“We must remember that while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts”
The second preconception is that “Scientists do not agree that it is caused by humans”- this is also a fallacy. In order to debunk this, it makes sense to focus on the consensus among experts in this area; for example most would prefer the opinion of an oncologist over a dentist when it came to cancer treatment etc. So, if we focus on the field of climate science, we can verify an overwhelming consensus within the community on the realities of anthropogenic climate change.
This consensus has recently been analysed and published (16th of May 2013) in the peer review journal “Environmental Research Letters” (http://bit.ly/101LZzw). The study, undertaken by the University of Queensland in conjunction with Skeptical Science is the most comprehensive survey of the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming ever done. The research team surveyed the abstracts of over 12,000 scientific articles published between 1991 and 2011 on the subjects of “global climate change” or “global warming” to see to what extent they endorsed or rejected the idea that global warming over the past 150 years is real and is mainly caused by humans.
The research showed that among the 4,000+ abstracts that expressed an opinion on the man-made cause of climate change, 97.1% endorsed the concept, 1.7% rejected human causes and 1% were undecided. A second phase of the study involved contacting the authors of the scientific papers, asking them to rate their own papers themselves, producing very similar results. Among papers self-rated as expressing an opinion on man-made global warming, 97.2% endorsed the consensus.
The scientists in question came from at least 74 different countries showing that diversity does not effect consensus. For transparency, all of the papers analysed can be seen in the supplementary data accompanying the publication. Furthermore, the research group have developed a Interactive Rating System, encouraging people to rate the papers themselves and compare their ratings to the findings. The group openly states that they “welcome criticism” with the view that “further scrutiny will improve the reliability of results”- see the website here: http://bit.ly/106vXYG
From this point on, in relation to climate change, we really need to remember that it doesn’t matter what you believe – only what you can prove. This is science, not philosophy and the clock is ticking.
-Jean and Daniel, of The Earth Story.
For further information, see the skeptical science website: http://bit.ly/13zvRd2
- Survey finds 97% climate science papers agree warming is man-made | Dana Nuccitelli (guardian.co.uk)
- Scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change (sciencedaily.com)