Another survey shows a consensus that global climate change is happening.

The oft-repeated lie is that there is no consensus that global climate change is real, but when you ask the scientists who should know the consensus is clear:

A group of 3,146 earth scientists surveyed around the world overwhelmingly agree that in the past 200-plus years, mean global temperatures have been rising, and that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.

Peter Doran, University of Illinois at Chicago associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, along with former graduate student Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, conducted the survey late last year.

[...] In trying to overcome criticism of earlier attempts to gauge the view of earth scientists on global warming and the human impact factor, Doran and Kendall Zimmerman sought the opinion of the most complete list of earth scientists they could find, contacting more than 10,200 experts around the world listed in the 2007 edition of the American Geological Institute’s Directory of Geoscience Departments.

[...] Two questions were key: have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.

About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second.

In analyzing responses by sub-groups, Doran found that climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role. Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 and 64 percent respectively believing in human involvement. Doran compared their responses to a recent poll showing only 58 percent of the public thinks human activity contributes to global warming.

My cynical side points out the fact that the climatologists think it is happening while the petroleum geologists don’t ties neatly in with the argument that both are biased in favor of whatever supports their field of study. That makes it doubtful this will settle any arguments, but it’s still worth noting that there is a consensus.

23 comments

  1. “Consensus” does not make things real and isn’t how genuine science works. If I can get 3,100 “scientists” to agree that the Dodo is not extinct, does that consensus mean a flock of Dodos are still running around Mauritius?

    3,100 “scientists” is nothing. More people than that attend every NHL game. It might be an actual “consensus” when the number gets around the 250,000 “scientist” mark but even then it won’t make AGW real.

    Its Earth, it has been and always will be changing significantly without our help.
    Did you know the Earth’s magnetic poles have actually reversed more than 25 times in the last 5 million years and that the magnetic north pole has moved 683miles in the 20th century alone? Did you know in the Mesozoic era there was no polar ice or cold weather season?

  2. Never said that consensus makes things “real”, but when a lot of scientists who work on the issue say the issue is real then I think that’s a good yard stick to go by.

    And, yes, I am aware the Earth’s poles have reversed several times. Though your willingness to accept that as having happened when it hasn’t happened anytime within recent history just because some scientists said it happened is odd considering how easily you write off lots of scientists saying global climate change is happening right now.

  3. Pole reversals take a VERY long time. The shortest known events occurred over a span of 50 thousand years, the last one happening 780 thousand years ago.

    Considering humans have only been around for about 15 thousand years, only the last 200 of which we’ve had any scientific discipline, its safe to say nobody has seen it happen.

    I write off AGW because its completely political and money driven with no real science behind it. We aren’t talking about genuine theories like evolution or the big bang, we’re talking about the equivalent of a fart in a movie theater drastically changing the climate.

    The fact we are on the tail end of an ice age naturally means things are going to warm up no matter what we do. Combined with the fact that the earth is known to have had ice free ages AND ice ages means that the climate has extremes and long times in between. We happen to have come along during that warming stage.

  4. Tell you what Moloch- get 3,100 scientists in the relevent fields to write serious papers arguing that Dodos arn’t extinct, and we will start treating you like a big boy.

  5. Argument from authority.  A survey doesn’t make it true.  While I am convinced that there is a global rise in temperature, I’m not entirely convinced that the man made component of that change is very large.  Our political and scientific leaders are going about this all wrong anyway.  They should have never shifted the focus away from air quality.  As I top a nearby hill when I’m coming home from work every morning, I get a view of downtown Nashville.  It would be a nice view except for the brown haze that has settled over the city.  Air quality is something people can see and be concerned about.  Global climate change just doesn’t have any effects that are manifesting locally for the vast majority of people.

  6. Thats the problem. We CAN affect the local climate, but the effects are not permanent. Give it a few days with no activity and that brown cloud will be nothing but a memory.

    We CAN’T affect the global climate. The earth is covered 70% by water, we would have to be putting out exponentially more pollution before that can happen. Right now we aren’t even putting out as much per day as we did during the industrial revolution. When was the last time you had to wipe the coal dust off your vehicle from the nearby industrial plant?

    Short of another Texas sized meteor or Yellowstone exploding, there isn’t much that can alter the climate as quickly as these “scientists” claim we have been. Even then, obviously, things eventually returned to “normal”.

  7. Like Les, and Moloch, this will not end the argument. Part of the problem is that ALL predictions are faith based – based on “authority” and you all know how flawed authority can be, especially when using data that are INCOMPLETE. Pareidolia works with both our eyes and our other senses. We have to fill in the blanks, or we are not comfortable. When someone can bring forth a model that includes ALL data that effect global climate, I may be inclined to be more impressed.

  8. the climate changes all the time, earth since its formation has never been stable when it comes to weather changes, desserts were once forests and Iceland was full of green hills. the climate changes of natural causes if we like it or not.
    and i remember reading a recent study that suggested that only 17% (or 12% cant really remember so its better if you Google it up later) of the global warming is caused by human activity.
    yet i have no doubt with modern science surviving any environment is possible. we can build huge floating settlements or under sea settlements, we can design independent life sustaining systems using gm plants so we never run out of food and o2, we can treat sea water to extract salt and make it drinkable, not to mention what technologies are yet to be implemented by the time the environmental change strikes us.
    so for the time been lets but all these environmentalist ideologies set backs aside and go back to doing the human resource depleting thing.

  9. Argument from authority.  A survey doesn’t make it true.

    Nice try but no cigar.

    The very valid point is that while there is no general consensus about global warming and human contribution, there is a broad consensus among those most familiar and/or involved in the actual research. The claim isn’t that this consensus among scientists in the field represents unshakable truth, but that their current thinking bears more weight than that of the average yokel in the pub.

  10. their current thinking bears more weight than that of the average yokel in the pub.

    Why should it bear more weight if it has no stronger evidence?

  11. Again I question: If most everyone agrees and the evidence almost certainly agrees that global warming is taking place, then who the hell cares how it’s happening, whether that’s man-made or natural?

    We can only do something about it by man-made means, and most people agree that it’s varying degrees of “something we do not want to happen” so why doesn’t everyone shut up up and do something about it whether or not we’ve got a handle on the finger pointing? Especially since an awful lot of “doing something about it” is fairly good quality of life sort of things like not spewing pollutants into the air, not cutting down trees needlessly, using less energy for common tasks, etc?

    It’s like people are getting distracted by the urge to blame and defend instead of shrugging it off and doing something about it. Even if it’s a complete sham, does it really make sense to pour coal smoke and industrial pollutants into the atmosphere when you’ve got other options, or could develop other options?

  12. Moloch: for as intelligent as you think you sound on the issue your assertions just show ignorance. As with most politically infused topics some humans tend to look for evidence to back up their assertions than to actually seek out the truth. Global Warming is a great example. I have run across many intelligent, logical, and rational people. But on this topic all of that goes out the window for some reason or another.

    I would recommend that people start with this link and work your way through. Just about every myth is tackled

    Right now we aren’t even putting out as much per day as we did during the industrial revolution.

    Depends on the pollutant you are referring to

    Ice cores show that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have remained between 180 and 300 parts per million for the past half-a-million years. In recent centuries, however, CO2 levels have risen sharply, to at least 380 ppm (see Greenhouse gases hit new high)

    Anyways, here are links galore on the subject…

    And of course there are others. I can even recommend some blogs if you would rather get the same info as analyzed by an expert so that you don’t have to sift through 100s of pages of info…

  13. Even if it’s a complete sham, does it really make sense to pour coal smoke and industrial pollutants into the atmosphere when you’ve got other options, or could develop other options?

    The greater problem is, “Who is going to make a lot of money out of mandating another solution, and is that solution worse or better than the current one?” Follow the buck! If you think any politician really gives a s___ about the “environment,” I have a wonderful bridge I want to sell you. Politicians are NOT about caring, they are about gaining power and money and making it look like they care. Period.

  14. Leguru, that’s an awfully broad brush you’re painting with there. Yes, there are plenty of politicians who are only on board because they think they can make a buck, but to suggest that not a one of them has seen the data and is concerned about the survival of his/her children is hard to swallow.

    Not every politician is in it only for the money or the power. All the money and power won’t mean jack shit if we kill ourselves off.

  15. Why, then, are they appealing to our emotions instead of reason? They have no more proof of their position than the fundies have of their “god”. It’s all a “fill-in-the-blank” B.S. game to them. What really amazes me is how many “rational” folks have been taken in by this.

  16. The greater problem is, “Who is going to make a lot of money out of mandating another solution, and is that solution worse or better than the current one?”

    It’s like you’re saying that you wouldn’t put seat belts on if the car companies charged for them, even though most people agree they saved lives, because you know some other people who agree you might live, and those bastards in Detroit are greedy.

    Fuck your quality of life, right? Clean air? Whatever. You’ll show those greedy bastards in Washington.

    Pardon me, but it’s fucking stupid sounding.

  17. It’s really interesting that people have such strong feelings about something like this. My guess is that people just don’t like the reality of anthropogenic global warming and would rather wish it away than potentially having to cut back on their standard of living. (I think that reducing CO2 emissions won’t dramatically reduce western living standards, if at all, and will likely boost the economy more than hinder it. Not to mention that it goes hand in hand with overcoming the oil addiction, which has caused much trouble in the Middle-East.)

    As Moloch shows, it seems to be very typical to deny the findings of climatologists. The arguments are quite ridiculous and would equally well (or badly) apply to any field of science. Is there any indication that climate scientists have somehow poorer scientific standards? Are climatologists more prone to holding unwarranted opinions regarding their field of research than scientists of other fields? There’s no evidence, despite mounds of peer-review publications?

    It would be far more convincing if the global warming “sceptics” could actually show how exactly climate science gets it wrong, but all attempts in that direction that I’ve seen fall pathetically short and resemble creationists’ attempts to discredit evolution.

  18. What Flaky said. Most of the reports that I’ve read on the climate list off facts and avoid appeals to emotion. Most of the emotion is coming from the media reporting on the science, not necessarily the science itself. Given the potential consequences that’s understandable.

    The fact that there are so many folks who don’t accept the science is part of why I’m cynical about the future. Humans as a species tend to be procrastinators and wishful thinkers and a look at history shows too often that we have to be up to our necks in our own shit before we realize we should probably do something about it. This looks like it’s going to be history repeating itself.

    The other argument I don’t understand is the whole “look at who’s going to make the money off this” argument. Who the fuck cares if people make money off of it? Considering the state of the economy and the fact that we could really use some job creation we should probably be pushing the whole “you can make a shitload of money out of this” angle as heavily as we can. Making or saving money off solving the problems is probably the best motivator we have to get people to change their ways.

    Why the fuck do you think I want to change all my Krismas lights to LEDs next year? Because they last longer and use 25% of the energy of standard bulbs. Whoever makes those lights is going to make some money off of me and I’ll be saving a little as well. How is that a bad thing?

  19. When you have all the scientists who’ve studied the data on one side , and the people who told us smoking doesn’t cause cancer on the other side, it really shouldn’t take more than ten seconds to tell who’s lying.
    Global Warming denialists are like Creationists, a whole lot of “facts” and “quotes”, no science.
    For those who say that the scientists are “just in it for the money” I suggest you look at how much Exxon is paying it’s shills vs the salary that climate scientists earn. If they were in it for the money, they’d be denialists.

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