|Source: ZME Science|
The general trend in the media seems to suggest that there’s a 97% agreement between scientists regarding the validity of climate change. However, that might not be accurate. Recent studies indicate an even stronger agreement.
A century ago, people thought smoking was pretty healthy — some even thought it was good for your lungs. But year after year, the evidence started piling up: smoking wasn’t good for you, it was bad. It causes cancer, heart diseases, and a myriad of other conditions. Of course, the tobacco industry was one of the first to learn about this, but they denied it. They hid the truth, they carried aggressive advertising and lobby campaigns against scientific facts, promoting laws and regulations that worked to their advantage, at the detriment of the general population. Even after the scientific evidence came in, it took decades before public opinion followed — and even more before healthy policies were set in place (in many parts of the world, there still aren’t any proper anti-smoking policies).
Something similar is happening today, except instead of smoking, we have man-made climate change.
There are thousands and thousands of studies documenting climate change and its effects and among scientists, there’s essentially a consensus regarding climate change. While the details and the exact specifics of how it is happening are still very much an area of active research, there’s not much denying that it is happening and that we are causing it.
To portray this, the media often uses the phrase “97% consensus” — likely originating from a 2014 study by Cook et al. entitled “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature“. In the study, Cook analyzed 11,944 peer-reviewed papers published between 1991-2011. Out of them, about a third (4,013) expressed a position on man-made climate change, and 3,894 (or 97%) supported the position that humans are causing climate change. The authors also found that more recent papers were increasingly attributing climate change to mankind, indicating an increasing acceptance level.
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