January 19, 2009
Poll Of Scientists Finds Support For Anthropogenic Global Warming

A lot of scientists think we are heating up the planet.

A group of 3,146 earth scientists surveyed around the world overwhelmingly agree that in the past 200-plus years, mean global temperatures have been rising, and that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.

Peter Doran, University of Illinois at Chicago associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, along with former graduate student Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, conducted the survey late last year.

The findings appear today in the publication Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union.

In trying to overcome criticism of earlier attempts to gauge the view of earth scientists on global warming and the human impact factor, Doran and Kendall Zimmerman sought the opinion of the most complete list of earth scientists they could find, contacting more than 10,200 experts around the world listed in the 2007 edition of the American Geological Institute's Directory of Geoscience Departments.

The climatologists are most certain that humans play a role in the planet's warming.

Two questions were key: have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.

About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second.

In analyzing responses by sub-groups, Doran found that climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role. Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 and 64 percent respectively believing in human involvement. Doran compared their responses to a recent poll showing only 58 percent of the public thinks human activity contributes to global warming.

We are dumping a large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It must be doing something. I do not think our ability to model climate is anywhere near good enough to predict how much the planet will heat up. Climate is an extremely complex system. We must make decisions about climate and CO2 emissions based on very partial information.

Our incomplete understanding of climate is not a rationale for does not mean

What I'd like to get out of the propagation of these beliefs: less conventional pollution from coal plants. Less particulates, less mercury, less oxides of sulfur. Use fear of global warming to overpower the coal and oil lobbies (nothing else has been strong enough to do this). If we have to cut back on coal to reduce CO2 emissions I'm happy since that'll cut back on pollutants that do more immediate harm. While we will pay a price for this I do not expect the price to be high. We can shift to nuclear for baseload electric power generation. Granted, there's a substantial lead time in making such a switch. But even with Obama in office a reduction in US coal usage doesn't look like a sure thing.

Despite a well-funded ad campaign by environmentalists attacking the industry, and a huge coal-ash spill in Tennessee that has led to calls for more regulation, the industry has received positive assurances this week from President-elect Barack Obama's nominees that the new administration is committed to keeping coal a big part of the nation's energy source.

Then there's China. Only a recession will slow China's coal consumption growth (and the Chinese coal electric plants are subject to far less environmental regulation). The US is going to drop far behind China in coal usage even without new political constraints on coal burning in the US. My guess is that the rate of growth of coal usage in the US will slow and perhaps stop as some industrial interests organize in favor of alternatives. GE can make money selling wind turbines and nuclear reactors.

The most detailed proposal yet by industry and environmentalists to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions will call for raising the costs of new coal plants and rewarding nations for protecting forests.

Rio Tinto Group, General Electric Co. and U.S. electricity producers will present the proposal tomorrow to a congressional committee and recommend “urgent” action, according to a copy of the report by the 32-member coalition obtained by Bloomberg News.

US coal mines can ramp up exports though.

NASA scientist James Hansen thinks quick action is needed to prevent eco-disaster. But we've got some things we can do if the climate warming becomes seriously bad. For example, we can paint roofs white, dump iron in the southern seas, or launch reflector satellites for $500 billion. But if you are looking for a frugal approach Gregory Benford proposes a way to cool the Earth for $100 million per year.

A big shift toward nukes, wind, geothermal, and solar power will cushion economies from the coming effects of declining oil production. It will also reduce conventional pollutants. It will probably end up helping reduce undesirable levels of global warming too.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 January 19 11:24 PM  Climate Trends

David Govett said at January 19, 2009 11:59 PM:

So consensus science is now preferred over the scientific method. Science has come full circle back to religion.

qwerty said at January 20, 2009 2:24 AM:

IIRC we are about 1,000 to 2,000 years overdue for another ice age. Wouldn't it be ironic if we manage to remove green house gases only to find that they were what was keeping an ice age at bay all these years? Very, very ironic.

If given a choice, I'd rather have flooded coastal cities than have North America and Eurasia coverd by a mile thick layer of ice.

macsac said at January 20, 2009 2:48 AM:

Consensus in this matter happened to be reached these scientists, scientists who utilize the scientific method in their everyday work, scientists with the scientific method orientation. This is akin to the peer-review process and these scientists have concluded that they support the Warming idea. Religion on the other hand, well..some books says...

Lance said at January 20, 2009 6:00 AM:

AGW science is pure BUNK and those that think they can predict climate from a mere time line of human existence are giving themselves credit they don't deserve. Historic observations are valid however (such as ice core samples). The studies on ice cores suggest that co2 levels follow temperatures, not visa versa

Lance said at January 20, 2009 6:07 AM:

Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan:

CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another. ... Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so.

The extent to which global warming alarmism is driven by the economic self-interest of alarmists is one of the great untold stories of this scientific scandal.

Jake said at January 20, 2009 7:28 AM:

What about the 30,000 scientists that just sent a petition to President Bush saying that they do not support Anthropogenic Global Warming conjecture? The survey only found 3,146 earth scientists who need to keep the $2.5 billion AGW industry afloat or they are out of a job.

RP said at January 20, 2009 9:46 AM:

If CO2 is really the cause of global warming, then it can be addressed with much less cost than anything being proposed by scientists or politicians. It's simple.

Plant trees.

Heavy up-front investment in reforestation would create living carbon scrubbers. Killing the corn and wheat subsidies would open up millions of acres of the great plains for trees (as were likely there at the end of the last ice age). Plant them along roadsides, in vacant lots, anywhere there is space. Hell, if you really want to spend money on farm subsidies then subsidize orchard crops. You'll see fruit and nut trees going up everywhere.

Of course none of this really attacks nasty old capitalism, so nobody will do it.

gcochran said at January 20, 2009 10:01 AM:

"driven by the economic self-interest of alarmists"

What utter horseshit. Who do you think has been running the Federal Government and signing the checks for the last 8 years, Al Gore?

We have a bunch of mouth-breathers who can't even _spell_ 'radiative transfer' dissing global warming because disbelieving in it has become a tribal marker. Of course the average believer doesn't know any more, but at least they're going with the scientific consensus - an imperfect guide, but the best available course for someone who can't spend years learning the relevant physics, modeling, and data. Or who is too dumb to even try, like most people.

The strong economic motives are all on the other side: Exxon pays for dishonest studies. I've seen some: they're obvious crap. Unfortunately, the fact that one side is lying doesn't prove that the other side is correct - I worry mainly because the problem is complicated and nonlinear, hard to model.

jay said at January 20, 2009 10:14 AM:

this last comment from gcochran is a rare piece of crap.
and if there is global warming, can you tell us what the ideal temperature
of the planet earth is ? If we've changed 1.6 deg in 1000 years, perhaps
you mean to say we were at the ideal temperature then ? And what about
the idea we're on the verge of another ice age ?

gcochran said at January 20, 2009 12:25 PM:

I've had undergraduate and graduate courses in thermodynamics, enough that I once asked myself in a dream whether an explosion was adiabatic or isothermal (adiabatic, of course!). I know stat mech, what a Boltzmann distribution is: I used to know a bit about radiative transfer, but only in the context of astrophysics. I know a fair amount about the medieval climate optimum and more than that about the Greenland colony. I know something about the atmospheric absorption windows, but only from the point of view of optics and recon satellites. And of course I'm familiar with dendrochronology, carbon dating, and methods for determining past temperatures from ice cores. I know a fair amount about modern agriculture - in particular different responses of C3 and C4 plants to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and the inefficiency of Rubisco in the current atmosphere. I've written quite a few complex simulations.

But I don't know enough to have a solid judgement on global warming. I figure it'd take me a year or more to spin up to the point where I did. If there's a simple bust of the hypothesis, I've never seen it. I've seen a lot of obvious falsehoods that claimed to be such a bust.

Amazing how many people _do_ have an opinion.

Phil said at January 20, 2009 12:47 PM:

So many empty vessels on here making one heck of a lot of moise....

Ignorance, I guess, really is bliss.

Tired and Fed Up said at January 20, 2009 2:45 PM:

Human-caused global warming is bunk because most of those polled aren't scientists in any meaningful sense of the word.

It's bunk because all the planets in the solar system have been warmer. Thus it's that big yellow ball in the sky that is putting out a fraction more energy and warming things.

It's bunk because the ice cores clearly show that CO2 follows the temp change.

It's bunk because water vapor has more to do with net IR fluxes on the planet than any quantity of CO2

It's bunk because EVERY bit of so-called science that started this hysteria originated out of political entities. Their purpose is clear -- create a global problem requiring a global solution to foist global governance on the rest of us.

It's bunk because there is strong evidence that orbital mechanics, in the form of precession and nutation of earth and moon in their orbits, is almost certainly the cause of Major and Minor Ice Ages. This used to be uncontroversial, was taught routinely in college astronomy classes, but is conveniently forgotten today because of the hysteria.

It's bunk because Greenland is still f'ing covered in ICE. In other words, we aren't warm relative to when the Norse had settled Greenland and farmed it. Let alone how warm it was during the Roman Empire.

So just stop it with this global warming bullshit. If it is happening, it is also A GOOD THING. It will bring more arable land into use. Sheesh.

Bruce Hall said at January 20, 2009 3:15 PM:

The vast majority of diet experts believe that caloric intake determines fat content. It seems like common sense until you evaluate body chemistry and learn that in order to have fat increased in fat cells, it must be driven by insulin. In the absence of insulin, the body does not increase fat supplies. Then you must ask the question: how many calories does it take to stimulate insulin production and you find that you have asked the wrong question. It is not fat or protein that triggers insulin production, but carbohydrates. So if you want to lose fat, don't eat carbohydrates.

Now, back to climate. The vast majority of scientists believe [or at least will concede that it seems logical] that adding CO2 to the atmosphere increases the heat content of the atmosphere [increased calories]. However, upon closer observation, it is noted that cold water holds more CO2 than warm water and by heating the water, large amounts of CO2 are released [try it with a carbonated beverage]. The increase of CO2 was an effect of heating, not a cause. More and more scientist are coming to the conclusion that both solar activity and ocean circulation are the primary drivers of climate oscillations... both long and short term. If you want to reduce CO2, you must reduce heating [insulin]; and if you want to reduce heating, you must have a less active sun and cold water ocean circulation [like La Nina].

Causation of bodily fat content and causation of climate variations are not necessarily obvious. CO2 is a by-product, not a cause of warming, which is a by-product of solar activity and ocean circulation patterns. Fat is a by-product of insulin levels which is a by-product of carbohydrate consumption. That's why you can have lower CO2 during periods of greater solar activity and have more heat and raise levels of CO2 during declining solar activity and have less heat. That's why you can eat more calories with fewer carbohydrates and not produce more body fat and that's why you can eat fewer calories and much more carbohydrates and produce more body fat.

As H.L. Mencken said:
There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.

Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)

mark said at January 20, 2009 3:31 PM:

Frankly, I tend to believe sources on this issue that are not Anglophilic, for lack of a better term. It seems to me countries that follow British Oblivionism as a political philosophy ( eg, Australia ) want and need to feel the best ethics always involve self-hurt and pain...as in, "cut out all industrial progress, return to our peasant roots, live smaller and beautifuller, etc ad nauseam...". Meanwhile the Chinese and Indians shake their heads. They want their people to be free of poverty. I laud them. Not that they don't make mistakes, they do; but they are not delusional.

th said at January 20, 2009 5:19 PM:

Mark, thats the chamberlain in them that got them the last time, the US version limits their critical thinking to bush, reagan, and fox news.
Fortunately, their destruction is beginning with the collapse of the democrat-run state govts. going bankrupt. The concept of carbon taxes, like lotteries, is just another way to prop up the bloated fat pig bureaucrat govts that the little intellectual leeches can't survive without.

lance said at January 20, 2009 5:26 PM:

gcochran is an idiot whose in love with his own voice

th said at January 20, 2009 6:04 PM:

"We are dumping a large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It must be doing something. I do not think our ability to model climate is anywhere near good enough to predict how much the planet will heat up. Climate is an extremely complex system. We must make decisions about climate and CO2 emissions based on very partial information."
Don't most of the computer models eliminate the effects of solar activity, convection, and other crucial areas that should be included? Hansen's 1988 predictions about CO2 levels are wrong aren't they? His temperature predictions from the same study are wrong.
Didn't this.. "http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025" nail the earth fairies with a big huh?
Hansen is now doing suicide missions with his own numbers, he's lying, GISS is a joke, NOAA is still making absurd claims that this year, last year, next year every year are all record years, seems desperate to me. By the way, where the hell is the ocean level rise you people scream about? To completely ignore the fact there are no alternatives to the massive electric power generation the US needs without coal is just plain stupid and irresponsible. We can't just get up and fly with the UFO's no matter how bad you want us to.

JoeKing said at January 20, 2009 6:05 PM:

You need look no further than Puritan & Calvin beliefs that to prove one's worthiness (for salvation) one must perform "good deeds"

If anyone really believes that the 49% of our electricity generated by coal is going to replaced by alternatives that currently generate about 2% they are dillusional. I ask any of the "do gooders" will they be the first ones to sacrifice their "modern" comfortable lives to save the planet...or are they just talking in the abstract?

I fear for the future of Science as an academic pursuit when the underpinnings of AGW are finally laid to rest. When will Climate Change scientists reach the level of respect bestowed upon Paul Ehrlich? Will our children & grand-children even bother to persue scientific knowledge after the inevitable final debunking, after so much capital has been spent on this folly?

Phil...great post, ad hominem always trump data.

B.B. said at January 21, 2009 12:27 AM:

As an individual who is scientifically illiterate in this field of work, the only rational thing I can do is operate on the assumption that people who have made it their life's work to study in this field are more likely to be correct than those who haven't. This heuristic might not always result in the right decision, but it will more often times than any other heuristic a scientific illiterate can operate on.

averros said at January 21, 2009 2:23 AM:

> As an individual who is scientifically illiterate in this field of work, the only rational thing
> I can do is operate on the assumption that people who have made it their life's work to study in
> this field are more likely to be correct than those who haven't.

Well, no. The only rational thing you can do is to operate on the assumption that you don't know one
way or another, and thus cannot use the opinion of the "experts" unless you have a very good reason
to expect that these experts are interested in serving you as a client.

The government-funded science doesn't work this way - the clients of scientists are granting-apportioning
bureaucrats. Which means that they tend to package these results to satisfy their clients. The
interests of the bureaucrats is to increase their influence (and, thus, their personal incomes and
importance). This can be only achieved through extraction of more money from the taxpayers (in competition
with other bureaucracies) - so the bureaucrats are way more likely to find scientists which deliver
"important" results from the point of view of the bureaucrats - i.e. things which can be used to alarm
people and to justify more funding.

Both bureaucrats and scientists are interested in getting you, the taxpayer, to give as much to them as
possible. Pretending that this doesn't skew their results (by unconsious bias, conscious glossing over
inconvenient details, selective advancement of those academic who can get grants by having skill of telling
a doctored view of the truth, having critics silenced by the swarming and innuendo of those whose livelihood
directly depends on adhering to the official line, etc, etc, etc).

Basically, if the proposed solution is to take more from people by force, you can be quite sure that you
deal with snake-oil peddlers. Which, sadly, is what most climate "scientists" are. The climate science
is in thrall of the modern-day Lysenkoism.

Rex Crouch said at January 22, 2009 10:00 AM:

I just want to point out that this so called study is not on the AGU web site for 19 JAN 09 or any other date. HOAX?

Rex Crouch said at January 22, 2009 10:48 AM:

If this study does turn out to be true it validates the "Global Warming Swindel" video. The survey/study done by Doran essentially shows that 97% of climatologists agree that their funding is important and should not be cut.

See the Global Warming Swindle video presented by real scientists:

Ken said at January 22, 2009 5:51 PM:

AGW hasn't collapsed like a house of cards built on shaky foundations for all that there's been decades and plenty of desire from well financed interests to bring it down. I will go on taking my views of climate science from the leading institutions and the scientists that study climate ahead of all the self proclaimed experts and the passed over losers of the scientific debates, most of who's arguments even I can see clear flaws in and I'm not an expert. To those who insist on believing, with no evidence at all, that climate is beyond humanity's capabilities to alter the arguments of Climate scientists will never be sufficient, whereas climate science's criticisms - any and all arguments, no matter how weak and flawed, are always good enough.

It's not a conspiracy. That would have come to the attention of intelligence and law enforcement and stomped on ages ago. It's not blind ignorance of scientists going along with an orthodoxy to fit in or boost their funding. Fitting their results to achieve agreement with preferred hypotheses is the surest way to lose funding. And if "Mars is warming too" is the best you've got, your arguments deserve to be passed over as too weak and irrelevent to bother responding to.

AGW is held to be true by the scientific community because it comes out of ever improving understanding of our climate system, unlike the blind cultish belief that climate is unaffected by human activities and that scientist are lying, exagerating, misrepresenting what they know and don't about a fragile ecosystem that includes us, our agriculture and our future.

Climate Science and the understanding of our climate they've given us is a great achievement. We have some warning and understanding of what's in store and what's necessary to avoid massive economic, social and human costs of climate change. Thank you all you scientist, who persist in the face of the derision of the cultish disbelievers.

Joseph Hertzlinger said at January 24, 2009 9:40 PM:

This is a marvelous excuse for having anti-nuclear activists tarred and feathered.

th said at January 28, 2009 2:51 PM:

The article lists 10,200 polled with only 3,146 agreeing, nice consensus. Its also interesting to note that the report slights meteorologists. I guess this is a shot at the guy who founded the weather channel who disowns it now, largely because NBC who now owns it has replaced all the "bad" meteorologists with "good" ones who are now dutifully channeling al gores science.

Some more interesting media bias on this issue is the missing reliable articles on the 2008 UN IPCC global warming conference where 650 dissenting scientists around the world presented their case just last december in poland.

Using both google and yahoo, search results from google on this matter using:

"UN IPCC 650 scientists dissent global warming" resulted in 16,200,
"UN IPCC scientists love global warming" 22,300,
"UN IPCC scientists hate global warming" 9,120,

Ever hear of this study?
Does this count as consensus?

th said at January 28, 2009 3:11 PM:

Article on how hansen and co. collect their positive reinforcement.

th said at January 28, 2009 3:48 PM:

I meant to add to the last entry that hansen and co. at GISS don't quibble with the questionable ground data that supports their theories but have big problems with the recent oceanic data that doesn't. The oceanic data presents big problems to hansen's crumbling mess because it can't be exposed as intentional fraud as his land data could very well be.

th said at January 28, 2009 4:07 PM:

The article as pointed out by Rex Crouch still hasn't shown up at the AGU website. No cigar with this one.

jcat5150 said at August 5, 2009 8:12 PM:

Give me 2 cans of soda-pop on a warm summer afternoon and I can disprove anthropogenic global warming in a couple hours. After one can spends 3 hours on my patio table and one spends the same 3 hours in the fridge, I'll pop them open and see which one fizzes the most. Enough said.

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