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Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility - In One Pie Chart

Jim Powell
desmogblog / News Analysis
Published: Saturday 1 December 2012
“If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature.”
Article image

 

Polls show that many members of the public believe that scientists substantially disagree about human-caused global warming. The gold standard of science is the peer-reviewed literature. If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature.

I searched the Web of Science for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 2012 that have the keyword phrases "global warming" or "global climate change." The search produced 13,950 articles. See methodology.

I read whatever combination of titles, abstracts, and entire articles was necessary to identify articles that "reject" human-caused global warming. To be classified as rejecting, an article had to clearly and explicitly state that the theory of global warming is false or, as happened in a few cases, that some other process better explains the observed warming. Articles that merely claimed to have found some discrepancy, some minor flaw, some reason for doubt, I did not classify as rejecting global warming. Articles about methods, paleoclimatology, mitigation, adaptation, and effects at least implicitly accept human-caused global warming and were usually obvious from the title alone. John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli also reviewed and assigned some of these articles; John provided invaluable technical expertise.

This work follows that of Oreskes (Science, 2005) who searched for articles published between 1993 and 2003 with the keyword phrase “global climate change.” She found 928, read the abstracts of each and classified them. None rejected human-caused global warming. Using her criteria and time-span, I get the same result. Deniers attacked Oreskes and her findings, but they have held up.

Some articles on global warming may use other keywords, for example, “climate change” without the "global" prefix. But there is no reason to think that the proportion rejecting global warming would be any higher.

By my definition, 24 of the 13,950 articles, 0.17% or 1 in 581, clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming. The list of articles that reject global warming is here. The 24 articles have been cited a total of 113 times over the nearly 21-year period, for an average of close to 5 citations each. That compares to an average of about 19 citations for articles answering to "global warming," for example. Four of the rejecting articles have never been cited; four have citations in the double-digits. The most-cited has 17.

Of one thing we can be certain: had any of these articles presented the magic bullet that falsifies human-caused global warming, that article would be on its way to becoming one of the most-cited in the history of science.

The articles have a total of 33,690 individual authors. The top ten countries represented, in order, are USA, England, China, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia, France, Spain, and Netherlands. (The chart shows results through 9 November 2012.)

Global warming deniers often claim that bias prevents them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals. But 24 articles in 18 different journals, collectively making several different arguments against global warming, expose that claim as false. Articles rejecting global warming can be published, but those that have been have earned little support or notice, even from other deniers.

A few deniers have become well known from newspaper interviews, Congressional hearings, conferences of climate change critics, books, lectures, websites and the like. Their names are conspicuously rare among the authors of the rejecting articles. Like those authors, the prominent deniers must have no evidence that falsifies global warming.

Anyone can repeat this search and post their findings. Another reviewer would likely have slightly different standards than mine and get a different number of rejecting articles. But no one will be able to reach a different conclusion, for only one conclusion is possible: Within science, global warming denial has virtually no influence. Its influence is instead on a misguided media, politicians all-too-willing to deny science for their own gain, and a gullible public.

Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree.



ABOUT Jim Powell

 

Jim Powell is a science author. He has been a college and museum president and was a member of the National Science Board for 12 years, appointed first by President Reagan and then by President George H. W. Bush.

The next pie chart should

The next pie chart should contain info on how many of the those 24 were in the employ of big carbon.
Shame on the press for fumbling the ball and giving more time to 24 than the other 13000+.

Hard to believe the vehemence

Hard to believe the vehemence of denier-supporters.. I would like to be alive and see their faces 50-60 years from now when dengue fever reaches Minnesota and Kansas is like the Sahara

You-all are parsing the

You-all are parsing the obvious. There's "substantial" evidence that man's reliance of recycling carbon from the Pleistocene/etc and re-releasing it into the current atmosphere is having the same effect it had the last time it was released (just at a greater rate). So stop releasing it. Just as we did with hydroflourocarbons when we "noticed" (pesky scientists) the ozone layer over the poles was going away. Wind and solar are "current" energy sources we choose not to use because we've grown used to carbon-based energy sources and the propagandists who stand to lose if we come to our senses..

Here's how this works. Say

Here's how this works.

Say you're a scientist and you need a grant on studying the matting habits of squirrels. And you apply for the grant and it's turned down.

Then you reapply, only this time you title it, "The Effects of Global-Warming on the Mating Habits of Squirrels," and Wham-dow-Bam-bow the grant money starts flowing in.

Think that would effect how scientists "think?"

Ang Gree's picture

riiiight. that's probably

riiiight. that's probably just how scientists think. it's all about raking in the Big Buck$. everybody knows that the only reason people go into scientific research is because of the easy money and lavish lifestyles that the rest of us can only dream of... in contrast to the honest, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth executives of the fossil fuel industry. those guys would never be so crass as to promote Junk Science that helps their bottom line. it's unthinkable! besides, there's no money in oil & coal... it's a labor of love. riiiight?

"Just because you are in the

"Just because you are in the majority, doesn't mean you're right."

Using this man's logic Galileo's death is justified, and Hitler's scientists were right, Aryans are the "super race." You know there was a time when a majority of so-called "scientists" would swear the Earth was flat.

Hey dimwit, first off I don't believe you. I've done my own bit of research and it comes no where near what you're claiming. And I'm no novice. I helped start one of the very first environmental groups in 1969, when we still used the word "ecology," called the; Institute for Environmental Alternatives. I know the difference between real, fake and bought-off science. And you stink of the latter.

Why don't you talk about the REAL dangers to our planet's atmosphere? Like HAARP, and geo-engineering (chemtrials). Or real the pollution that mega-corporations will continue to do in countries that won't be signing on?

Deny that, you charlatan.

DSS, your source, NOAA

DSS, your source, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and their National Climatic Data Center), doesn't support your statement, that 1998 was the warmest year. NOAA says that the the two warmest years on record, global average, are 2011 and 2005, which are tied for first place. 1998 is third. Ten of the top 11 warmest years on record have happened since the year 2000.

To say it a different way, EVERY year since 2000 has been hotter than ANY year on record before 2000, excepting 1998. This obviously completely contradicts Mister B's assertion "that we are now, and have been in a state of global cooling for about the last 15 years". According to NOAA, fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record have happened in the last 15 years. The fifteenth was 1996, hardly ancient history, but just outside your 15 year window.

In fact, this data shows that we have had an astoundingly consistent warm period during the last 15 years. Remember, the warmest year ever on record ended just 11 MONTHS ago, tied with 2005. Nothing in this is a downward or cooling trend.

Dismiss the NOAA data, if you wish, Mr. B. Here's the link for the data above: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2011/13

DSS, your source, NOAA

DSS, your source, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and their National Climatic Data Center), doesn't support your statement, that 1998 was the warmest year. NOAA says that the the two warmest years on record, global average, are 2011 and 2005, which are tied for first place. 1998 is third. Ten of the top 11 warmest years on record have happened since the year 2000.

To say it a different way, EVERY year since 2000 has been hotter than ANY year on record before 2000, excepting 1998. This obviously completely contradicts Mister B's assertion "that we are now, and have been in a state of global cooling for about the last 15 years". According to NOAA, fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record have happened in the last 15 years. The fifteenth was 1996, hardly ancient history, but just outside your 15 year window.

In fact, this data shows that we have had an astoundingly consistent warm period during the last 15 years. Remember, the warmest year ever on record ended just 11 MONTHS ago, tied with 2005. Nothing in this is a downward or cooling trend.

Dismiss the NOAA data, if you wish, Mr. B. Here's the link for the data above: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2011/13

Jerry Mercks's picture

Mister B You mention 4 books.

Mister B
You mention 4 books. You fail to mention if these books were written by scientists or simply by journalists looking to capitalize on the ignorance of conservatives much the same way rush and beck do.

Still, if they were written by scientists that represents 4 opposing views vs. tens of thousands that agree. Much like 4 folks saying the moon is made of green cheese while tens of thousands say it's made of rock and dust. If you want to believe the moon is made of green cheese then that is all it will take. If you want to believe climate change is a hoax then 4 is all it takes. Either way, do not try to convince the rest of us that 4 represents a credible number. We know better.

If you look at the average

If you look at the average temperatures globally, they were highest on average, globally, in 1998. But the hottest regions shift from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere. The hottest land and ocean temps have existed very recently.

Take a look at the charts of records sent for this past June-August. Keep in mind it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere during these months.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2012/8

He says scientist do not

He says scientist do not disagree about human-caused global warming. There's plenty of disagreement, as stated in the book, "The Deniers". There's also a myriad of evidence that global warming is not human-caused. Books like "The politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming" and "Unstoppable Global Warming" are also very informative and helpful to those who want to know the truth about the subject and the history of weather. One of the best reads I've seen concerning the subject is "Eco-Tyranny" by Brian Sussman. This book really gets to the heart of the situation. It's interesting to note that we are now, and have been in a state of global cooling for about the last 15 years so now the global warming activist are calling it "climate change", and still blaming it on human activity. I would like to see Al Gore in a debate on this subject...ain't gonna happen.

@Mister B I think you have

@Mister B

I think you have missed the entire point. The number of human climate change deniers in the scientific community is almost nonexistent.

It doesn't matter if you 'think' there is "a myriad of evidence." It also doesn't matter if the source is "politically incorrect," "informative," "helpful," stated as 'truth' by you, a "best read," "gets to the heart of," or any other adverb or adjective you want to hump on a small minority of outlying deniers.

Two questions for you:

Why wold you take .0001% over 99.9999 and go with that?

Why is it that 99.9% of the scientific community disagrees with the 'evidence' you suggest?

Where do you get your numbers

Where do you get your numbers from? There are many more than .0001% of scientists stating that AGW is wrong. You could not get 99.9999% of scientists to all agree on what time it is if they were all looking at the same clock.

New research is coming out every day from NASA, NOAA, and IPCC that the AGW hypothesis is not correct and needs to be adjusted if not thrown out. Common sense and your high school education will tell you this. We live in a system where everything is interconnected. Humans are responsible for land cover and land use changes. Changes in land cover/use changes the climate, not some minor trace gas that does not absorb well at the IR wavelength the Earth emits at. This has been proven over and over. Even the IPCC admits CO2 is not a major cause for warming. We are just learning how the Earth's magnetic field/Ionosphere really works with the Van Allen Probes. SOHO and the other solar observatories are changing what we know about the Sun and how it effects the planets.

It is a hard fact that the Earth has been warmer and colder. It will continue to cycle through warm and cold, wet and dry. It is a hard fact that there are climate cycles that extend far beyond our modern measurement records. So we really don't know if the "record" of our data is in fact the most extreme ever. One small example, the Great Lakes are experiencing "record" low water levels, yet, an island is just starting to be uncovered and SHOCK!!! it had houses on it. GASP!!! How can that be if lake levels are the lowest
"EVER"? Oh wait, the people reporting on this forgot the asterisk that said our records only go back 60 years. OOPS.

Frankly the Alarmist and Faux Deniers are one and the same. Both are willfully ignorant of facts and both are only pushing a political agenda and both say FU to real science facts. We all would do well to ignore these people and listen to the real scientists who are working on trying to figure out how our atmosphere really works and how it interacts with our oceans and land masses. And don't trust peer reviewed articles. I recently read a peer reviewed article published in a very well respected journal that had two glaring errors. I politely pointed them out and received back an "OMG" your right from not only the authors, but the journal editors. The authors admitted they are not experts on this subject and had relied on another paper that had it wrong too. Nobody is perfect in life nor in this field of science.

Anyone can write a book. The

Anyone can write a book. The article explained that all credible research is found in peer reviewed journals.

Deniers always fail to

Deniers always fail to respond to evidence that they do not agree with as any faith-based analysis would do.
Exactly the opposite of what scientists do.
On the other hand, denier arguments have been responded to by scientists.

What more does anyone need to know?

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