So, the facts: 97% of climate scientists agree with the our-world-is-warming-and-it’s-us theory.

Wait, didn’t we talk about this last time?

We mentioned the Oregon Petition, an online sham where only 0.1% of the ‘climate scientists’ signing even claim to be climate scientists.

Right. So why is this important again?

Because every denier and his dog knows that as soon as you destroy the idea of a scientific consensus, you can say ‘well scientists can’t even decide, how can we know what’s true?’ That, plus studies show accepting science often means people are more willing to do something about.

But a wise man once said: ‘there are lies, damned lies and statistics’.

People who quote that are normally looking at a statistic they just don’t like. It’s true you can manipulate data any way you please, but there have been a whole load of studies that have come out with pretty much the same number.

Ok, convince me.

It’s a fairly long story, but this site has a good summary. Basically, a scientist did a literature review of 928 papers that mention climate change and found none that disagreed. But people disagreed with this review, so a group of researchers from Skeptical Science – the site with the good summary above – did another, broader review and found 97% agreed.

Let me guess: people disagreed with that one too?

Yup, I’m coming to that. But they also did a follow by emailing the scientists who wrote the papers to see if they agreed with their conclusions, and got the same results.

Alright, hit me with some of the disagreements.

Some people said they were too zealous in throwing out papers that didn’t express a position, even saying these should added to the ‘disagree’ number. But climate change isn’t controversial to most scientists, so explicitly saying ‘it’s real and it’s us’ in every (word-limited) abstract is a pretty dumb thing to expect.

I’ve dutifully done my internet research, and many people disagree with you. They seem quite angry about it, too.

Really, really angry. But whatever you read, remember this: blog posts aren’t peer-reviewed, good science is.

You said something about ‘many studies’ that prove this?

There have been a good few studies on this, yes.

Didn’t the Jurassic Park guy say something like ‘science is not about consensus’?

Yes, Michael Crichton was a sceptic too. And he’s right, it’s not done by counting up how may people think X, but: a) a vast majority of scientists think the same way; and b) the sceptics can’t explain the warming if it’s not us.

So, we’re fairly sure about this one?

I’ll let the AAAS – ‘The World’s Largest General Scientific Society’ – have the final word. “The science linking human activities to climate change is analogous to the science linking smoking to lung and cardiovascular diseases”.