The Nonsensus: 97% to 98% of climate scientists believe in global warming?

During Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate, Jon Huntsman attacked Rick Perry with the claim that 97% to 98% of climate scientists believe in the manmade global warming hypothesis. This claim is also gaining currency in the lamestream media

The claim arises from this June 2010 PNAS study. Read it if you have the time and stomach, but the bottom line is that about 97% to 98% of climate researchers (if not more) are paid by the government and climate interest groups to support and to advance the global warming hypothesis and, guess what, they do.

This doesn’t make these researchers correct or credible, just employed.

The study’s premise that unless you’ve published 20 papers on climate your views don’t matter or are uninformed is patently arbitrary and absurd.

If you can read a graph, then you have all the tools necessary to decide the climate controversy for yourself. You only need the PhD and track record of publications if you want to rip-off taxpayers in the name of alarmism.


  1. i just had some family pay off a student loan. i am fairly sure that i were taught manmade global warming was a solid theory.,,,more likely happenign than not. never a mention about science saying otherwise.

    they tax me to loan me money for education and then teach half truths or outright falsehoods alltogether.

    and then lie about babies being thrown from incubators in kuwait and they are put in control of a so called justice system.

  2. You people have your head’s so far up your ignorant butts that you surely can’t see the forest from that narrow little tunnel your brain is in. Sit down and read a scientific book instead of spewing your ignorance.

  3. The figure of “97%” comes from no scientific source. It was a survey done by the u of Md, in which over 10k scientists were asked 3 questions. Only a little over 3k responded, and to get the 97%, they had to whittle that down and finally came up with “77 of 79”. There was no statistical science involved with the derivation of the percentages or numbers. Huntsman is wrong.

  4. But what does this even mean? I would expect that this high of a number of scientists believe that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause SOME warming, since it is pretty well established that CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas and more of it will, to a point, cause a certain amount of warming. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that 98% or climate scientists would agree with this statement, since it is pretty well-established science. To that extent, even I am on board with there being a certain amount of anthropogenic global warming.

    The point of deviation from the suggested narrative occurs once one realizes that the percentages of climate scientists that believe that this very small warming will result in massive feedback effects that will cause catastrophe is likely much, much smaller. Given that most scientific study to date involving actual impirical experiments, as opposed to computer models with GIGO inteface, has not supported runaway feedback effects, I would think it would be a bit more up in the air.

    Therefore, I suspect that the headline is correct. 98% of climate scientists probably DO believe that more CO2 will create warming, and therefore DO believe in AGW – it is just a matter of magnitude.

  5. Molly makes a reasoned, well-thought out argument based on facts and evidence, as is typical of people that support the CAGW hypothesis. Well done, Molly! Every time you open your mouth, we win a little more. Keep it up! Don’t actually discuss or debate facts or evidence, or tell us why you think we’re wrong, that would be, like, scientific and stuff!

  6. To help me extract my head from my ignorant butt, can you recommend some scientific reading material that supports your venom spewing diatribe.

    I recommend that you look up, and understand the laws of thermodynamics. When finished with your new found enlightenment, you will see that CO2 cannot cause any significant warming.

  7. Molly, have your heard of “NOA”. Have you read, I don’t know, the facts, recorded from satellite data for the past 20 years. Based on the temperature recorded by the satellites has increased how much? Co2 comprises .00035% of our atmosphere. What percentage of our atmosphere is comprised of water vapor? Look at the facts and try and show the rest of use how expansive your vocabulary is. So far I understand you know a lot about annal ???? action. Is there more information you might choose to impart to us ignorant fact seekers.
    Thank you.

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  9. Molly, what part of the U of MD study that derived the 97% do you find scientific? The fact that they did not define their sample before asking the questions? the fact they got 70% non-responses? The fact that they had to redefine their sample down until they were left with only 79 data points out of the 10k? The fact that the questions were phrased in such a way that the answers did not support the conclusions? The fact that there was no statistical confidence associated with the study, results or sample? Which scientific books show you how to do statistics wrong? I am curious since i have a minor in statistics. I would definitely like to review said books to make sure my alma mater is not using them to dumb down their students.

    I would guess that those scientific books you speak of are the ones you learned how to do your statistics from.

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  11. There is some confusion here. There are two studies that come up with 97-98 percent; one was based on questions asked and this PNAS published study based on a review of the literature. Which one was Huntsman citing? The Krugman NYT article cited the PNAS study. But most previous mainstream articles cite the one based on the two questions asked.

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  13. So here’s my “scientific” basis for being a skeptic. My son, the geologist with a Master’s from Texas Tech, tells me that the earth has been a great deal warmer and a great deal colder than it is today. And all of that happened long before Homo Sapiens walked the earth. And the earth is very big. And some volcanos are a great deal more powerful than even nuclear explosions. The Long Valley caldera, a volcano located near Mammoth Lakes California exploded some 50,000 years ago and covered half the Western United States with ash and rocks. You can find some of those rocks in Colorado to this day. The more I read, the more skeptical I become. I’m not much of a scientist, but my recollection is that science involves being able to predict what will happen in the future. E. G., I am holding a heavy rock in my hand directly over my foot. If I let it go, it will hit my foot and will hurt like a son of a gun. This is all due to the laws of physics and biology. So far, the AGW advocate’s models have not been predictive. The seas did not rise last year, they fell. They are therefore clearly not accurate. End of Story.

  14. You really don’t need to understand the science at all. What you need to understand is when someone is trying to scam you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Nigerian e-mail spammer, some guy at a bar trying to bet you that he can do something that seems impossible or a politicized scientist trying to carefully word his “findings” to make sure he qualifies for that next government grant and continued employment even if he has to “hide the decline”. It really can all be boiled down to a very simple concept proffered by Alinsky: The issue is never the issue, the issue is always power and control.

  15. PNAS stands for “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States”) Its an organization of scientists. The most respected scientists in the US.

    If you want to find the real “junk science” I suggest you look at the well funded world of right wing think tanks who spend a lot of money trying to obfuscate science and marginalize American thought, so that their contributors can continue polluting.

  16. Susan is right, the Earth has been both warmer and colder than it is today. And its also changed from one to the other very quickly, many times. Then, we find in the fossil record periods of time where most of Earth was almost completely lifeless. Even the oceans. The Earth has been repeatedly been hit by huge meteors that caused huge tsunamis and threw huge amounts of dust into the atmosphere. There have been unexplained periods of increased volcanism.

    We should be aware that in order to live the way we do, we require a very specific set of climactic conditions. If it gets much colder or hotter, the productivity of the earth is likely to change substantially and history is full of examples of what happens when it does. When it happens rapidly, we have famines, drought, disease, etc.

    Here is an example of a modest period of global cooling:

    And warming:

    Whats different now is the burning of large amounts of fossil fuels and the deforestation of very large areas.

    Another thing that has a lot of scientists worried right now is the release of undersea methane clathrate.

    Its a dynamic (nonlinear) system and its very complex. We need to understand it better than we do. But that does not justify business as usual. We do know we are changing the climate. A lot of evidence points to human activity as being the main cause. Enough to justify the calls to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Cars, power plants, and slash and burn agriculture are measurable factors. Americans use around four times more fuel than the next largest consumers, the Japanese.

    Americans could reduce our impact a great deal by rebuilding the public transportation infrastructure we abandoned in the 1940s and 1950s. I think history will show that was a huge economic mistake. Look at Europe, and then look at the US. If the price of gas goes up to $10 a gallon before we do that, a lot of US communities are going to be in big trouble.

  17. I would suggest you follow the money. And it is not in right wing think tanks like you claim. Billions of dollars in both private and government money has been funnelled into Climate science for those who toe the party line (man is evil, responsible for all evils, and is warming the planet). If you follow the science (which your ad hominem attack completely avoids), you will see that while there has been some late 20th century warming, the cause has yet to be determined, or even if the warming is unprecedented or just a normal cycle. Once anyone (and it matters not if they are PNAS or NONAS) can sufficiently prove that it is not a natural occurance, then and only then, can real science start discovering the alternate causes. In other words, so far, they have not even passed square one. Those are the facts. Not argumentum ad verecundiam, or ad hominem attacks.

  18. You are incorrect. We do not “know” we are changing it. That is the basis for the hypothesis of the AGW movement. That is the keystone that also has yet to be determined. Once we “know” that, we will have disproven the null hypothesis and successfully moved the proto-hypothesis of AGW to the theory point.

  19. Here is an article about the survey…
    Surveyed scientists agree global warming is real

    U.S. survey based on the opinions of 3,146 scientists.
    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.

    The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from “climatologists” who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.

    Petroleum geologists (!) and “meteorologists” were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.

    “The petroleum geologist response is not too surprising, but the meteorologists’ is very interesting,” said Peter Doran associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and one of the survey’s authors.

    “Most members of the public think meteorologists know climate, but most of them actually study very short-term phenomenon.”

    However, Doran was not surprised by the “near-unanimous agreement” by climatologists.

    “They’re the ones who study and publish on climate science. So I guess the take-home message is, the more you know about the field of climate science, the more you’re likely to believe in global warming and humankind’s contribution to it.

  20. There is NO (as in zero, nada, nil) evidence for your statement “We should be aware that in order to live the way we do, we require a very specific set of climactic conditions. “ It’s a statement assuming facts not in evidence.

    As there is ample evidence that a COLDER climate is more challenging to live in than a WARMER climate, and no evidence that a WARMER climate is more challenging to live in than a COOLER one, I would posit that your entire premise that we should not continue “business as usual” is, to put it politely, HORSEFEATEHRS!

  21. How sweet.

    When you examine the basic building blocks of the debate, you will find yourself anxious to retract what you just said.

    -The percentage of man-made CO2 of total CO2 is minimal. Others here have posted the numbers.
    -The percentage of CO2 of so-called green house gases is even smaller. Again, others have posted the numbers.
    -The most commonly available GHG is H2O.
    -H2O absorbs energy in the same bandwidth as CO2.

    I really hate the word “puny.” But in this case, wow! Puny is the word. CO2 is such a small player in this game as to render any finger-pointing at it ridiculous. And then to talk about man’s part in the CO2 game does not even bear discussion, like a gnat compared to an elephant.

  22. These two statements are impressive??

    1) Temperatures have risen since the Little Ice Age
    2) Folks whose bread and butter is funded by governmental AGW grants say they believe in AGW

    That really rocks my world!! Who would have thought?

  23. I am very interested in climactic conditions. I view lots of climactic videos on the Internet, so I know whereof I speak. I consider myself somewhat expert on climactic conditions.

    Climatic conditions, on the other hand, to do with the weather / climate, that’s another thing entirely. I’m not overly educated on climatic conditions.

  24. Why do you people keep harping on facts. Facts are not important. The facts I choose will support my correct conclusion before I know what the facts are. One of the facts ya’ll should be aware of is that 95% to 98% of all climatic scientists will agree with my facts before they know what the facts are. Just pass the bill. Pass the bill right now. Just pass the damn bill. Thank you.

  25. The evidence is incontrovertible.the ‘researchers’, their institutions, and the journals which publish their papers are all feeding at the public trough, and they have become a large (fat?) enough faction that they have squeezed out the others.

  26. Because the forests such as the of the world Amazon are being erased, the balance they used to maintain has be destroyed. This is the tipping point that we find ourselves falling off of. The last time this much destruction has come to the world was 65,000,000 years age with the impact of an astroid.
    When oil burns it creates, CO2, CO, and soot all of which causes trouble. It has been found that the soot landing on the glaciers helps them melt faster. CO kills! CO2 acidifies the oceans and retards the growth of shelled animals which are an important part of OUR food chain.
    Science is not, at its heart political. It is designed to question and search for support, through scientific method, the facts and the truth of the evidence it digs up. Sciences greatest representative is Einstein.
    Your dream team is CHAINY and the George “W”ar Bush.
    If scientist really are greedy they would work for the OIL companies.
    The evidence is incontrovertable that the mega-conglomerate-oil companies such as Exxon/Mobil, would do anything and everything to dispell any and all interferance to their gaining of profound mega-profits. If you were them would you play fairly with the global economy? Science is not the problem, greed and absolute power are as was the relm the health concious tabaco companies who faked science that said, basically, that cancer is good for you.
    Remember, F”X News(?) is largely owned by the “Saudi Oil Family” and another “partiot”, Murdock whose ethics is unquestionably questionable.
    Absolute power corrups absolutely.
    Jesus hates greed and bearing false witness….
    Greed creates wars like Iraq and as a familiar true Republican said; “Beware of the military industrial complex!”
    Not only are they stacking the deck they own them all.

  27. Follow the money, 98% of Public Funded “scientists” want more money. They will not get it if they disagree with the AGW crowd.
    If any of them knew anything about thermal dynamics they would change their opinion. Banning chemicals is also a favorite opinion. Yet they kill millions by not using DDT. The Lawyers are getting rich with bogus medical claims from just about anything. It all about money not climate. They are control freaks.

  28. WOW! Someone forgot their bran this morning. Seen any ETs lately? What about black helicopters? You put more non-sequiturs and ad hominems in one post than I have seen in a very long time.

    Take your meds. And get an education. Talking points only reflect the lack of intelligence of the poster.

  29. That “survey” sent out 10,000+ queries, and evidently received back (or filtered out) most, because their numbers are based on 77 responses, 75 of which are “favorable” to the consensus.

    The link below provides 50 scientists who worked with or at the IPCC who are skeptics. That blows a rather large hole in the 98% versus 2% conclusion of that bogus survey.

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  31. And the 2-3% who deny are paid by the oil and gas industry. And with all the money they have to spend, it’s very telling they could only buy off 3% of scientists, considering they’ve manger to buy off our government for the past 30 years or so. Hey, you know what else 97% of scientists agree on? Evolution. That would be funny if it didn’t mean so many Americans with zero scientific knowledge ignore the same scientific consensus as creationists. Congratulations, you’re a moron.

  32. The only moron here is the one you see in the mirror.
    The difference between Climate Science and Evolution is… drum roll please… EVOLUTION is a FACT. HOW that fact applies to humans is the question, or “theory” in this case.
    Climate Science, on the other hand, is in its infancy. The Consensus completely ignores many factors, like how the earth has been warmer, on the average, than it is right now. Which means we are in a “cool period” and any warming is due to a “return to normal”…
    Yah, that is just a bit inconvenient.

  33. Which governments are paying climate scientists? Big business needs energy to make the things they sell. If they have to find greener methods their costs go up. Much easier to buy off politicians and the 3% of scientists with poor morals. Follow the money.


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