May 18, 2013 by David K. Sutton
Comprehensive New Study: Global Warming Is Real And Humans Are The Cause
Whether you call it climate change or global warming, there is scientific consensus that it’s real and human activity is the cause. That is the finding of a new study that examined 11,944 scientific papers on global warming. Of the papers that offered a causality on global warming, 97 percent concluded global warming is real and humans are the cause.
We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.
The Consensus Project looks to break through the Op-Ed articles climate deniers rely on and instead offer only the facts on climate science from peer-reviewed science papers.
The Consensus Project is a peer-reviewed citizen science driven project conducted by volunteers at the Skeptical Science website. Skepticalscience.com was created and is run by John Cook, climate communication research fellow at the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland.
This consensus is nothing new. Climate scientists have said for years human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is the cause of a warming planet Earth. The science is sound, it’s based on overwhelming evidence, it’s peer-reviewed, and there are no secret agendas by scientists to create a crisis. The crisis is real, and denying it will not make it go away.
And denial is nothing new either. I can think of a few examples, but one that really stands out is our stance on cigarettes. Sure, there are still smokers, and there are still people who deny the health effects of smoking, but denying those effects is no longer a mainstream belief, and it is certainly no longer socially acceptable to deny the health implications of smoking. But contrast our current consensus on smoking with this Winston commercial from the 1960s featuring The Flintstones!
The kowtowing to smokers and an uninformed public in this commercial parallels Fox News’ pandering to global warming deniers. It’s almost a religion. They don’t care about facts, they only believe selective bits of information to support their narrative. This is what we call confirmation bias. Scientists, however, do not operate with rigid belief systems. They want to prove fellow scientists wrong. They want to be proven wrong. It’s the only way we figure out how the world works.
Just last week we found out that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has reached 400ppm (parts per million).
When the history of humanity’s struggle to combat climate change is written, few characters will play as prominent a role as Charles David Keeling. A geochemist, Keeling developed an accurate method of measuring CO2 in the atmosphere, and in 1958 began recording background levels of the gas at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
That was the start of the famous Keeling Curve, which has tracked the steady rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Those levels have soared from 315 parts per million when Keeling began, to a grim milestone reached last week, as atmospheric concentrations exceeded 400 parts per million.
Hard core, deeply entrenched deniers will continue to deny. That’s what they do. Fight them, and they only dig in deeper. So they are a lost cause, but we need to do what we can to diminish their disproportionate influence in the public sphere.
Anthropogenic Global Warming is a fact. Standing in opposition to that fact is an industry that fosters denialism. This industry is extracting petroleum at record levels, and finding new ways to extract reserves previously believed impossible. There is still a massive amount of carbon beneath the Earth’s surface, just waiting to be tapped for oil industry profits. And if that happens, it’s game over for life as we know it. The planet will survive, but will we?