According to a recent survey by the non-partisan Pew Research Center, only 42 percent of Americans believe global warming is caused by human activity.
This lack of public consensus stems, in a large part, from the perception that there is no corresponding scientific consensus on the matter. A 2012 survey by Pew revealed that 55 percent of Americans either believe there is no scientific agreement on man-made global warming, or were unaware that there is one.
That perception is wrong.
A new review of the scientific literature from the last two decades found that 97.1 percent of papers that took a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) endorsed the view that it exists. The review, published in the latest issue of Environmental Research Letters, looked at nearly 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific abstracts from 1991 to 2011 that address either “global climate change” or “global warming.” Of those, 34 percent took a position.
When the authors of the review further surveyed the scientists who wrote the papers to confirm the authors’ judgments, 97.2 percent of respondents said their papers endorsed the consensus view—and 65 percent of papers were said by their own authors to have taken a position.
This is the largest such review to date and agrees with previous research into the level of agreement about AGW among scientists.
Lead author John Cook summed up his team's findings in a Skype interview with ClimateDesk.org: “[To] people who say there must be some conspiracy to keep climate deniers out of the peer reviewed literature, that is one hell of a conspiracy.”