Climate Change IQ Question 3: Do 97% of climate scientists agree that catastrophic climate change will result if humans do not curtail use of “fossil fuels”?

Answer: No. The percentage is less than 0.3%.

Science is not consensus. A single experiment can destroy the most beautiful “settled” theory, no matter how many scientists believe in it. Actual temperature observations do not agree with the accelerated global warming predicted by the climate models, as shown below. [1]

Truth is sought by observation and experiment. How is consensus determined? A tweet in President Obama’s name stated “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” This claim was based on the conclusions in an article about the abstracts of 11,944 published papers. [2] However, David Legates and colleagues found [3] that in only 41 (0.3%) of the 11,944 papers did the authors explicitly agree even with the weaker conclusion that man had caused most post-1950 warming.

One can also ask scientists their opinion. In the Oregon Petition Project, more than 31,000 Americans with college degrees in appropriate fields of science, including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s, signed the following statement:

We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

Based on a recent paper with “breath-taking” implications in Nature Geoscience, “climate alarmists have finally admitted that they’ve got it wrong on global warming,” writes James Delingpole.

Take-home Lessons:

  • Scientists agree that the earth’s climate has always been changing, and human activities may have some effect.
  • While consensus is not science, there is NO scientific consensus that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing or will cause catastrophic global warming climate change.
  • Apocalyptic scenarios that are being used to gain acceptance of radical changes in energy use are based neither on science nor on the opinion of the majority of scientists.


  1. Michaels P, Knappenberger C. Climate models versus climate reality. Climate Etc., Dec 15, 2015.
  2. Cook J, et al. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, May 15, 2013.
  3. Legates D, et al. Sci & Educ 2015;24:299-318.

Printable PDF of Question 3:

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