James L. Powell, director of the National Physical Sciences Consortium and whistleblower on climate change denial, has a mission to bring media and readers up to date on how many scientists believe people cause climate change. The anthropogenic climate change number is larger than you might think.
Dr. Powell has examined titles and abstracts of more than 24,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles on climate change published during the past couple of years. He has identified 69,406 authors named in the articles. Only four of them (one in every 17,352 scientists) rejected the fact that human emissions cause climate change. He refers back to 11 years ago, when Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard professor of the history of science and coauthor of the book Merchants of Doubt, reviewed 928 abstracts of articles on anthropogenic climate change. She didn’t run across one that rejected it.
The 97% is wrong, period. Look at it this way: If someone says that 97% of publishing climate scientists accept anthropogenic global warming, your natural inference is that 3% reject it. But I found only 0.006% who reject it. That is a difference of 500 times.
Powell has submitted his findings to a peer-reviewed journal, but his article has not been published yet.
In looking at the climate consensus studies, Taylor Hill of takepart.com probably exaggerates American ignorance by comparing Powell’s numbers to the March 2015 Gallup poll and Pew AAAS study, because the disbelief quotients on anthropogenic climate change there are on the high end. Had he chosen to highlight the New York Times/Stanford University poll taken during the same time period, the numbers would have appeared quite different.
Many people evidently feel that they can accept the findings of science that they agree with and reject those that they find offensive or inconvenient. But it doesn’t work that way. Science is of a piece, all fitting together like a beautiful tapestry. To say that climate scientists are wrong is to say that all these fields are wrong and therefore science itself is wrong. But if it were, nothing would work. People can’t have it both ways.
Meanwhile, for fun, check out John Oliver of Last Week Tonight; Bill Nye, the Science Guy; and others in the video below. They’ve put together a fabulous take on “the climate consensus.”
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