Almost 100pc of scientists agree that climate change is caused by humans

For almost 100 per cent of scientists, climate change is caused by humans. — Reuters pic
For almost 100 per cent of scientists, climate change is caused by humans. — Reuters pic

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NEW YORK, Oct 22 — Is human activity at the root of climate change and the major climate emergency we are currently facing? While the question has long been asked, it no longer appears to be a matter of debate within the scientific community, a new study shows.

Like the scientific consensus surrounding the theory of plate tectonics, the theory that the impact of greenhouse gases on the planet and extreme weather is directly linked to human activity has reached a high degree of certainty.

In short, this means that scientists are in virtually no doubt that fossil fuels, such as oil, gas, coal and peat, contribute to global warming, say the authors of a vast study published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The information isn’t particularly new, of course. The researchers notably point out that a previous survey conducted in 2013 showed that 97 per cent of studies published between 1991 and 2012 support the idea that human activities contribute to climate change.

“Our primary motivation for this current study was to re-examine the literature published since 2012 to ascertain whether any change in the scientific consensus on climate change is discernible,” explain the authors of the study, led by Cornell University researchers (USA).

This search was conducted using a large database of scientific data, with 88,125 climate-related papers published since 2012, “when this question was last addressed comprehensively,” the authors state.

Of these publications, the scientists randomly selected 3,000 papers for closer examination. The rest of the research included in this meta-analysis was screened using keywords linked to implicitly or explicitly climate-skeptical terms.

For example, the hypothesis that changes in cosmic rays significantly influence the Earth’s climate change, that the Sun is the cause of modern climate change or that natural fluctuations are somehow involved.

The researchers found that only 28 of the articles surveyed used language associated with climate scepticism. “We conclude with high statistical confidence that the scientific consensus on human-caused contemporary climate change — expressed as a proportion of the total publications — exceeds 99 per cent in the peer reviewed scientific literature,” the authors conclude. — ETX Studio

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