Science & Technology

Climate Change Debate Over, Again


getting hotter
Credit: Dreamstime

Environmental Research Letters is publishing another study that mines the scientific literature to find that 97 percent of the studies that opine on the subject endorse the consensus that anthropogenic warming is real. The abstract from the study,"Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming is the scientific literature," reports:

We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming'. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors' self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

And yet the climate has stubbornly refused to warm much and polls show that Americans aren't too worried about future temperature trends. Nevertheless, it is my sense that the researchers have it about right with regard to what the peer-reviewed literature is saying about man-made global warming.