Scientific Consensus about Consensus

Oreskes 2004:

There have been around 170,000 scientific papers written on the subject of climate science.  Naomi Oreskes reviewed nearly 1,000 of them and found 100% of the scientific papers addressing the cause of climate change agreed that it was primarily caused by human activity.

"The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position."

Anderegg et al 2010

"Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers."

Cook et al 2013

"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."

Verheggen et al 2014

"Results are presented from a survey held among 1868 scientists studying various aspects of climate change, including physical climate, climate impacts, and mitigation. The survey was unique in its size, broadness and level of detail. Consistent with other research, we found that, as the level of expertise in climate science grew, so too did the level of agreement on anthropogenic causation. 90% of respondents with more than 10 climate-related peer-reviewed publications (about half of all respondents), explicitly agreed with anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) being the dominant driver of recent global warming."

Carlton et al 2015

"Here we report on a survey of biophysical scientists across disciplines at universities in the Big 10 Conference. Most respondents (93.6%) believe that mean temperatures have risen and most (91.9%) believe in an anthropogenic contribution to rising temperatures. Respondents strongly believe that climate science is credible (mean credibility score 6.67/7)."

Cook et al 2016

The consensus that humans are causing recent global warming is shared by 90%–100% of publishing climate scientists according to six independent studies by co-authors of this paper. Those results are consistent with the 97% consensus reported by Cook et al (Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024) based on 11 944 abstracts of research papers, of which 4014 took a position on the cause of recent global warming. A survey of authors of those papers(N = 2412 papers) also supported a 97% consensus.

Supran and Oreskes 2017

Among Exxon's own climate scientists: "83% of peer-reviewed papers and 80% of internal documents acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, yet only 12% of advertorials [editorial-style advertisements] do so, with 81% instead expressing doubt. We conclude that ExxonMobil contributed to advancing climate science—by way of its scientists’ academic publications—but promoted doubt about it in advertorials. Given this discrepancy, we conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public."

Nuccitelli 2017 

"It’s most accurate to say that 97% of relevant peer-reviewed studies agree that humans are causing global warming, 99.9% of climate papers don’t reject that theory, and those who deny the overwhelming consensus are peddling misinformation."

Powell 2016

"James L. Powell, director of the National Physical Sciences Consortium, reviewed more than 24,000 peer-reviewed papers on global warming published in 2013 and 2014. Only five reject the reality of rising temperatures or the fact that human emissions are the cause, he found.

" 'It’s now a ruling paradigm, as much an accepted fact in climate science as plate tectonics is in geology and evolution is in biology,' he told msnbc. 'It’s 99.9% plus.'
The results include work from nearly the entire population of working climate scientists — close to 70,000 scientists, often sharing their byline with three or four other authors. They also include a dwindling opposition: Powell could find only four solitary authors who challenged the evidence for human-caused global warming. That’s a rate of one dissenting voice for every 17,000 agreeing scientists, and it’s not a strong voice. Powell called the four dissents 'known deniers and crackpots,' and noted that their work had been cited only once by the wider academic community.

" 'There isn’t any evidence against global warming and there isn’t any alternative theory,' he said. 'We’ve been looking for negative feedbacks and we’ve never found one that amounts to anything. It’s not impossible that we will, but I wouldn’t bet my grandchildren’s future on it.' "


Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute

"So the reality, of course, is that climate change is real, that humans are causing it, and the impacts are going to be severe. There's no longer any debate in the real science community about that. Every national academy of sciences on the planet agrees with that. And the challenge is not fighting about the science. The challenge is, how are we going to respond to the real threat, the real risks, that climate change poses."

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature

The fossil fuel industry assembled and funded a team of then-skeptical scientists to determine if they could find a weakness in the scientific studies on global warming that had been done to date.  When they completed their own study, they produced this graph comparing their results to the results of NASA, NOAA, and the UK's Hadley Centre.  Yes, even fossil fuel industry scientists independently confirm the work of the other groups.

Afterwards, the lead scientist of this survey publicly announced, "Call me a converted skeptic."

Richard Tol

The only scientific study disagreeing with the studies noted above was by Richard Tol.  His contention is merely that scientific consensus is irrelevant, not that it is lacking.

In fact, he wrote, "The consensus is of course in the high nineties.  No one ever said it was not.  We don't need Cook's survey to tell us that."