The most prominent and authoritative climate change scientists tend to believe in man-made global warming, according to a survey.
The study found that an overwhelming 98 percent of researchers as a whole think that human beings are altering the climate. And those who don’t, it says, tend to be those who have published less and are less well-regarded by their peers.
The paper, published in PNAS, surveyed the work of 1,372 climate researchers. The team found that nearly all published climate scientists agree that human activity is driving climate change.
This is consistent with similar surveys last year and in 2004, says Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
“The biggest wildcard is how much we’ll change the future climate, largely due to uncertainty about how much more carbon dioxide we will dump into the atmosphere,” she says. “It’s up to policymakers to act, knowing that heat-trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels are the biggest lever acting on the climate.”
Over the last few years, the news media have been giving more prominence to contrarian points of view than they deserve, says the UCS.
“Unfortunately, some oil- and coal-industry-funded groups and ideologues are still feeding the public a steady diet of misinformation about climate change,” Ekwurzel said.
“Americans need to know that their health, their communities and their overall quality of life are all at risk from unchecked climate change. Fortunately, these baseless attacks on science have not stopped governments and businesses from beginning to think about how best to respond to climate change.”
The study is likely to provoke more mud-slinging. John Christy, of the University of Alabama, told the Daily Telegraph that he and other climate skeptics were simply being ‘blacklisted’ for having a controversial point of view.
But this doesn’t hold water, says Climate Science Watch. “Those who propagate the phony argument that there are two ‘sides’ – an IPCC side and a ‘skeptic’ side – with comparable overall climate science expertise and credibility and deserving of comparable consideration – are doing a public disservice and should be called out on it,” it says.