Do most scientists agree that human activity is causing global climate change? Yes, they do, according to an extensive analysis of the abstracts or summaries of scientific papers published over the past 20 years, even though public perception tends to be that climate scientists disagree over the fundamental cause of climate change.
To help put a stop to the squabbling, two dozen scientists and citizen-scientists from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USincluding Sarah Green, professor and chair of chemistry at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich. analyzed the abstracts of nearly 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers on climate change published between 1991 and 2011. They also surveyed the authors of those papers, to find out how well the analysis agreed with the authors' own views on how their papers presented the cause of climate change.
They found that more than 97 percent of the scientists who expressed any opinion in their papers about the primary cause of global climate change believed that human activity was the cause. Approximately the same percentage of authors who responded to the survey said that their papers endorsed anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. Nine of the scientists, including Green, reported their findings today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, published by the Institute of Physics.
Green says she got involved because she was curious about the apparent disconnect between the general public's lack of concern about climate change and what she calls "the clear scientific evidence that humans are changing the planet's atmosphere." That led her to SkepticalScience.com, a web site that tracks and addresses common myths about climate change. She has since contributed several articles.
John Cook, who maintains the web site, is a climate communications fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia. He found
|Contact: Sarah Green|
Michigan Technological University