Policy Documents

No. 111 - What Climate Scientists Really Say about Global Warming

James M. Taylor –
February 28, 2007

The Heartland Institute has released a study challenging assertions that climate scientists have come to a consensus about global warming.

“Sharp disagreement exists within the scientific community regarding the causes and impacts of recent global warming,” writes James M. Taylor, The Heartland Institute’s senior fellow for environment policy and author of the report. “According to two recent surveys of climate scientists, there is no ‘consensus’ that humans are causing a dangerous and unprecedented global rise in temperature. In fact, many or most scientists appear to lean in the opposite direction.”

What Climate Scientists Really Say About Global Warming exposes the weakness of the alleged “consensus” by examining two surveys conducted among climate scientists, the first in 1996, and the second in 2003. The surveys confirm scientists are divided on the issue:

  • More climate scientists “strongly disagree” than “strongly agree” with the notion that climate change is caused by humans;
  • Most climate scientists do not believe “the current state of knowledge is able to provide reasonable predictions of climate variability” over 100-year time periods;
  • Only 2 percent of climate scientists surveyed “strongly agree” that modeling programs designed to predict climate changes are accurate; and
  • Almost all climate scientists agree that climate change could have “positive effects for some societies.”