What is the origin of the false belief—constantly repeated—that almost all scientists agree about global warming?
Yet the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction.
A study published earlier this year in Nature noted that abstracts of academic papers often contain claims that aren't substantiated in the papers.
The "97 percent" figure in the Zimmerman/Doran survey represents the views of only 79 respondents who listed climate science as an area of expertise and said they published more than half of their recent peer-reviewed papers on climate change. Seventy-nine scientists—of the 3,146 who responded to the survey—does not a consensus make.
Rigorous international surveys conducted by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch—most recently published in Environmental Science & Policy in 2010—have found that most climate scientists disagree with the consensus on key issues such as the reliability of climate data and computer models.
Photo by Masaaki Komori