Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming

Cook, John, Oreskes, Naomi, Doran, Peter T., Anderegg, William R. L., Verheggen, Bart, Maibach, Ed W., Carlton, J. Stuart, Lewandowsky, Stephan, Skuce, Andrew G., Green, Sarah A., Nuccitelli, Dana, Jacobs, Peter, Richardson, Mark, Winkler, Barbel, Painting, Rob and Rice, Ken (2016) Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11 4: . doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002

Author Cook, John
Oreskes, Naomi
Doran, Peter T.
Anderegg, William R. L.
Verheggen, Bart
Maibach, Ed W.
Carlton, J. Stuart
Lewandowsky, Stephan
Skuce, Andrew G.
Green, Sarah A.
Nuccitelli, Dana
Jacobs, Peter
Richardson, Mark
Winkler, Barbel
Painting, Rob
Rice, Ken
Title Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming
Journal name Environmental Research Letters   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1748-9326
Publication date 2016-04-13
Year available 2016
Sub-type Discussion - responses, round table/panel discussions, Q&A, reply
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 11
Issue 4
Total pages 7
Place of publication Bristol, United Kingdom
Publisher Institute of Physics Publishing
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The consensus that humans are causing recent global warming is shared by 90%-100% of publishing climate scientists according to six independent studies by co-authors of this paper. Those results are consistent with the 97% consensus reported by Cook et al (Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024) based on 11 944 abstracts of research papers, of which 4014 took a position on the cause of recent global warming. A survey of authors of those papers (N 2412 papers) also supported a 97% consensus. Tol (2016 Environ. Res. Lett. 11 048001) comes to a different conclusion using results from surveys of non-experts such as economic geologists and a self-selected group of those who reject the consensus. We demonstrate that this outcome is not unexpected because the level of consensus correlates with expertise in climate science. At one point, Tol also reduces the apparent consensus by assuming that abstracts that do not explicitly state the cause of global warming ('no position') represent non-endorsement, an approach that if applied elsewhere would reject consensus on well-established theories such as plate tectonics. We examine the available studies and conclude that the finding of 97% consensus in published climate research is robust and consistent with other surveys of climate scientists and peer-reviewed studies.
Keyword Anthropogenic global warming
Climate change
Scientific consensus
Q-Index Code CX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Discussion - responses, round table/panel discussions, Q&A, reply
Collection: Global Change Institute Publications
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