more than 50% of all their peer-reviewed publications in the past five years on the subject of climate change. The authors noted that the survey included participants with well-documented dissenting opinions on global warming theory. More results from this study, including responses from the general public, are shown below in Figure 1. (Read this study in full.)

  • audacious on May 14 2014 said:
    What is a "climate scientist". There is no university degree corresponding to such a title. For the media, a "climate scientist" is a paid shill who believes. Every other scientist, the majority of scientists, hold the rational opinion that "global warming" is a pseudo-scientific fraud.
    The moronic 97% "consensus" is like saying that 97% of priests believe in god. Of course they do, it's their job.
  • Sev on May 14 2014 said:
    Love the "31,000 scientists" comment. Do you even READ the articles you link to?

    31,000 scientists say there is "no convincing evidence" that humans can or will cause "catastrophic" heating of the atmosphere.

    This claim originates from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which has an online petition...

    To participate in the petition one only needs to mark a check box to show that one has a Ph.D., M.S., or B.S. degree, and then fill in the fields. Unfortunately, that means that anyone can sign the petition, whether they have a degree or not.

    Since the results are not verifiable, there is no way to know how many signers have actually earned a degree.

    Do '31,000 scientists say global warming is not real'? Maybe. But more importantly what is the significance of these signatures? The majority of signatures are engineers (10,102). 3,046 are in medicine. 2,965 are in biology, biochemistry and agriculture. 4,822 in chemistry and chemical engineering.

    Without formal training in climate science the level of understanding remains unknown among those that signed the petition. A key question is not how many of those that signed the petition know climate exists, but rather how many of those that signed work directly in the field of climate science.

    Only 12% of those who signed...

    According to the data on the petition site, only 12% of those who signed the petition are indicated to have affiliation with atmosphere, earth, and environmental science. But there is no indication how many work in the field of climate science?

    As for questioning what a "climate scientist" is since there is no corresponding university degree, than one could ask what is any scientist, since in general there are no 'scientist' degrees. Medical Scientist, Biological Scientist, etc., there are no degrees for any of these. Similar to CEO, CFO, Investment Broker, and many other job titles.
  • Mike Mahoney on May 14 2014 said:
    Might it be the public has seen settled science reverse itself or have the facts on the ground upend the axioms? Yes, that is exactly what is the reason the public is skeptical. The dead certainty of some scientist is just about all the evidence to support an anti-axiom. You could almost bank on it.

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