A Quantitative Assessment of the Scientific Consensus on Anthropogenic Climate Change

From the abstract to the paper:

… we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

Here are the key graphs from “Expert credibility in climate change,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2010). Note that UE denotes unconvinced; CE denotes convinced (by the thesis of anthropogenic climate change).

In other words, the climate scientists that are better published tend to be convinced of anthropogenic climate change; moreover, the ones that are better cited also tend to be more convinced of ACC.

For those who are dis-inclined to read the article, but are worried about selection bias, here is the method by which the authors selected the sample of climate scientists.

To examine only researchers with demonstrated climate expertise, we imposed a 20 climate-publications minimum to be considered a climate researcher, bringing the list to 908 researchers (NCE = 817; NUE = 93). Our dataset is not comprehensive of the climate community and therefore does not infer absolute numbers or proportions of all CE versus all UE researchers. We acknowledge that there are other possible and valid approaches to quantifying the level of agreement and relative credibility in the climate science community, including alternate climate researcher cutoffs, publication databases, and search terms to determine climate-relevant publications. However, we provide a useful, conservative, and reasonable approach whose qualitative results are not likely to be affected by the above assumptions. We conducted the above analyses with a climate researcher cutoff of a minimum of 10 and 40 publications, which yielded very little change in the qualitative or strong statistically significant differences between CE and UE groups. Researcher publication and citation counts in Earth Sciences have been found to be largely similar between Google Scholar and other peer-review-only citation indices such as ISI Web of Science (20). Indeed, using Google Scholar provides a more conservative estimate of expertise (e.g., higher levels of publications and more experts considered) because it archives a greater breadth of sources than other citation indices. Our climate-relevant search term does not, understandably, capture all relevant publications and exclude all nonrelevant publications in the detection and attribution of ACC, but we suggest that its generality provides a conservative estimate of expertise (i.e., higher numbers of experts) that should not differentially favor either group.

Now, it seems despite the obvious relevance of global climate change to economic activity, some Econbrowser readers are skeptical of the link. For the skeptics, see these reports:

A quantitative assessment of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change

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About Menzie Chinn 83 Articles

Affiliation: University of Wisconsin

Menzie Chinn is Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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5 Comments on A Quantitative Assessment of the Scientific Consensus on Anthropogenic Climate Change

  1. THE IPCC??…lolo,boy are you uninformed,not to mention gullible….They are corrupt to the bone.Apparently you no nothing of the U.N. treaties on weather modification,anti war weapons, HAARP,..H.R. 2977…..They have been altering and warming the weather on earth for decades…You cant possibly be dumb enough to buy into their tax scam….Jesus…

    5) Man-made Clouds
    NASA noted in an October 2005 newsletter, and from other study results, notes that increasingly persistent contrails are turning into man-made clouds that are “…trapping warmth in the atmosphere and exacerbating global warming…” NASA goes on to note that: “…Any increase in global cloud cover will contribute to long-term changes in Earth’s climate. Likewise, any change in Earth’s climate may have effects on natural resources…” (The Power Point Presentation begins at this point in Rosalind’s presentation.)

    Jets leaving persistent jet contrails are changing our climate to the degree that one jet leaving a persistent jet contrail has the following affect according to NASA’s Patrick Minnis (February 2007): “…We had found that (jet) contrails were producing much more cloud cover than we ever thought they did. This one particular aircraft produced a contrail that covered an area of four thousand square kilometers and lingered for six hours. But we also found that there were contrails covering much larger areas and lasting more than twenty hours…”

    Dr. Wayne Evans, Atmospheric Scientist: “…You see the two contrails forming…cirrus clouds… While most natural clouds actually reflect more sunlight back into space than they supply infrared heat energy towards the earth. However, cirrus clouds are different. They actually radiate more heat energy than they reflect solar energy back into space. Therefore, cirrus clouds contribute to global warming…”

  2. Did you …
    (a) Determine how much funding for climate research the CE group and UE groups received?
    (b) Determine how many have links to the “hockey team”?
    (c) Determine the positions of the journals in which the papers appeared?
    (d) Determine if the reviewers of said papers had also received funding for pro-CAGW research?

    And perhaps you can also tell us all … when was scientific truth determined by consensus?

    (Reminders… How much phlogiston is in your home? What triggers stomach ulcers? For what is Ignaz Semmelweiss known?)

  3. Anyone who supported the Climate Change mistake after 24 years of needless panic was an unconscionable fear mongering liar. Climate Change was the very measure and litmus test of honesty and virtue. To have wished for the CO2 mistake to have been true was sick and inhuman. History has a special place for you intellectual fossils and witch burners of climate change.
    You tried like cowards to scare our kids and it is they who are now leading the wave of denier rage and payback.

  4. First, follow the money: if climate scientists were only interested in making money, there’s much more available in the fossil fuel industry much less the network of think tanks set up by individuals and corporations in that industry.
    Second, for those of you who are “skeptics” I hope you are wrong. However, if you aren’t, Pakistan is just a minor insight into what the US, UK, NATO and other militaries see as very possible: an unstable government, elements unfriendly to the US in control of large areas, and, of course, a military there in possession of nukes.
    Third, as Menzie Chinn points out there are four reports (I have over 100 more in my files) that demonstrate serious food, humanitarian and military consequences to rising temperatures and changing climates.
    Fourth, what “deniers” are doing is betting the planet. I rarely see a denier who provides good sources rather than steaming rhetoric and hyperbole. The leading scientists that we’ve worshipped for providing us with the benefits of modern technology are suddenly, because they’re warning us about serious consequences if we continue business-as-usual are being called all sorts of unbecoming names.
    Finally, if you don’t mind betting the planet and the future of your kids on these raving deniers, just think of what the markets will do (e.g., Russia and wheat) when they face the conditions of uncertainty, due to probable climate events the “experts” predict, that markets abhor.
    Do your encourage your kid to drive while drunk, do you promote smoking among your offspring, would you bring them up in a toxic environment–then don’t even think of the chance that the experts (who all of us depend upon for so many of the luxuries we enjoy) are correct.
    Let’s join together in thanking Menzie Chinn for warning us about conditions that could harm our kids, our planet–and our portfolios.

  5. Ever wonder why there are more consenus scientists than protesters?
    Ever wonder why these are the same saintly scientists that pollluted our planet with their chemicals in the first place?
    Ever wonder why it’s “WHO” is saying what instead of “WHAT” is being said?
    Ever wonder how voters are going to vote YES to taxes to save the planet and YES to drastic lifestyle sacrifices?
    If you never wonder about these questions, you are the new denier.

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