Don’t hold your breath:

Global-Warming-Concensus

source

After I made this graph I found out that there is a version of it HERE with more info on the background.

Comments

  1. #1 David Westebbe
    United States
    April 6, 2013

    If scientific truth depended upon the popularity of the viewpoint, then this would be a compelling demonstration. However, truth has little or nothing to do with popularity in science (or anywhere else).

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    April 6, 2013

    You are so right. But, you may be off topic for this thread. The preponderance of evidence, repeated verification, and overwhelming acceptance of climate science generally and global warming and related phenomena is not a matter of “popularity” at all. They are very different phenomena.

    You’re not a science denialist by any chance are you?

  3. #3 Peter Gleick
    United States
    April 6, 2013

    Sometimes “argument from authority” is right.

  4. #4 John Moeller
    Salt Lake City
    April 6, 2013

    This isn’t “argument from authority.” That would be the conservative congresspeople arguing against climate change. I.e., using bare authority to make your case w/o regard to a body of work or evidence.

    This is “argument from people who know what they’re talking about.”

  5. #5 nubwaxer
    April 6, 2013

    http://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate/928.asp
    i have seen another pro and con comparison that clearly shows the organizations denying climate change are all part of the oil a coal industries.
    http://planetsave.com/2011/09/28/secretary-of-agriculture-hard-to-explain-how-anyone-could-not-tell-the-climate-is-changing/

  6. #6 Tony DeSare
    New York
    April 6, 2013

    The nature of the first post so eloquently shows the fundamental problem we are dealing with, which is a general lack of understanding about what science is. Overwhelming scientific consensus is not the same as popularity.

  7. #7 Susan Anderson
    April 6, 2013

    Thanks for this, especially the link from nubwaxer which provides a succinct summary of the problem.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2013

    To be fair, the pro side of this graph is probably overstated. What it really means, probably, is that the vast majority of research does not falsify AGW. Some of that research must simply be about the climate system. But still, if thousands of research projects happen and don’t expose snags in the central ideas than that is a kind of substantiation, as science works through falsification and not through assertions of truths. One could add a small wedge for “didn’t prove it wrong”

    This graph really is just a short cut for those who do not have time or training to read all the literature that comes out on this topic, and should be treated only as such.

  9. #9 John
    April 7, 2013

    This graph could also describe the number of peer reviewed papers on whether or not the earth is spherical vs flat.

  10. #10 John
    April 7, 2013

    My second point is this… The peer review process is respected because there is a concensus among those that study a unifying discipline. That said, if you respect the peer review process, then you have to be influenced by this pie chart that global warming does, in fact, exist. Otherwise trying to find a flaw in this chart would be to find a flaw in the peer review process. If that is true, then there would also be a flaw even in the smaller wedge that represents papers rejecting global warming. Your argument is invalid.

  11. #11 Global Warming Times
    The Globe
    April 7, 2013

    For information on global warming realities please see http://www.globalwarmingtimes.com and follow http://www.twitter.com/glowarmingtimes

  12. #12 Dillerin
    Mi
    April 7, 2013

    I had been curious for a while now, about the ice age, and how the world would likely be thawing out for millennia… I mean, do we know how much ice is the ‘right’ amount of ice in our polar caps? Whose to say that we aren’t still warming up to ‘normal’ temps prior to the ice age? Can science actually prove that weather temps would stabilize if man was no longer on this planet?

  13. #13 Pavel Stockl
    Prague
    April 7, 2013

    It sounds like a manipulation, the mine conflict is not about fact of climate change, but who is responsiblle? civilisation or f.e. sun or periodical features in Earth tectonic movements or orbital cycles….

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2013

    Dillerin, there is not a “right” amount of ice or anything like that. But there is a set of conditions under which systems evolve (biological systems evolving in a Darwinian sense, cultural or economic systems evolving in a different sense). For instance, for various reasons, many humans settle near the shore of the ocean. If all the ice in glaciers today melted almost all of these settlements would be flooded. In other words, in the extreme case of the “amount of ice” going to zero, the vast majority if humans, and their homes, business, industry and other infrastructure, would either have to move totally out of the way of the rising sea or have their existence threatened by the change. Even taking the very large view, some harbors would become non-harbors, and other places hardly settled would become the new ideal harbors. It would be an unprecedented disaster.

    Same with the overall climate. At the moment, in the US and other places, we grow much of our food in certain areas using certain technologies. Climate change is causing those areas to be less usable for agriculture. So where you get to grow food changes. For many regions, this may mean that the “breadbasket” moves from one country to another. That is a big problem.

    Having said that, it may also be true that the overall level of potential agricultural productivity on our planet happens to be going down with increase warming. This is uncertain but may be true. It makes sense that there would be a certain level of productivity associated with a certain set of climatic conditions. It may be the case that extreme warm and extreme cold are less productive than in between for instance, because of the distribution of water in relation to the kinds of crops we’ve come to rely on (grains, mainly). If our economies were based on roots, we’d be better off but over the last 10,000 years of developing horticulture and agriculture, we went for grains and not roots, so now we may be stuck in a situation where climate change involving warming and redistribution of water in the water cycle will cause in increasing population to have access to decreasing food supply. Mass starvation is a problem.

    And so on.

    Pavel, the science is very clear on the sources of climate variation, and the part of the variation that is causing increase warming is almost entirely due to the increase of greenhouse gases due to the release of fossil carbon into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, no matter what it “seems like” to any individual who happens along and is unfamiliar with the thousands of papers in the scientific literature!

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2013

    NOTE: There are individuals who don’t know that bloggers can delete inappropriate comments. Much of that is spam from commercial or other interests, but also a given blogger may restrict other kinds of comments. On this blog I generally delete comments by the usual flock of winged monkey style science denialists. I made a comment on twitter that this particular blog post had produced an unusual amount of spam very suddenly,and this invoked a response from one of my loyal readers who does not understand blogging too well that I was telling a lie because he only saw eight comments.

    Those other comments got deleted. Also, there were not too many of them; about 20 within about three hours or so. The total number is not large, but the suddenness of them …. the rate at which they arrived …. was notable, and thus, I noted it.

    See my about page if you want more information on my comment policy.

    Thank you very much, that is all. You may now return to your normal Sunday Morning activities!

  16. #16 J Medley
    April 7, 2013

    Let’s be clear. This graph is NOT the result of a popularity contest. Acceptance in a peer review journal depends on the validity of a study or experiment’s methedology, not whether the conclusion conforms to anything. What this graph shows is the results of papers with sound methodology. The work with sound methodology leans heavily in favor of global warming.

  17. #17 Anny
    usa
    April 8, 2013

    I have come to the conclusion that we all have a little blame global warming and its consequences and guilt even more politicians who do not slow down.

    http://www.globalwarmingweb.com/

  18. #18 Schenck
    April 9, 2013

    I think the work behind making this graph was worth it. Yes, conesus isn’t always correct (the consensus was decidedly against continental drift, for a while anyway), yes the proportions here are a bit off because they’re not eliminating papers that study the climate system (rather than only including papers that attempt to answer ‘is there global warming), and yes, Web Of Science is an index—but not an index of every paper everywhere. These are all reasonable caveats, but the graph clearly shows that it’s a lie that there are many scientists/climate researchers who reject global warming, or who think it’s a result of solar cycles, etc. /That/ specific claim, that there’s a ‘good chunk’ of researchers who deny climate change, is nicely shown here to be utterly false.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    April 9, 2013

    Perhaps there will some day be another study that takes more of the caveats into account. If such a study emerges I’ll be sure to point to it!

  20. #20 Phil Knox
    April 20, 2013

    Questions: 1. Is the overall surface temperature of the planet warmer or or is it cooler since the mid 1990s? 2. If more CO2 causes higher temps then why do greenland ice cores show CO2 levels increasing ..after.. temp rises? 3. Doesn’t increased CO2 actually invigorate plant groth (thus help agriculture overall)?

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    April 20, 2013

    Phil:

    1) Warmer.

    2) Paleo proxy data show changes in temperature and CO2 wherein the temperature increase precedes the CO2 increase when viewed at a certain scale. This is because temperature and related phenomena and CO2 and related phenomenon have their own little dance going which, when looked at a certain way, demonstrates the relationship you suggest. Here’s a simple easy to understand example: When summer in the northern hemisphere comes, temperatures go up, THEN plants follow quickly by growing a lot, and this decreases CO2 in the atmosphere because the plants convert some of it to plant tissue. There are also longer term cycles like this. It is called the Carbon Cycle. But the baseline increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is associated with a global increase in heat retained in the atmosphere and the seas.

    3) only a little. We all hoped that it would be a lot, but it turned out to not be.

    Here are some references you can read to find out more for your questions.

    1) http://skepticalscience.com/global-cooling.htm

    2) http://skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

    3) http://skepticalscience.com/co2-plant-food.htm

  22. #22 Moody834
    April 20, 2013

    My understanding is that expecting plants to save us (through their thriving in an environment with more CO2) is a mistake because plants “top out” on CO2 and their ability to capture it declines rapidly past a certain point. Similarly, expecting massive algae blooms to help is a mistake, especially because such blooms will carry their own deleterious effects with them.

    That’s about right, isn’t it? As a lay person, I am never very confident when it comes to matters like these.

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    April 20, 2013

    Exactly. For the most part, it just doesn’t happen (much). Why would plants lack an upper limit on a physiological process? And yes, saying “this pollutant gives us more plants, yay!” sounds kind of silly when we think of phosphates in detergents and such, and the trouble we had with that.

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