Scientists Denying Human-Caused Climate Change Fade from Existence…Except in the Media

Sunday, May 19, 2013
(photo" Iain Inglis,

The American news media are doing a terrible job of explaining the issue of human-caused global warming, according to a newly released study of the scientific consensus regarding the issue. By focusing on politicians and others who deny global warming, the media obscures the fact that climate scientists believe overwhelmingly that warming is real and caused by human industrial activity over the past three centuries. 


Building on earlier surveys of climate scientists and reviews of their academic papers, the study authors examined 11,944 abstracts published in peer reviewed science journals from 1991 to 2011 that included the words “Global Climate Change” or “Global Warming.” Categorizing each abstract according to its apparent position on global warming, they found that 66.4% expressed no position, 32.4% expressed acceptance, 0.7% rejection, and 0.3% uncertainty as to the cause of warming. Counting only those papers that expressed an opinion, the study found that 97.1% “endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”


When the researchers asked study authors to rate their own papers, only 35.5% of the papers were found to express no opinion, but the rate of consensus remained virtually the same, with 97.2% of papers endorsing the consensus.


In contrast, public opinion polls indicate that about half of Americans incorrectly believe there is significant ongoing debate among scientists about the existence of human-caused global warming. That misperception in turn provides an excuse for people to deny warming altogether and oppose policies intended to save the biosphere.


They are getting their bad science from a media system locked into a “horse race” mentality about politics and committed to a form of “neutrality” that means never factually evaluating policy claims. In the United States, the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed months of climate change coverage at two conservative media outlets: the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. They found that 37 out of 40 (92.5%) segments about climate change science on Fox were “misleading,” while only 9 out of 48 (18.75%) Wall Street Journal articles accurately reflected the state of the science.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature (by John Cook, Dana Nuccitelli et al., Environmental Research Letters)

Zombie Climate Sceptic Theories Survive only in Newspapers and on TV (by Graham Readfearn, The Guardian)

Climate Research Nearly Unanimous on Human Causes, Survey Finds (by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian)

Climate Change Deniers Grasping at Clouds (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Kurt Jaworski 10 years ago
So tell me, who has more at stake in this 'global warming' contest of opinions? Is it the roughly 95% of climate scientists who are living large due to the continuing interest in the subject, bulging research grants, etc. to the tune of perhaps tens of millions of dollars, or the corporate gods of carbon with, let's see... maybe a few TRILLION in reserves and infrastructure? Hmm...I wonder.
Wehns Billen 11 years ago
Whatever the argument or debate is on the causes of global warming is, at this point and time, totally irrelevant as suppose to what to do and how to help those in many Pacific countries that are literally submerging under the tides... and no one know for sure when the tides pattern would reverse or stabilize.
Sheldon Cooper 11 years ago
This article is the last gasp of the goofy anti-science cult whose only faith is misplaced at the foot of the debunked man-made global warming hoax and its manufactured "hockey stick" data. Hey Matt Bewig, your next article should decry the number of Santa deniers who refuse to accept the consensus of 7000 4 year olds that reindeer will show up on your roof on Christmas Eve. It would have more credibility.
The Concerned Citizen 11 years ago
HAHAHAHA! This article is hilariously stupid. While those desperate to show "global warming" that before was "a coming ice age" that is now morphed into "climate change" move into new arguments to desperately hold onto their grants and give blow jobs to tax raising politicians, the "deniers of the deniers" show desperation. Now that people realize that the three trees out of 100,000 that "prove" global warming is a cherry picked poop sandwich that we won't bite into, the morons that wish to fulfill the "tax it to fix it" plan (which we know to be the "tax it to enrich our friends and supportersplan") are attempting to switch sides. They figure that denying that there are deniers will work. Problem is the truth doesn't give a rat's behind what you "want". It still remains the truth and the truth is this: GLOBAL WARMING FIXES ARE MONEY MAKING SCHEMES BY A CROOKED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYING CROOKED SCIENTISTS SUCKING ON GOVERMENT TEET (GRANTS). To all of them, the reasonable and honorable seekers of the truth say this: SCREW YOU! TAX YOURSELVES AND STFU!
Al Black 11 years ago
No-one is denying that the world has warmed by 0.6 degrees in the last Century, although it is fair to point out that without Climate Scientists measuring such a small change, no-one would have noticed. It is also reasonable to ask, if CO2 is driving climate change, why the warming stalled in 1998 and the temperature has not increased for the last 15 years, in spite of record increases in CO2 output over the same period. I know the 2001-2010 decade was warmer than the previous 1991-2000 decade, but that does not negate the fact that warming has halted; it just hasn't fallen to pre-warming levels. There is no evidence that extreme weather events are on the rise - studies show Hurricanes, tornadoes and droughts have actually dropped in frequency since 1950, it is just that there are more people living in harm's way now. Warming would in theory result in higher evaporation rates, leading to more cloud formation and therefore more rain, so a warmer world would be a wetter world, and would have longer growing seasons in most parts of the world. It is hard to see why this should necessarily lead to droughts and famines. War, such as in Darfur, is caused by tribal and religious hatred, not by global warming, but War does cause famine, and the breakdown of infrastructure does result in countries be far less able to cope will droughts and crop failures. In the same way, deaths due to heat waves would be more than made up by less deaths due to freezing due to milder winters in a warming world. Hysteria about an acknowledged but so far insignificant warming does not seem to be justified by the facts. The fact that 97% of climate scientists agree that human action is warming the planet just says they agree that the 0.6 degree warming is probably accurate, and probably caused by the combustion of fossil fuels. So far so good, but it does NOT mean 97% of scientists believe that the World is on the cusp of a so-called "Tipping Point" which will see rapid disastrous warming, with doomsday outcomes for the environment and human civilisation. Most indicators are that the warming so far has been beneficial to the ecosystem, with accelerated plant growth due to warmer, longer growing seasons and the beneficial effect of CO2 as a plant food. The case for a draconian World Government to stifle and dismantle our industrial civilisation in the name of Carbon reduction has NOT yet been made, and it seems doubtful it ever will. No-one should ever believe anything Al Gore says on any topic - Global Warming is no exception.
Joe O 11 years ago
Ian, the desperate denier... Not many scientists are skeptical of obvious phenomena like gravity that the earth is round. I'd like to see the list of "7000" peer reviewed articles. Though deniers live in a fact free universe populated by grand conspiricies of scientists and thousands of reporters...
Ian Beveridge 11 years ago
I thought that scientists were supposed to be skeptical. Why do you accuse them of "denying" when it's their job to doubt? Perhaps if more scientists were independent from the $4 billion IPCC (UN) grant funding then there would be more real science to report. Science is not about consensus and never has been. Why not do a survey of all the peer reviewed articles that are not published in the media - to remove media controlled bias. I can point you to over 7000 of them that are all by skeptics and have never been published in the media.

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