A recent survey asked the opinion of 3146 scientists regarding human-induced global warming. And the surveyed scientists think it’s a fact.
The survey was conducted online by academics at the University of Illinois and was a total of 9 questions. The scientists who participated in the survey were listed in the 2007 edition of the American Geological Institute’s Directory of Geoscience Departments.
Among the nine questions, the two important questions were:
1. Have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels?
2. Has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures?
90% agreed with the first and 82% agreed with the second. According to the data, the strongest consensus came from climatologists who are active in climate research (or who were at the time the survery was answered). 97% of them agreed that humans play a role in global climate change. The groups who were least in agreeance (heh) with this opinion were the petroleum geologists (47%) and the meteorologists (64%).
Peter Doran, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and one of the survey’s authors commented on this:
“Most members of the public think meteorologists know climate, but most of them actually study very short-term phenomenon.”
Doran also commented on the climatologists’ consensus:
“They’re the ones who study and publish on climate science. So I guess the take-home message is, the more you know about the field of climate science, the more you’re likely to believe in global warming and humankind’s contribution to it.
“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,” said Doran.
So what does this survey tell us? Absolutely nothing. Well, it tells us what about 3100 well-educated people think is going on with global warming. Is this survey proof or evidence? Nope. It’s opinion, well-informed and educated opinion, but opinion. Quoting this survey as evidence for human-caused global warming is a textbook argument from authority.
Don’t get me wrong, I share the majority opinion. But I don’t think surveys like this should be paraded across the media as evidence for human-caused global warming. I’ll take facts, data and statistics anyday over this.