Comprehensive survey of published climate research reveals changing
In 2004, history professor Naomi
Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining
peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993
to 2003, she found a majority supported the "consensus view," defined as
humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes'
work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15
years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.
Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research.
Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers
published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the
journal Energy and Environment,
of which DailyTech has
obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.
Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit
endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement
(accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to
45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the
largest category (48%) are neutral
papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no
The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down
definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that
man is the "primary" cause of warming, but it doesn't require any belief or
support for "catastrophic" global warming. In fact of all papers published
in this period (2004 to February 2007), only
a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic
These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the
past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we
are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown
us that -- whatever the cause may be -- the amount of warming is unlikely to
cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.
Schulte's survey contradicts the United Nation IPCC's Fourth Assessment
Report (2007), which gave a figure of "90% likely" man was having an impact
on world temperatures. But does the IPCC represent a consensus view of world
scientists? Despite media claims of "thousands of scientists" involved in
the report, the actual text is written by a much smaller number of "lead
authors." The introductory "Summary for Policymakers" -- the only portion
usually quoted in the media -- is written not by scientists at all, but by
politicians, and approved, word-by-word, by political representatives from
member nations. By IPCC policy, the individual report chapters -- the only
text actually written by scientists -- are edited to "ensure compliance"
with the summary, which is typically published months before the actual
By contrast, the ISI Web of Science database covers 8,700 journals and
publications, including every leading scientific journal in the world.