A recent study of research papers published from 1991 to 2011 that took a view on human-related climate change found 97% of them were in agreement that humans are a factor. The study was published in Environmental Research Letters, Volume 8, Number 2.
A large team of researchers made up the study group, which had affiliations with quite a number of organizations, such as the University of Queensland, Australia, the School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Australia Tetra Tech, Incorporated, and the Department of Chemistry at Michigan Technological University.
In their study, the researchers wrote, ‘Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus.’ (Source: Environmental Research Letters)
Is it a big deal that researchers found this pattern of consensus? Considering that scientists are the source of technical information for climate change mechanisms and impacts, the answer must be yes.
If one considers that a majority of American pastors expressed doubt about the role of humans in creating climate change, it is easy to see how important the role of science is in bringing accurate information to the public.
Our collective reality and denial have been linked for centuries to a religious view of the world – one that dismissed science aggressively at times (Galileo). The most important beliefs about reality were tied to the Bible and the privileged few – such as pastors, priests and ministers – who advised their congregations on life’s matters. However, today science is very much interwoven into our society and culture and it appears religion has taken a backseat to personal freedoms and expression. When scientists study the work of their fellow researchers and conclude it almost entirely points at one view, we can respond with gratitude and sobriety, indifference or denial.
It certainly is much more difficult to address, observe and document the complexity of reality than to refer to a single book that has existed for the duration of a good portion of Western civilization.
Interestingly, the book doesn’t have any solutions for climate change. Nor does it even reference it. What we do going forward will be recorded for future generations to study, and humans eventually will adapt in accordance with this changing scientific information.