What is it about?

This article was published in 2013. At that time, a recent survey had shown that 57% of Americans believed scientists disagreed about whether global warming is caused by human activity. The authors of this study wanted to find out whether that’s true. They read through 21 years’ worth of climate science – almost 12,000 articles – to count how many scientists agreed or disagreed that global warming is caused by human activity. They found that by the end of the study period (2011), almost all the scientists – 98% – agreed that global warming is caused by human activity.

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Why is it important?

This study found a big difference between perception and reality – more than half of Americans thought scientists disagreed about the causes of climate change, even though the evidence shows that scientists are in almost complete agreement. This may be because of campaigns run by organizations that have a lot to lose if people accept that human activity causes global warming, and change their behavior as a consequence – for example, fossil fuel companies. KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t believe everything you hear, and do think about the motives of the people you hear it from. The evidence shows that scientists overwhelmingly agree that human activities are causing global warming.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, Environmental Research Letters, May 2013, Institute of Physics Publishing,
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024.
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