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Fewer than half of climate scientists endorse anthropogenic global warming

A recent survey of climate change articles in science journals finds fewer than half of the authors endorse anthropogenic global warming theories. The so-called consensus has now collapsed to a minority position. I love being right. Linked by The Drudge Report:

Breaking: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory

DAILYTECH

SURVEY: LESS THAN HALF OF ALL PUBLISHED SCIENTISTS ENDORSE GLOBAL WARMING THEORY; COMPREHENSIVE SURVEY OF PUBLISHED CLIMATE RESEARCH REVEALS CHANGING VIEWPOINTS

Michael Asher
August 29, 2007 11:07 AM

In 2004, history professor Naomi Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993 to 2003, she found a majority supported the “consensus view,” defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes’ work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15 years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.

Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.

Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers “implicit” endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no “consensus.”

The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the “primary” cause of warming, but it doesn’t require any belief or support for “catastrophic” global warming. In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.

These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown us that — whatever the cause may be — the amount of warming is unlikely to cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.

Schulte’s survey contradicts the United Nation IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (2007), which gave a figure of “90% likely” man was having an impact on world temperatures. But does the IPCC represent a consensus view of world scientists? Despite media claims of “thousands of scientists” involved in the report, the actual text is written by a much smaller number of “lead authors.” The introductory “Summary for Policymakers” — the only portion usually quoted in the media — is written not by scientists at all, but by politicians, and approved, word-by-word, by political representatives from member nations. By IPCC policy, the individual report chapters — the only text actually written by scientists — are edited to “ensure compliance” with the summary, which is typically published months before the actual report itself.

By contrast, the ISI Web of Science database covers 8,700 journals and publications, including every leading scientific journal in the world.

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12 Responses to Fewer than half of climate scientists endorse anthropogenic global warming

  1. Is the Climate Jury still out?

    This raises the question:

    Is Science based on predictable theories based on empirical fact – or on “democratic” consensus?

    What place do “consensus” documents written by administrators have in “science”?

  2. I don’t even think it’s based on “Democratic” consensus anymore, more like a dictatorship or Communist style (“toe the line or we end your career” kind of deal). Either way, real science suffers.

  3. I didn’t look too hard, but it doesn’t look like articles were limited to those which actually took on the question of human causation. If not, papers neutral on that question shouldn’t be taken to indicate neutrality on the question by the author.

    But, certainly, if the consensus was like Gore for instance would have us believe, one would expect it to show much differently in this study. This is very meaningful and damaging to the claims of consensus.

  4. I think people just want something they can fight for, and feel good about it. At the college I attend I am refered to as ignorant for not believing in man-made global warming.

    They argue gleefully with appeals to emotions- and no facts. Sometimes I feel like science has died. Now a days if you have a contrary view you are ostricized beyond belief in the scientific community.

  5. Imo Oreskes’ response was something like: “I assumed every who did not expicitly object to the consensus view is actually supporting it”

    Kind of like a teacher asking in a class: “Those who disagree put up their hands”, and finding none, assumes that everyone agrees with him.

    Not always an unreasonable assumption, but imo not reasonable in the case in question.

  6. 7

    This article represents yet another bright ray of sunshine in a world where science is darkened by clouds of arrogance and complacency.

  7. Finally, a writer who knows when to use “fewer” instead of “less.” Refreshing.

  8. Barry

    You noticed! I cringed when I saw the mistake repeated all over the web and couldn’t bring myself to repeat it yet again in the subject line of my article.

  9. [...] And, well, so on … Schulte is getting touted by the Drudge Report and other fonts of scientific wisdom. Sadly, there will be too many who will listen.  For other refutations of Schulte, see:  DeSmogBlog’s Oreskes Shreds Contradictory Climate Survey; Climate411’s Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics; and Grist’s Hunting the White Whale: If those opposed to action on climate change are like Ahab, the scientific consensus is their white whale. The reason is simple: as Frank Luntz’s famous memo pointed out, if they can convince the general public that the science of climate change is uncertain, they can drag the debate over policy to a grinding halt [...]

  10. [...] Many readers will no doubt know the 2004 paper in Science by historian of science Naomi Oreskes, a paper which discussed the consensus position regarding anthropogenic climate change. Predictably, the paper received much vitriol from the climate contrarians and denialists. Now, a medical research (Klaus-Martin Schulte, who appears to be a consultant in endocrine surgery) has claimed that Oreske’s paper is notonly outdated but also wrong. This claim has been extensively crowed over not only by Inhofe’s EPW Press Blog but by other Right wing sites and, indeed, our own beloved Uncommon Descent. [...]

  11. Well,

    Al Gore, together with the IPCC just won a Nobel Peace Prize for highlighting the worldwide dangers of global warming. I guess that settles the issue once and for all /sarc

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