97: The number which may prove climate change

This 97 per cent figure keeps turning up in discussions on climate science.

When a survey of all the climate scientists actively publishing on climate change found that 97 per cent agreed that climate change was caused by humans, skeptics argued that the population (79 climate scientists) was too low to be representative.

A follow-up study of 908 scientists who had published peer-reviewed climate papers found that 97 per cent agreed with anthropogenic climate change.

Then this analysis found that 97.1 per cent of 4,000 climate papers from the Web of Science, a database of peer-reviewed research only, displayed a tone agreeing with the consensus.

And then of the 1,200 of the scientists who wrote 2,000 of the climate papers from the website, 97.2 per cent expressly stated their papers endorsed the consensus.

A strong method to test consensus on scientific issues is to first obtain the consensus of the researchers themselves and then analyse their peer-reviewed papers.

When both investigations reveal the same number of agreement, there can be no debate.

However, surveys have shown other scientists are not so in favour of the concept of man-made global warming.

(Check out this report that only 36 per cent of geoscientists and engineers believe in climate change and that it is caused by humans.)

Additionally, there is a petition which is said to have been signed by 31,487 American scientists, including 9,029 with PhDs.

Interestingly, the largest represented scientific field in the petition (with just over 30 per cent) is signatories who come from an Engineering background, while the second largest field is Physics (especially Mechanical Engineering).

This is why climate sceptics and conservatives say there is no scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.

Perhaps the dissonance across different scientific areas provides an insight into the climate change debate that looks beyond the simple politics of the issue.

Maybe we are seeing the first ever full-scale cross-science conflict?

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