The vote on climate change: 13,926 to… 24

  • Published on January 4th, 2013

By David Brin

James Lawrence Powell did the math. Out of 13,950 peer-reviewed climate articles over 11 years, a mere 24 rejected global warming:

The gold standard of science is the peer-reviewed literature. If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature.

I searched the Web of Science for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 2012 that have the keyword phrases “global warming” or “global climate change.” The search produced 13,950 articles.

…. By my definition, 24 of the 13,950 articles, 0.17% or 1 in 581, clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming. The list of articles that reject global warming is here. The 24 articles have been cited a total of 113 times over the nearly 21-year period, for an average of close to 5 citations each. That compares to an average of about 19 citations for articles answering to “global warming,” for example. Four of the rejecting articles have never been cited; four have citations in the double-digits. The most-cited has 17.

Most of the “papers” claiming to refute human generated climate change are issued by think tanks and not published in the competitive climate change papers: 13950 pro vs 24 againstpeer-reviewed journals. Moreover, those think tanks are often politically affiliated and – in many cases – were formerly associated with similar obstruction-denial campaigns that delayed consensus about the disease causing effects of tobacco… or earlier, the smog causing effects of auto pollution.

The chief excuse offered by such folks, when shown the near universal scientific consensus? That scientists are herd-creatures, timidly following each other and grubbing climate grants. Such apologists have never met scientists, who are the most competitive humans, ever.

So what’s the next excuse for inaction?

Here’s National Science Board member Powell again:

Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree.

(Originally appeared at Contrary Brin. Image by James Lawrence Powell via Slate.)

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