Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Only 2 percent of climate scientists doubt mainstream research, but have much influence

"The vast majority of climate scientists believe that humans are driving global warming, according to a new study," ClimateWire reports, but the study says the small remainder have "received large amounts of media attention and wields significant influence in the societal debate about climate change impacts and policy."

"Between 97 and 98 percent of the world's top climate researchers agree with the major conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- that it is 'very likely' that greenhouse gases produced by human activity have produced 'most' of the 'unequivocal' warming of Earth's average global temperature during the latter half of the 20th Century," Lauren Morello writes for ClimateWire, a service of Environment & Energy News.

The study, published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted by a team of scientists led by Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider. They analyzed the publication records of 1,372 climate scientists, divided them into those who agreed or disagreed with the IPCC's major conclusions, then reduced the field to 908 subjects by removing those who had published fewer than 20 climate-change studies.

The skeptics "account for just 2 percent of the top 50 climate researchers, which the study authors determined by looking at how many scientific papers each researcher had published," Morello writes. "Moreover, the study found that a majority of climate skeptics -- 80 percent -- had each published fewer than 20 papers on climate change. Just 10 percent of scientists who agree with the IPCC's conclusions fell into the 20-papers-or-less category." (Read more, subscription required)

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