Consensus on Climate Change

Dr. Doran and former graduate student Maggie Kendall Zimmerman's research survey of climate scientists around the world was published in EOS, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

The study shows an overwhelming consensus among climate researchers on the issue of global warming and its likely causes.

Press release >>
Article in EOS (pdf) >>
Maggie Kendall Zimmerman's full thesis (price is only $2, not $20) >>
Figure 1 in EOS Paper >>
FAQ >>


April 2016: New paper out co-authored by multiple authors of multiple previous studies which all confirmed strong consensus

October 2013: We still continue to get push back from people who didn't like the results. Here is an email response to someone who questioned our survey:

Our study was the best it could be. Some people have problems with self-selected surveys, but we said exactly how we did it and put it out there. In my view, a self-selected survey is a better indication of reality than no survey at all.

Some key points:

1. Great efforts were made to make sure the study was as unbiased as possible. The full methods are in the MS thesis which is in the link below. This would be a more informative read than the blog of someone who clearly is not happy with the results (and they accuse US of being biased?)
2. The small portion of the larger study published in EOS was peer reviewed (by a member of the US National Academy of Science). He recommended publication without any revision.
3. Our 98% number has been supported twice since by completely independent studies (the only ones I know of in peer-reviewed journals) taking different approaches.

    a) A group at Stanford looked at the opinions of 1372 climate researchers and 97-98% agreed with the basic tenants of global warming theory (Anderegg et al             2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, V107 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107).

    b) Cook et al 2013, Environmental Research Letters, V8, DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024 found the following:  " We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991-2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming'. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming" (emphasis is mine).

So I am very confident that although there were some procedural problems with our survey, we hit the nail on the head. We were aware of the problems in our approach and chose to publish the results detailing exactly how we did it to let people decide for themselves. Based on the followup studies, seems we got it right.

This article in the Washington post gives an interesting perspective (I don't agree with all):