Letter to the Editor

Climate change consensus?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Climate change consensus?

To the Editor:

I wrote previous opinions on climate change on June 22,2019 and June 29,2019. In the rebuttal to the 29th article (7/5/19), I was addressed as someone who "didn't have a basic understanding of climate science." That struck a nerve with me, but I swallowed my pride and decided to do some more study on the subject. I found an article in Wikipedia entitled "Global Warming Controversy". This article while written from a biased perspective gave a good chronology of the climate debate with 309 references that included both pro and con authors.

One of the sections of this article was on climate change consensus. This deals with the degree in which the climate scientists agree that global warming is caused by humans (Anthropogenic global warming, AGW). This agreement is often cited as near 100 %. This article quoted statistics from Environmental Research Letters (May 2013). A scientific research engine was used to search for articles that had "global climate change" or "global warming" in the abstracts. The following is summary of their findings. Total abstracts found was 11,944. Abstracts that endorsed AGW totaled 3896. Abstracts that were "undecided" or "no opinion" on AGW were 7930. Abstracts that rejected AGW totaled 78. Abstracts that expressed uncertainty about AGW totaled 40. The percentage of abstracts that endorsed AGW to the total number of abstracts found is (3896/11,944 x100) or 32.1 %. This matches the percentage given in the reference. The percentage of "undecided" or "no opinion "abstracts to the total number of abstracts is (7930/11,944x100) or 66.4 %. In another calculation, the reference arbitrarily threw out all of the abstracts that expressed "no opinion" on AGW. Then the authors calculated the percentage of abstracts that endorsed AGW to the total number of abstracts that did express an opinion on AGW (3896 +78 +40=4014). This percentage is 97.1 %. The authors of Environmental Research Letters indicated that 97.1 % of climate scientist endorsed AGW. This is the order or numbers presented as the magnitude of consensus on climate change. Neither Wikipedia or Environmental Research Letters gave a rational reason for not considering the "undecided" or "no opinion" abstracts. I will leave it up to the readers to determine if the consensus is 32.1 % or 97.1 % .

In the course of this study, I discovered some articles on the accuracy or certainty of climate warming computer models in predicting future warming trends. When I think I've come to an adequate understanding of this topic, I will write another opinion.

Jerry Adcock


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  • I have yet to see anyone tell us exactly how many climate scientists there are in the world, despite basic math telling us you need to know how many there are of something to make claims of 51%.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Aug 14, 2019, at 10:40 PM
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