Scientific opinion on climate change


Scientific opinion on climate change

The predominant scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth is in an ongoing phase of global warming very likely primarily caused by an enhanced greenhouse effect due to the anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This scientific consensus is expressed in synthesis reports, scientific bodies of national or international standing, and surveys of opinion among climate scientists. Individual scientists, universities, and laboratories contribute to the overall scientific opinion via their peer-reviewed publications, and the areas of collective agreement and relative certainty are summarised in these high level reports and surveys. Self-selected lists of individuals' opinions, such as petitions, are not normally considered to be part of the scientific process.

National and international science academies and scientific societies have assessed the current scientific opinion, in particular on recent global warming. These assessments have largely followed or endorsed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) position of January 2001 which states:

An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system... There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.[1]

No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion; the last was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate with its current non-committal position.[2][3] Some other organizations, primarily those focusing on geology, also hold non-committal positions.

Contents

Synthesis reports

Synthesis reports are assessments of scientific literature that compile the results of a range of stand-alone studies in order to achieve a broad level of understanding, or to describe the state of knowledge of a given subject.[4]

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007

In February 2007, the IPCC released a summary of the forthcoming Fourth Assessment Report. According to this summary, the Fourth Assessment Report finds that human actions are "very likely" the cause of global warming, meaning a 90% or greater probability. Global warming in this case is indicated by an increase of 0.75 degrees in average global temperatures over the last 100 years.[5]

The New York Times reported that “the leading international network of climate scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is 'unequivocal' and that human activity is the main driver, very likely' causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950”.[6]

A retired journalist for The New York Times, William K. Stevens wrote: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the likelihood was 90 percent to 99 percent that emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, spewed from tailpipes and smokestacks, were the dominant cause of the observed warming of the last 50 years. In the panel’s parlance, this level of certainty is labeled 'very likely'. Only rarely does scientific odds-making provide a more definite answer than that, at least in this branch of science, and it describes the endpoint, so far, of a progression.”.[7]

The Associated Press summarized the position on sea level rise:

On sea levels, the report projects rises of 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century. An additional 3.9 to 7.8 inches are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.[8]

U.S. Global Change Research Program

formerly the Climate Change Science Program

The U.S. Global Change Research Program reported in June, 2009[9] that:

Observations show that warming of the climate is unequivocal. The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with important contributions from the clearing of forests, agricultural practices, and other activities.

The report, which is about the effects that climate change is having in the United States, also says:

Climate-related changes have already been observed globally and in the United States. These include increases in air and water temperatures, reduced frost days, increased frequency and intensity of heavy downpours, a rise in sea level, and reduced snow cover, glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice. A longer ice-free period on lakes and rivers, lengthening of the growing season, and increased water vapor in the atmosphere have also been observed. Over the past 30 years, temperatures have risen faster in winter than in any other season, with average winter temperatures in the Midwest and northern Great Plains increasing more than 7°F. Some of the changes have been faster than previous assessments had suggested.

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

In 2004, the intergovernmental Arctic Council and the non-governmental International Arctic Science Committee released the synthesis report of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment:[10]

Climate conditions in the past provide evidence that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are associated with rising global temperatures. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), and secondarily the clearing of land, have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide, methane, and other heat-trapping ("greenhouse") gases in the atmosphere...There is international scientific consensus that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.[11]

Statements by organizations

This list of scientific bodies of national or international standing, that have issued formal statements of opinion, classifies those organizations according to whether they concur with the IPCC view, are non-committal, or dissent from it.

Statements by concurring organizations

Academies of Science

Joint science academies' statements

Since 2001, 32 national science academies have come together to issue joint declarations confirming anthropogenic global warming, and urging the nations of the world to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The signatories of these statements have been the national science academies of 32 countries.

  • 2001-Following the publication of the IPCC Third Assessment Report, seventeen national science academies issued a joint statement, entitled "The Science of Climate Change", explicitly acknowledging the IPCC position as representing the scientific consensus on climate change science. The statement, printed in an editorial in the journal Science on May 18, 2001,[12] was signed by the science academies of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.[13]
  • 2005-The national science academies of the G8 nations, plus Brazil, China and India, three of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the developing world, signed a statement on the global response to climate change. The statement stresses that the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action,[14] and explicitly endorsed the IPCC consensus. The eleven signatories were the science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • 2007-In preparation for the 33rd G8 summit, the national science academies of the G8+5 nations issued a declaration referencing the position of the 2005 joint science academies' statement, and acknowledging the confirmation of their previous conclusion by recent research. Following the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, the declaration states, "It is unequivocal that the climate is changing, and it is very likely that this is predominantly caused by the increasing human interference with the atmosphere. These changes will transform the environmental conditions on Earth unless counter-measures are taken."[15] The thirteen signatories were the national science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • 2008-In preparation for the 34th G8 summit, the national science academies of the G8+5 nations issued a declaration reiterating the position of the 2005 joint science academies’ statement, and reaffirming “that climate change is happening and that anthropogenic warming is influencing many physical and biological systems.” Among other actions, the declaration urges all nations to “(t)ake appropriate economic and policy measures to accelerate transition to a low carbon society and to encourage and effect changes in individual and national behaviour.”[16] The thirteen signatories were the same national science academies that issued the 2007 joint statement.
  • 2009-In advance of the UNFCCC negotiations to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009, the national science academies of the G8+5 nations issued a joint statement declaring, "Climate change and sustainable energy supply are crucial challenges for the future of humanity. It is essential that world leaders agree on the emission reductions needed to combat negative consequences of anthropogenic climate change". The statement references the IPCC's Fourth Assessment of 2007, and asserts that "climate change is happening even faster than previously estimated; global CO2 emissions since 2000 have been higher than even the highest predictions, Arctic sea ice has been melting at rates much faster than predicted, and the rise in the sea level has become more rapid."[17] The thirteen signatories were the same national science academies that issued the 2007 and 2008 joint statements.
InterAcademy Council

As the representative of the world’s scientific and engineering academies,[18][19] the InterAcademy Council (IAC) issued a report in 2007 titled Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future.

Current patterns of energy resources and energy usage are proving detrimental to the long-term welfare of humanity. The integrity of essential natural systems is already at risk from climate change caused by the atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases.[20] Concerted efforts should be mounted for improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon intensity of the world economy.[21]
European Academy of Sciences and Arts

In 2007, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts issued a formal declaration on climate change titled Let's Be Honest:

Human activity is most likely responsible for climate warming. Most of the climatic warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Documented long-term climate changes include changes in Arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. The above development potentially has dramatic consequences for mankind’s future.[22]
International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences

In 2007, the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) issued a Statement on Environment and Sustainable Growth:[23]

As reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), most of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century is very likely due to human-produced emission of greenhouse gases and this warming will continue unabated if present anthropogenic emissions continue or, worse, expand without control. CAETS, therefore, endorses the many recent calls to decrease and control greenhouse gas emissions to an acceptable level as quickly as possible.
Network of African Science Academies

In 2007, the Network of African Science Academies submitted a joint “statement on sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate change” to the leaders meeting at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany:

A consensus, based on current evidence, now exists within the global scientific community that human activities are the main source of climate change and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for driving this change. The IPCC should be congratulated for the contribution it has made to public understanding of the nexus that exists between energy, climate and sustainability.[24]

The thirteen signatories were the science academies of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as the African Academy of Sciences.

Royal Society of New Zealand

Having signed onto the first joint science academies' statement in 2001, the Royal Society of New Zealand released a separate statement in 2008 in order to clear up "the controversy over climate change and its causes, and possible confusion among the public":

The globe is warming because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Measurements show that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are well above levels seen for many thousands of years. Further global climate changes are predicted, with impacts expected to become more costly as time progresses. Reducing future impacts of climate change will require substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.[25]
Royal Society of the United Kingdom

The Royal Society of the United Kingdom has not changed its concurring stance. According to the Telegraph, "The most prestigious group of scientists in the country was forced to act after forty-three fellows complained that 'uncertainty in the debate' over man made global warming were not being communicated to the public."[26] In May 2010, it announced that it "is presently drafting a new public facing document on climate change, to provide an updated status report on the science in an easily accessible form, also addressing the levels of certainty of key components."[27] The society says that it is three years since the last such document was published and that, after an extensive process of debate and review,[28][29] the new document was printed in September 2010. It summarises the current scientific evidence and highlights the areas where the science is well established, where there is still some debate, and where substantial uncertainties remain. The society has stated that "this is not the same as saying that the climate science itself is in error – no Fellows have expressed such a view to the RS".[27] The introduction includes this statement:

There is strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, including agriculture and deforestation.
Polish Academy of Sciences

In December 2007, the General Assembly of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) issued a statement endorsing the IPCC conclusions, and states:

it is the duty of Polish science and the national government to, in a thoughtful, organized and active manner, become involved in realisation of these ideas.

Problems of global warming, climate change, and their various negative impacts on human life and on the functioning of entire societies are one of the most dramatic challenges of modern times.

PAS General Assembly calls on the national scientific communities and the national government to actively support Polish participation in this important endeavor.[30]
National Research Council (US)

In 2001, the Committee on the Science of Climate Change of the National Research Council published Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions.[31] This report explicitly endorses the IPCC view of attribution of recent climate change as representing the view of the scientific community:

The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century... The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.[31]

General science

American Association for the Advancement of Science

As the world's largest general scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science adopted an official statement on climate change in 2006:

The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society....The pace of change and the evidence of harm have increased markedly over the last five years. The time to control greenhouse gas emissions is now.[32]
American Chemical Society

The American Chemical Society stated:

Careful and comprehensive scientific assessments have clearly demonstrated that the Earth’s climate system is changing rapidly in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosol particles (IPCC, 2007). There is very little room for doubt that observed climate trends are due to human activities. The threats are serious and action is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of climate change. The reality of global warming, its current serious and potentially disastrous impacts on Earth system properties, and the key role emissions from human activities play in driving these phenomena have been recognized by earlier versions of this ACS policy statement (ACS, 2004), by other major scientific societies, including the American Geophysical Union (AGU, 2003), the American Meteorological Society (AMS, 2007) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2007), and by the U. S. National Academies and ten other leading national academies of science (NA, 2005).[33]
American Institute of Physics

The Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics endorsed the AGU statement on human-induced climate change:[34]

The Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics has endorsed a position statement on climate change adopted by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Council in December 2003.
American Physical Society

In November 2007, the American Physical Society (APS) adopted an official statement on climate change:

Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.[35]
Australian Institute of Physics

In 2005, the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP)[36] issued a science policy document in which they stated:

Policy: The AIP supports a reduction of the green house gas emissions that are leading to increased global temperatures, and encourages research that works towards this goal. Reason: Research in Australia and overseas shows that an increase in global temperature will adversely affect the Earth’s climate patterns. The melting of the polar ice caps, combined with thermal expansion, will lead to rises in sea levels that may impact adversely on our coastal cities. The impact of these changes on biodiversity will fundamentally change the ecology of Earth.[37]
European Physical Society

In 2007, the European Physical Society issued a position paper regarding energy:

The emission of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, among which carbon dioxide is the main contributor, has amplified the natural greenhouse effect and led to global warming. The main contribution stems from burning fossil fuels. A further increase will have decisive effects on life on earth. An energy cycle with the lowest possible CO2 emission is called for wherever possible to combat climate change.[38]
European Science Foundation

In 2007, the European Science Foundation issued a Position Paper on climate change:

There is now convincing evidence that since the industrial revolution, human activities, resulting in increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases have become a major agent of climate change. These greenhouse gases affect the global climate by retaining heat in the troposphere, thus raising the average temperature of the planet and altering global atmospheric circulation and precipitation patterns. While on-going national and international actions to curtail and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are essential, the levels of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere, and their impact, are likely to persist for several decades. On-going and increased efforts to mitigate climate change through reduction in greenhouse gases are therefore crucial.[39]
Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies

In 2008, the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) issued a policy statement on climate change:

Global climate change is real and measurable. Since the start of the 20th century, the global mean surface temperature of the Earth has increased by more than 0.7°C and the rate of warming has been largest in the last 30 years.

Key vulnerabilities arising from climate change include water resources, food supply, health, coastal settlements, biodiversity and some key ecosystems such as coral reefs and alpine regions. As the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increases, impacts become more severe and widespread. To reduce the global net economic, environmental and social losses in the face of these impacts, the policy objective must remain squarely focused on returning greenhouse gas concentrations to near pre-industrial levels through the reduction of emissions.

The spatial and temporal fingerprint of warming can be traced to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, which are a direct result of burning fossil fuels, broad-scale deforestation and other human activity.[40]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane to higher levels than at any point during the last 650,000 years. Scientists agree it is very likely that most of the global average warming since the mid-20th century is due to the human-induced increases in greenhouse gases, rather than to natural causes. While natural variations have altered the climate significantly in the past, it is very unlikely that the changes in climate observed since the mid-20th century can be explained by natural processes alone.[41]

Earth sciences

American Geophysical Union

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) statement,[42] adopted by the society in 2003 and revised in 2007, affirms that rising levels of greenhouse gases have caused and will continue to cause the global surface temperature to be warmer:

The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century. Global average surface temperatures increased on average by about 0.6°C over the period 1956–2006. As of 2006, eleven of the previous twelve years were warmer than any others since 1850. The observed rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice is expected to continue and lead to the disappearance of summertime ice within this century. Evidence from most oceans and all continents except Antarctica shows warming attributable to human activities. Recent changes in many physical and biological systems are linked with this regional climate change. A sustained research effort, involving many AGU members and summarized in the 2007 assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, continues to improve our scientific understanding of the climate.
American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America

In May, 2011, the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) issued a joint position statement on climate change as it relates to agriculture:

A comprehensive body of scientific evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt that global climate change is now occurring and that its manifestations threaten the stability of societies as well as natural and managed ecosystems. Increases in ambient temperatures and changes in related processes are directly linked to rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere.

Unless the emissions of GHGs are curbed significantly, their concentrations will continue to rise, leading to changes in temperature, precipitation, and other climate variables that will undoubtedly affect agriculture around the world.

Climate change has the potential to increase weather variability as well as gradually increase global

temperatures. Both of these impacts have the potential to negatively impact the adaptability and resilience of the world’s food production capacity; current research indicates climate change is already reducing the productivity of vulnerable cropping systems.[43]
European Federation of Geologists

In 2008, the European Federation of Geologists[44](EFG) issued the position paper Carbon Capture and geological Storage :

The EFG recognizes the work of the IPCC and other organizations, and subscribes to the major findings that climate change is happening, is predominantly caused by anthropogenic emissions of CO2, and poses a significant threat to human civilization.

It is clear that major efforts are necessary to quickly and strongly reduce CO2 emissions. The EFG strongly advocates renewable and sustainable energy production, including geothermal energy, as well as the need for increasing energy efficiency.

CCS [Carbon Capture and geological Storage] should also be regarded as a bridging technology, facilitating the move towards a carbon free economy.[45]
European Geosciences Union

In 2005, the Divisions of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) issued a position statement in support of the joint science academies’ statement on global response to climate change. The statement refers to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as "the main representative of the global scientific community", and asserts that the IPCC

represents the state-of-the-art of climate science supported by the major science academies around the world and by the vast majority of science researchers and investigators as documented by the peer-reviewed scientific literature.[46]

Additionally, in 2008, the EGU issued a position statement on ocean acidification which states, "Ocean acidification is already occurring today and will continue to intensify, closely tracking atmospheric CO2 increase. Given the potential threat to marine ecosystems and its ensuing impact on human society and economy, especially as it acts in conjunction with anthropogenic global warming, there is an urgent need for immediate action." The statement then advocates for strategies "to limit future release of CO2 to the atmosphere and/or enhance removal of excess CO2 from the atmosphere."[47]

Geological Society of America

In 2006, the Geological Society of America adopted a position statement on global climate change. It amended this position on April 20, 2010 with more explicit comments on need for CO2 reduction.

Decades of scientific research have shown that climate can change from both natural and anthropogenic causes. The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse‐gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s. If current trends continue, the projected increase in global temperature by the end of the twentyfirst century will result in large impacts on humans and other species. Addressing the challenges posed by climate change will require a combination of adaptation to the changes that are likely to occur and global reductions of CO2 emissions from anthropogenic sources.[48]
Geological Society of London

In November 2010, the Geological Society of London issued the position statement Climate change: evidence from the geological record:

The last century has seen a rapidly growing global population and much more intensive use of resources, leading to greatly increased emissions of gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, from the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), and from agriculture, cement production and deforestation. Evidence from the geological record is consistent with the physics that shows that adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere warms the world and may lead to: higher sea levels and flooding of low-lying coasts; greatly changed patterns of rainfall; increased acidity of the oceans; and decreased oxygen levels in seawater. There is now widespread concern that the Earth’s climate will warm further, not only because of the lingering effects of the added carbon already in the system, but also because of further additions as human population continues to grow. Life on Earth has survived large climate changes in the past, but extinctions and major redistribution of species have been associated with many of them. When the human population was small and nomadic, a rise in sea level of a few metres would have had very little effect on Homo sapiens. With the current and growing global population, much of which is concentrated in coastal cities, such a rise in sea level would have a drastic effect on our complex society, especially if the climate were to change as suddenly as it has at times in the past. Equally, it seems likely that as warming continues some areas may experience less precipitation leading to drought. With both rising seas and increasing drought, pressure for human migration could result on a large scale.[49]
International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics

In July 2007, the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) adopted a resolution titled “The Urgency of Addressing Climate Change”. In it, the IUGG concurs with the “comprehensive and widely accepted and endorsed scientific assessments carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and regional and national bodies, which have firmly established, on the basis of scientific evidence, that human activities are the primary cause of recent climate change.” They state further that the “continuing reliance on combustion of fossil fuels as the world’s primary source of energy will lead to much higher atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses, which will, in turn, cause significant increases in surface temperature, sea level, ocean acidification, and their related consequences to the environment and society.”[50]

National Association of Geoscience Teachers

In July 2009, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers[51] (NAGT) adopted a position statement on climate change in which they assert that "Earth's climate is changing [and] "that present warming trends are largely the result of human activities":

NAGT strongly supports and will work to promote education in the science of climate change, the causes and effects of current global warming, and the immediate need for policies and actions that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.[52]

Meteorology and oceanography

American Meteorological Society

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) statement adopted by their council in 2003 said:

There is now clear evidence that the mean annual temperature at the Earth's surface, averaged over the entire globe, has been increasing in the past 200 years. There is also clear evidence that the abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased over the same period. In the past decade, significant progress has been made toward a better understanding of the climate system and toward improved projections of long-term climate change... Human activities have become a major source of environmental change. Of great urgency are the climate consequences of the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases... Because greenhouse gases continue to increase, we are, in effect, conducting a global climate experiment, neither planned nor controlled, the results of which may present unprecedented challenges to our wisdom and foresight as well as have significant impacts on our natural and societal systems.[53]
Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

The Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society has issued a Statement on Climate Change, wherein they conclude:

Global climate change and global warming are real and observable ... It is highly likely that those human activities that have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have been largely responsible for the observed warming since 1950. The warming associated with increases in greenhouse gases originating from human activity is called the enhanced greenhouse effect. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by more than 30% since the start of the industrial age and is higher now than at any time in at least the past 650,000 years. This increase is a direct result of burning fossil fuels, broad-scale deforestation and other human activity.”[54]
Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences

In November 2005, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) issued a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada stating that

We concur with the climate science assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001 ... We endorse the conclusions of the IPCC assessment that 'There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities'. ... There is increasingly unambiguous evidence of changing climate in Canada and around the world. There will be increasing impacts of climate change on Canada’s natural ecosystems and on our socio-economic activities. Advances in climate science since the 2001 IPCC Assessment have provided more evidence supporting the need for action and development of a strategy for adaptation to projected changes.[55]
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

In November 2009, a letter to the Canadian Parliament by The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society states:

Rigorous international research, including work carried out and supported by the Government of Canada, reveals that greenhouse gases resulting from human activities contribute to the warming of the atmosphere and the oceans and constitute a serious risk to the health and safety of our society, as well as having an impact on all life.[56]
Royal Meteorological Society (UK)

In February 2007, after the release of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, the Royal Meteorological Society issued an endorsement of the report. In addition to referring to the IPCC as “world’s best climate scientists”, they stated that climate change is happening as “the result of emissions since industrialization and we have already set in motion the next 50 years of global warming – what we do from now on will determine how worse it will get.”[57]

World Meteorological Organization

In its Statement at the Twelfth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change presented on November 15, 2006, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirms the need to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The WMO concurs that “scientific assessments have increasingly reaffirmed that human activities are indeed changing the composition of the atmosphere, in particular through the burning of fossil fuels for energy production and transportation.” The WMO concurs that “the present atmospheric concentration of CO2 was never exceeded over the past 420,000 years;” and that the IPCC “assessments provide the most authoritative, up-to-date scientific advice.” [58]

Paleoclimatology

American Quaternary Association

The American Quaternary Association (AMQUA) has stated

Few credible Scientists now doubt that humans have influenced the documented rise of global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution,” citing “the growing body of evidence that warming of the atmosphere, especially over the past 50 years, is directly impacted by human activity.[59]
International Union for Quaternary Research

The statement on climate change issued by the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) reiterates the conclusions of the IPCC, and urges all nations to take prompt action in line with the UNFCCC principles.

Human activities are now causing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses - including carbon dioxide, methane, tropospheric ozone, and nitrous oxide - to rise well above pre-industrial levels….Increases in greenhouse gasses are causing temperatures to rise…The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action….Minimizing the amount of this carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere presents a huge challenge but must be a global priority.[60]

Biology and life sciences

American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians

The American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians[61] (AAWV) has issued a position statement regarding "climate change, wildlife diseases, and wildlife health":

There is widespread scientific agreement that the world’s climate is changing and that the weight of evidence demonstrates that anthropogenic factors have and will continue to contribute significantly to global warming and climate change. It is anticipated that continuing changes to the climate will have serious negative impacts on public, animal and ecosystem health due to extreme weather events, changing disease transmission dynamics, emerging and re-emerging diseases, and alterations to habitat and ecological systems that are essential to wildlife conservation. Furthermore, there is increasing recognition of the inter-relationships of human, domestic animal, wildlife, and ecosystem health as illustrated by the fact the majority of recent emerging diseases have a wildlife origin.[62]
American Institute of Biological Sciences

In October 2009, the leaders of 18 US scientific societies and organizations sent an open letter to the United States Senate reaffirming the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and is primarily caused by human activities. The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) adopted this letter as their official position statement:[63]

Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.[64]

The letter goes on to warn of predicted impacts on the United States such as sea level rise and increases in extreme weather events, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and the disturbance of biological systems. It then advocates for a dramatic reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases.[65]

American Society for Microbiology

In 2003, the American Society for Microbiology issued a public policy report in which they recommend “reducing net anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the atmosphere” and “minimizing anthropogenic disturbances of” atmospheric gases:[66]

Carbon dioxide concentrations were relatively stable for the past 10,000 years but then began to increase rapidly about 150 years ago…as a result of fossil fuel consumption and land use change.[67]

Of course, changes in atmospheric composition are but one component of global change, which also includes disturbances in the physical and chemical conditions of the oceans and land surface. Although global change has been a natural process throughout Earth’s history, humans are responsible for substantially accelerating present-day changes. These changes may adversely affect human health and the biosphere on which we depend.[68]

Outbreaks of a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, hantavirus infections, dengue fever, bubonic plague, and cholera, have been linked to climate change.[69]
Australian Coral Reef Society

In 2006, the Australian Coral Reef Society issued an official communique regarding the Great Barrier Reef and the "world-wide decline in coral reefs through processes such as overfishing, runoff of nutrients from the land, coral bleaching, global climate change, ocean acidification, pollution", etc.:

There is almost total consensus among experts that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of the build-up of greenhouse gases. The IPCC (involving over 3,000 of the world’s experts) has come out with clear conclusions as to the reality of this phenomenon. One does not have to look further than the collective academy of scientists worldwide to see the string (of) statements on this worrying change to the earth’s atmosphere. There is broad scientific consensus that coral reefs are heavily affected by the activities of man and there are significant global influences that can make reefs more vulnerable such as global warming....It is highly likely that coral bleaching has been exacerbated by global warming.[70]
Institute of Biology (UK)

The UK's Institute of Biology states “there is scientific agreement that the rapid global warming that has occurred in recent years is mostly anthropogenic, ie due to human activity.” As a consequence of global warming, they warn that a “rise in sea levels due to melting of ice caps is expected to occur. Rises in temperature will have complex and frequently localised effects on weather, but an overall increase in extreme weather conditions and changes in precipitation patterns are probable, resulting in flooding and drought. The spread of tropical diseases is also expected.” Subsequently, the Institute of Biology advocates policies to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions, as we feel that the consequences of climate change are likely to be severe.”[71]

Society of American Foresters

In 2008, the Society of American Foresters (SAF) issued two position statements pertaining to climate change in which they cite the IPCC and the UNFCCC:

Forests are shaped by climate....Changes in temperature and precipitation regimes therefore have the potential to dramatically affect forests nationwide. There is growing evidence that our climate is changing. The changes in temperature have been associated with increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs in the atmosphere.[72] Forests play a significant role in offsetting CO2 emissions, the primary anthropogenic GHG.[73]
The Wildlife Society (international)

The Wildlife Society has issued a position statement titled Global Climate Change and Wildlife:[74]

Scientists throughout the world have concluded that climate research conducted in the past two decades definitively shows that rapid worldwide climate change occurred in the 20th century, and will likely continue to occur for decades to come. Although climates have varied dramatically since the earth was formed, few scientists question the role of humans in exacerbating recent climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases. The critical issue is no longer “if” climate change is occurring, but rather how to address its effects on wildlife and wildlife habitats.

The statement goes on to assert that “evidence is accumulating that wildlife and wildlife habitats have been and will continue to be significantly affected by ongoing large-scale rapid climate change.”

The statement concludes with a call for “reduction in anthropogenic (human-caused) sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global climate change and the conservation of CO2- consuming photosynthesizers (i.e., plants).”

Human health

American Academy of Pediatrics

In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued the policy statement Global Climate Change and Children's Health:

There is broad scientific consensus that Earth's climate is warming rapidly and at an accelerating rate. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are very likely (>90% probability) to be the main cause of this warming. Climate-sensitive changes in ecosystems are already being observed, and fundamental, potentially irreversible, ecological changes may occur in the coming decades. Conservative environmental estimates of the impact of climate changes that are already in process indicate that they will result in numerous health effects to children. Anticipated direct health consequences of climate change include injury and death from extreme weather events and natural disasters, increases in climate-sensitive infectious diseases, increases in air pollution–related illness, and more heat-related, potentially fatal, illness. Within all of these categories, children have increased vulnerability compared with other groups.[75]
American College of Preventive Medicine

In 2006, the American College of Preventive Medicine issued a policy statement on “Abrupt Climate Change and Public Health Implications”:

The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) accept the position that global warming and climate change is occurring, that there is potential for abrupt climate change, and that human practices that increase greenhouse gases exacerbate the problem, and that the public health consequences may be severe.[76]
American Medical Association

In 2008, the American Medical Association issued a policy statement on global climate change declaring that they:

Support the findings of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which states that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that these changes will negatively affect public health. Support educating the medical community on the potential adverse public health effects of global climate change, including topics such as population displacement, flooding, infectious and vector-borne diseases, and healthy water supplies.[77]
American Public Health Association

In 2007, the American Public Health Association issued a policy statement titled ‘’Addressing the Urgent Threat of Global Climate Change to Public Health and the Environment’’:

The long-term threat of global climate change to global health is extremely serious and the fourth IPCC report and other scientific literature demonstrate convincingly that anthropogenic GHG emissions are primarily responsible for this threat….US policy makers should immediately take necessary steps to reduce US emissions of GHGs, including carbon dioxide, to avert dangerous climate change.[78]
Australian Medical Association

In 2004, the Australian Medical Association issued the position statement Climate Change and Human Health in which they recommend policies "to mitigate the possible consequential health effects of climate change through improved energy efficiency, clean energy production and other emission reduction steps."[79]

This statement was revised again in 2008:

The world’s climate – our life-support system – is being altered in ways that are likely to pose significant direct and indirect challenges to health. While ‘climate change’ can be due to natural forces or human activity, there is now substantial evidence to indicate that human activity – and specifically increased greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions – is a key factor in the pace and extent of global temperature increases.

Health impacts of climate change include the direct impacts of extreme events such as storms, floods, heatwaves and fires and the indirect effects of longer-term changes, such as drought, changes to the food and water supply, resource conflicts and population shifts.

Increases in average temperatures mean that alterations in the geographic range and seasonality of certain infections and diseases (including vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, Ross River virus and food-borne infections such as Salmonellosis) may be among the first detectable impacts of climate change on human health.

Human health is ultimately dependent on the health of the planet and its ecosystem. The AMA believes that measures which mitigate climate change will also benefit public health. Reducing GHGs should therefore be seen as a public health priority.[80]
World Federation of Public Health Associations

In 2001, the World Federation of Public Health Associations[81] issued a policy resolution on global climate change:

Noting the conclusions of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other climatologists that anthropogenic greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change, have substantially increased in atmospheric concentration beyond natural processes and have increased by 28 percent since the industrial revolution….Realizing that subsequent health effects from such perturbations in the climate system would likely include an increase in: heat-related mortality and morbidity; vector-borne infectious diseases,… water-borne diseases…(and) malnutrition from threatened agriculture….the World Federation of Public Health Associations…recommends precautionary primary preventive measures to avert climate change, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and preservation of greenhouse gas sinks through appropriate energy and land use policies, in view of the scale of potential health impacts....[82]
World Health Organization

In 2008, the United Nations' World Health Organization issued their report Protecting health from climate change:

There is now widespread agreement that the earth is warming, due to emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activity. It is also clear that current trends in energy use, development, and population growth will lead to continuing – and more severe – climate change.
The changing climate will inevitably affect the basic requirements for maintaining health: clean air and water, sufficient food and adequate shelter. Each year, about 800,000 people die from causes attributable to urban air pollution, 1.8 million from diarrhoea resulting from lack of access to clean water supply, sanitation, and poor hygiene, 3.5 million from malnutrition and approximately 60,000 in natural disasters. A warmer and more variable climate threatens to lead to higher levels of some air pollutants, increase transmission of diseases through unclean water and through contaminated food, to compromise agricultural production in some of the least developed countries, and increase the hazards of extreme weather.[83]

Miscellaneous

American Astronomical Society

The American Astronomical Society has endorsed the AGU statement:[84]

In endorsing the "Human Impacts on Climate" statement [issued by the American Geophysical Union], the AAS recognizes the collective expertise of the AGU in scientific subfields central to assessing and understanding global change, and acknowledges the strength of agreement among our AGU colleagues that the global climate is changing and human activities are contributing to that change.
American Statistical Association

On November 30, 2007, the American Statistical Association Board of Directors adopted a statement on climate change:

The ASA endorses the IPCC conclusions.... Over the course of four assessment reports, a small number of statisticians have served as authors or reviewers. Although this involvement is encouraging, it does not represent the full range of statistical expertise available. ASA recommends that more statisticians should become part of the IPCC process. Such participation would be mutually beneficial to the assessment of climate change and its impacts and also to the statistical community.[85]
Engineers Australia (The Institution of Engineers Australia)
"Engineers Australia believes that Australia must act swiftly and proactively in line with global expectations to address climate change as an economic, social and environmental risk... We believe that addressing the costs of atmospheric emissions will lead to increasing our competitive advantage by minimising risks and creating new economic opportunities. Engineers Australia believes the Australian Government should ratify the Kyoto Protocol."[86]
International Association for Great Lakes Research

In February 2009, the International Association for Great Lakes Research[87] (IAGLR) issued a Fact Sheet on climate change:

While the Earth’s climate has changed many times during the planet’s history because of natural factors, including volcanic eruptions and changes in the Earth’s orbit, never before have we observed the present rapid rise in temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Human activities resulting from the industrial revolution have changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere....Deforestation is now the second largest contributor to global warming, after the burning of fossil fuels. These human activities have significantly increased the concentration of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere.

As the Earth’s climate warms, we are seeing many changes: stronger, more destructive hurricanes; heavier rainfall; more disastrous flooding; more areas of the world experiencing severe drought; and more heat waves.[88]
Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand

In October 2001, the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand[89] (IPENZ) published an Informatory Note entitled "Climate Change and the greenhouse effect":

Human activities have increased the concentration of these atmospheric greenhouse gases, and although the changes are relatively small, the equilibrium maintained by the atmosphere is delicate, and so the effect of these changes is significant. The world’s most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from about 280 parts per million to 370 parts per million, an increase of around 30%.

On the basis of available data, climate scientists are now projecting an average global temperature rise over this century of 2.0 to 4.5°C. This compared with 0.6°C over the previous century – about a 500% increase... This could lead to changing, and for all emissions scenarios more unpredictable, weather patterns around the world, less frost days, more extreme events (droughts and storm or flood disasters), and warmer sea temperatures and melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise.

... Professional engineers commonly deal with risk, and frequently have to make judgments based on incomplete data. The available evidence suggests very strongly that human activities have already begun to make significant changes to the earth’s climate, and that the long-term risk of delaying action is greater than the cost of avoiding/minimising the risk.[90]

Non-committal statements

American Association of Petroleum Geologists

As of June 2007, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Position Statement on climate change stated:

the AAPG membership is divided on the degree of influence that anthropogenic CO2 has on recent and potential global temperature increases ... Certain climate simulation models predict that the warming trend will continue, as reported through NAS, AGU, AAAS and AMS. AAPG respects these scientific opinions but wants to add that the current climate warming projections could fall within well-documented natural variations in past climate and observed temperature data. These data do not necessarily support the maximum case scenarios forecast in some models.[91]

Prior to the adoption of this statement, the AAPG was the only major scientific organization that rejected the finding of significant human influence on recent climate, according to a statement by the Council of the American Quaternary Association.[2] Explaining the plan for a revision, AAPG president Lee Billingsly wrote in March 2007:

Members have threatened to not renew their memberships... if AAPG does not alter its position on global climate change.... And I have been told of members who already have resigned in previous years because of our current global climate change position.... The current policy statement is not supported by a significant number of our members and prospective members.[92]

AAPG President John Lorenz announced the sunsetting of AAPG’s Global Climate Change Committee in January 2010. The AAPG Executive Committee determined:

Climate change is peripheral at best to our science…. AAPG does not have credibility in that field…….and as a group we have no particular knowledge of global atmospheric geophysics.[93]

American Association of State Climatologists

The Association has no current statement. The previous statement, discussed below, became inoperative in 2008.[94]

The 2001 statement from the American Association of State Climatologists noted the difficulties with predicting impacts due to climate change, while acknowledging that human activities are having an effect on climate:

Climate prediction is difficult because it involves complex, nonlinear interactions among all components of the earth’s environmental system.... The AASC recognizes that human activities have an influence on the climate system. Such activities, however, are not limited to greenhouse gas forcing and include changing land use and sulfate emissions, which further complicates the issue of climate prediction. Furthermore, climate predictions have not demonstrated skill in projecting future variability and changes in such important climate conditions as growing season, drought, flood-producing rainfall, heat waves, tropical cyclones and winter storms. These are the type of events that have a more significant impact on society than annual average global temperature trends. Policy responses to climate variability and change should be flexible and sensible – The difficulty of prediction and the impossibility of verification of predictions decades into the future are important factors that allow for competing views of the long-term climate future. Therefore, the AASC recommends that policies related to long-term climate not be based on particular predictions, but instead should focus on policy alternatives that make sense for a wide range of plausible climatic conditions regardless of future climate... Finally, ongoing political debate about global energy policy should not stand in the way of common sense action to reduce societal and environmental vulnerabilities to climate variability and change. Considerable potential exists to improve policies related to climate.[95]

American Geological Institute

In 1999, the American Geological Institute (AGI) issued the position statement ‘’Global Climate Change’’:

The American Geological Institute (AGI) strongly supports education concerning the scientific evidence of past climate change, the potential for future climate change due to the current building of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and the policy options available. Understanding the interactions between the solid Earth, the oceans, the biosphere, and the atmosphere both in the present and over time is critical for accurately analyzing and predicting global climate change due to natural processes and possible human influences.[96]

American Institute of Professional Geologists

In 2009, the American Institute of Professional Geologists[97] (AIPG) sent a statement to President Barack Obama and other US government officials:

The geological professionals in AIPG recognize that climate change is occurring and has the potential to yield catastrophic impacts if humanity is not prepared to address those impacts. It is also recognized that climate change will occur regardless of the cause. The sooner a defensible scientific understanding can be developed, the better equipped humanity will be to develop economically viable and technically effective methods to support the needs of society.[98]

Concerned that the original statement issued in March 2009 was too ambiguous, AIPG’s National Executive Committee approved a revised position statement issued in January 2010:

The geological professionals in AIPG recognize that climate change is occurring regardless of cause. AIPG supports continued research into all forces driving climate change.[99]

In August 2009, the Ohio Section of AIPG submitted a position statement to Senators Brown and Voinovich opposing H.R. 2454, the Markey-Waxman climate bill. The statement professed that “there is no scientific evidence supporting…. the premise that human production of CO2 gas is responsible for ‘global warming’….” The statement went on to challenge the findings of the IPCC and made numerous references to articles published by the Heartland Institute.[100]

In March 2010, AIPG’s Executive Director issued a statement regarding polarization of opinions on climate change within the membership and announced that the AIPG Executive had made a decision to cease publication of articles and opinion pieces concerning climate change in AIPG’s news journal, The Professional Geologist.[101] The Executive Director noted that “the question of anthropogenicity of climate change is contentious.”[102]

Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences

The science of global climate change is still evolving and our understanding of this vital Earth system is not as developed as is the case for other Earth systems such as plate tectonics. What is known with certainty is that regardless of the causes, our global climate will continue to change for the foreseeable future... The level of CO2 in our atmosphere is now greater than at any time in the past 500,000 years; there will be consequences for our global climate and natural systems as a result.[103]

Geological Society of Australia

In July 2009, the Geological Society of Australia issued the position statement Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change[104] supportive of the IPCC position. However in 2011 the position statement was withdrawn because members contended that they were not consulted by the society's executive in its content and had no approval for its release.The society in 2011 was canvassing members to decide its future stance on this issue.[105]

Statements by dissenting organizations

Since 2007, when the American Association of Petroleum Geologists released a revised statement,[106] no scientific body of national or international standing rejects the findings of human-induced effects on climate change.[2][3]

Statements by individual scientists opposing the mainstream assessment of global warming do include opinions that the earth has not warmed, or that warming is attributable to causes other than increasing greenhouse gases.

Surveys of scientists and scientific literature

97–98% of the most published climate researchers think humans are causing global warming.[107] Another study found just under 90% of active scientists think significant man made global warming is occurring. Of those who didn't, most were unsure.[108]

Various surveys have been conducted to evaluate scientific opinion on global warming.

Anderegg, Prall, Harold, and Schneider, 2010

A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and drew the following two conclusions:

(i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.[109]

The methodology of the Anderegg et al. study was challenged in PNAS by Lawrence Bodenstein for "treat[ing] publication metrics as a surrogate for expertise". He would expect the much larger side of the climate change controversy to excel in certain publication metrics as they "continue to cite each other's work in an upward spiral of self-affirmation".[110] Anderegg et al. replied that Bodenstein "raises many speculative points without offering data" and that his comment "misunderstands our study’s framing and stands in direct contrast to two prominent conclusions in the paper.[111] The Anderegg et al. study was also criticized by Roger A. Pielke,[112] Pat Michaels, Roger Pielke, Jr., and John Christy.[113] Pielke Jr. commented that "this paper simply reinforces the pathological politicization of climate science in policy debate." [113]

Doran and Kendall Zimmerman, 2009

A poll performed by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman at Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago received replies from 3,146 of the 10,257 polled Earth scientists. Results were analyzed globally and by specialization. 76 out of 79 climatologists who "listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change" believe that mean global temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and 75 out of 77 believe that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures. Among all respondents, 90% agreed that temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800 levels, and 82% agreed that humans significantly influence the global temperature. Economic geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in significant human involvement. A summary from the survey states that:

It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.[114]

Bray and von Storch, 2008

Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch conducted a survey in August 2008 of 2058 climate scientists from 34 different countries.[115] A web link with a unique identifier was given to each respondent to eliminate multiple responses. A total of 373 responses were received giving an overall response rate of 18.2%. No paper on climate change consensus based on this survey has been published yet (February 2010), but one on another subject has been published based on the survey.[116]

The survey was composed of 76 questions split into a number of sections. There were sections on the demographics of the respondents, their assessment of the state of climate science, how good the science is, climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation, their opinion of the IPCC, and how well climate science was being communicated to the public. Most of the answers were on a scale from 1 to 7 from 'not at all' to 'very much'.

In the section on climate change impacts questions 20, 21 were relevant to scientific opinion on climate change. Question 20 "How convinced are you that climate change, whether natural or anthropogenic, is occurring now?" got 67.1% very much agree, 26.7% to some large extent (5–6), 6.2% said to some small extent (2–4), none said not at all. Question 21 "How convinced are you that most of recent or near future climate change is, or will be, a result of anthropogenic causes?" received 34.6% very much agree, 48.9% agreeing to a large extent (5–6), 15.1% to a small extent (2–4), and 1.35% not agreeing at all.

STATS, 2007

In 2007, Harris Interactive surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University. The survey found 97% agreed that global temperatures have increased during the past 100 years; 84% say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; and 84% believe global climate change poses a moderate to very great danger.[117] [118]

Oreskes, 2004

A 2004 article by geologist and historian of science Naomi Oreskes summarized a study of the scientific literature on climate change.[119] The essay concluded that there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. The author analyzed 928 abstracts of papers from refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, listed with the keywords "global climate change". Oreskes divided the abstracts into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. 75% of the abstracts were placed in the first three categories, thus either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, thus taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change; none of the abstracts disagreed with the consensus position, which the author found to be "remarkable". According to the report, "authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point."

Older surveys of scientists

  • In 2003, Bray and von Storch conducted a survey of the perspectives of climate scientists on global climate change.[citation needed] The survey received 530 responses from 27 different countries. The 2003 survey has been strongly criticized on the grounds that it was performed on the web with no means to verify that the respondents were climate scientists or to prevent multiple submissions. The survey required entry of a username and password, but the username and password were circulated to a climate skeptics mailing list and elsewhere on the internet.[citation needed] Bray and von Storch defended their results. and accused climate change skeptics of interpreting the results with bias. Bray's submission to Science on December 22, 2004 was rejected.[citation needed]
One of the questions asked in the survey was "To what extent do you agree or disagree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?", with a value of 1 indicating strongly agree and a value of 7 indicating strongly disagree.[citation needed] The results showed a mean of 3.62, with 50 responses (9.4%) indicating "strongly agree" and 54 responses (9.7%) indicating "strongly disagree". The same survey indicates a 72% to 20% endorsement of the IPCC reports as accurate, and a 15% to 80% rejection of the thesis that "there is enough uncertainty about the phenomenon of global warming that there is no need for immediate policy decisions."[citation needed]
  • In 1997, the conservative think tank Citizens for a Sound Economy surveyed America's 48 state climatologists on questions related to climate change.[120] Of the 36 respondents, 44% considered global warming to be a largely natural phenomenon, compared to 17% who considered warming to be largely man-made. 89% agreed that "current science is unable to isolate and measure variations in global temperatures caused ONLY by man-made factors," and 61% said that historical data do not indicate "that fluctuations in global temperatures are attributable to human influences such as burning fossil fuels." though the time scale for the next glacial period was not specified.
  • In 1996, Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch undertook a survey of climate scientists on attitudes towards global warming and related matters. The results were subsequently published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.[121] The paper addressed the views of climate scientists, with a response rate of 40% from a mail survey questionnaire to 1000 scientists in Germany, the USA and Canada. Most of the scientists believed that global warming was occurring and appropriate policy action should be taken, but there was wide disagreement about the likely effects on society and almost all agreed that the predictive ability of currently existing models was limited. On a scale of 1 (highest confidence) to 7 (lowest confidence) regarding belief in the ability to make "reasonable predictions" the mean was 4.8 for 10 year predictions and 5.2 100 years. On the question of whether global warming is occurring or will occur the mean response was 3.3, and for future prospects of warming the mean was 2.6.
  • Global Environmental Change Report, 1990: GECR climate survey shows strong agreement on action, less so on warming. Global Environmental Change Report 2, No. 9, pp. 1–3
  • Stewart, T. R.,[122] Mumpower, J. L., and Reagan-Cirincione, P. (1992). Scientists' opinions about global climate change: Summary of the results of a survey. NAEP (National Association of Environmental Professionals) Newsletter, 17(2), 6-7.
  • In 1991, the Center for Science, Technology, and Media commissioned a Gallup poll of 400 members of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society along with an analysis of reporting on global warming by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a report on which was issued in 1992.[123] Accounts of the results of that survey differ in their interpretation and even in the basic statistical percentages:
    • Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting states that the report said that 67% of the scientists said that human-induced global warming was occurring, with 11% disagreeing and the rest undecided.[124]
    • George Will reported "53 percent do not believe warming has occurred, and another 30 percent are uncertain." (Washington Post, September 3, 1992). In a correction Gallup stated: "Most scientists involved in research in this area believe that human-induced global warming is occurring now."[125]
    • A 1993 publication by the Heartland Institute reports: "A Gallup poll conducted on February 13, 1992 of members of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society-the two professional societies whose members are most likely to be involved in climate research-found that 18 percent thought some global warming had occurred, 33 percent said insufficient information existed to tell, and 49 percent believed no warming had taken place."

Scientific consensus

A question that frequently arises in popular discussion of climate change is whether there is a scientific consensus on climate change.[126] Several scientific organizations have explicitly used the term "consensus" in their statements:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006: "The conclusions in this statement reflect the scientific consensus represented by, for example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Joint National Academies' statement."[32]
  • US National Academy of Sciences: "In the judgment of most climate scientists, Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ... On climate change, [the National Academies’ reports] have assessed consensus findings on the science..."[127]
  • Joint Science Academies' statement, 2005: "We recognise the international scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."[128]
  • Joint Science Academies' statement, 2001: "The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus of the international scientific community on climate change science. We recognise IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving this consensus."[13]
  • American Meteorological Society, 2003: "The nature of science is such that there is rarely total agreement among scientists. Individual scientific statements and papers—the validity of some of which has yet to be assessed adequately—can be exploited in the policy debate and can leave the impression that the scientific community is sharply divided on issues where there is, in reality, a strong scientific consensus.... IPCC assessment reports are prepared at approximately five-year intervals by a large international group of experts who represent the broad range of expertise and perspectives relevant to the issues. The reports strive to reflect a consensus evaluation of the results of the full body of peer-reviewed research.... They provide an analysis of what is known and not known, the degree of consensus, and some indication of the degree of confidence that can be placed on the various statements and conclusions."[129]
  • Network of African Science Academies: “A consensus, based on current evidence, now exists within the global scientific community that human activities are the main source of climate change and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for driving this change.”[24]
  • International Union for Quaternary Research, 2008: "INQUA recognizes the international scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."[130]
  • Australian Coral Reef Society,[131] 2006: "There is almost total consensus among experts that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of the build-up of greenhouse gases.... There is broad scientific consensus that coral reefs are heavily affected by the activities of man and there are significant global influences that can make reefs more vulnerable such as global warming...."[132]

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b c Julie Brigham-Grette (September 2006). "Petroleum Geologists' Award to Novelist Crichton Is Inappropriate" (PDF). Eos 87 (36). http://www.agu.org/fora/eos/pdfs/2006EO360008.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-23. "The AAPG stands alone among scientific societies in its denial of human-induced effects on global warming." 
  3. ^ a b Oreskes, Naomi (2007). "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong?". In DiMento, Joseph F. C.; Doughman, Pamela M.. Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren. The MIT Press. p. 68. ISBN 9780262541930. 
  4. ^ Ogden, Aynslie and Cohen, Stewart (2002) (PDF). Integration and Synthesis: Assessing Climate Change Impacts in Northern Canada. http://www.taiga.net/nce/initiatives/publications/occasional_paper_02.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  5. ^ "Warming 'very likely' human-made". BBC News (BBC). 2007-02-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6321351.stm. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
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