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Analysis: 99.9% of climate studies agree that humans are causing climate change

Analysis: 99.9% of climate studies agree that humans are causing climate change
A new analysis of studies suggests that virtually all climate scientists agree that climate change has been caused and accelerated by human actions. File Photo by Free-Photos/Pixabay

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Virtually all scientific analyses agree that climate change is mainly caused by humans, a survey of more than 88,000 studies published Tuesday by Environmental Research Letters found.

More than 99.9% of the 88,125 climate-related studies published between 2012 and November of last year concluded that warming temperatures, increased frequency of extreme weather events and polar ice melting, among other climate challenges, can be linked with humans, the data showed.

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A similar analysis published in 2013 found that 97% of studies conducted between 1991 and 2012 supported the theory that human activities are altering Earth's climate.

"We are virtually certain that the consensus is well over 99% now," co-author of the current study, Mark Lynas, said in a press release

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"It's pretty much case closed for any meaningful public conversation about the reality of human-caused climate change," said Lynas, a visiting fellow at the Alliance for Science at Cornell University.

Despite these and other findings, public opinion polls, as well as opinions of politicians and public representatives, on the issue remain divided.

In 2016, for example, the Pew Research Center found that only 27% of adults in the United States agreed with the statement that "almost all" scientists believe that climate change is due to human activity.

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Similarly, a 2021 Gallup poll pointed to a deepening partisan divide in U.S. politics on whether the rising global temperatures observed since the Industrial Revolution were primarily caused by humans.

For this study, Lynas and his colleagues examined a random sample of 3,000 studies out of the 88,125 English-language climate papers published between 2012 and 2020.

Of these 3,000 studies, they found only four that were skeptical of human-caused climate change.

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Next, co-author Simon Perry, a Britain-based software engineer and volunteer at the Alliance for Science, created an algorithm that searched out keywords from papers the team knew were skeptical, such as "solar," "cosmic rays" and "natural cycles," the researchers said.

"To understand where a consensus exists, you have to be able to quantify it," Lynas said.

"That means surveying the literature in a coherent and non-arbitrary way in order to avoid trading cherry-picked papers, which is often how these arguments are carried out in the public sphere," he said.

The algorithm was applied to all 88,125 papers, and the search yielded 28 papers that were implicitly or explicitly skeptical of human activity being the cause of climate change, according to the researchers.

"It's critical to acknowledge the principal role of greenhouse gas emissions so that we can rapidly mobilize new solutions," co-author Benjamin Houlton said in a press release.

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"We are already witnessing in real time the devastating impacts of climate related disasters on businesses, people and the economy," said Houlton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell.

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