Editorial: It’s getting hot in here — Overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree on causes of warming planet
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Jun 24, 2013 | 2290 views |  0 comments | 136 136 recommendations | email to a friend | print
No matter which side of the climate-change debate you are on, understand that it is still being studied. In all probability, it will be studied until the polar caps melt, or not. That is what scientists do. They study and examine.

However, because so much studying has already taken place, it would be well to ask what scientists think climate change is all about.

For those who have not made up their minds based on personal preferences rather than scientific data — those who are sincerely trying to understand the issue — information from Journalist’s Resource might be of interest.

In a recent posting, Journalist’s Resource highlighted three papers that analyzed the degree of agreement among scientists on climate change ­—­ is it happening and, if so, what is the cause.

The three papers (published in Environmental Research Letters, January 2013; International Journal of Public Opinion Research, October 2011; and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2010) looked at peer-reviewed articles published over the previous decades to see what scientists actually thought. (Peer-reviewing is the touchstone of scientific research. If your research and findings do not convince other scientists, then it will not get published. A peer-reviewed article is not something scientists put out there on their own.)

Taken together, these papers show that the overwhelming consensus among scientists is that climate change is real and that human activity is the cause. The 2010 study found that among scientists who had the most expertise in the field (based on peer-reviewed publications), 97 percent “are convinced by the evidence of human-induced climate change.” The 2011 paper surveyed leading scientists and found that 97 percent agreed that global temperatures were rising and that 84 percent said the cause was “human-induced greenhouse warming.” The most recent paper found that of those scientists taking a position on “anthropogenic global warming,” 97.1 percent endorsed the consensus position.

Then there are the dissenters.

Those who actually reject global warming and therefore reject the idea that humans are causing it make up roughly 2 percent of the scientific community. There is a handful of others who take no position.

The conclusion: It is the overwhelming opinion of those who study the science of climate change that global warming is real and that greenhouse gases humans generate are a primary cause.

The media should spend its time covering what scientists say. Dissenters should not be ignored, but to give them anything close to equal time is to give them credibility they are yet to prove their scientific positions deserve.
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