Comment on “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”



In the 20 January 2009 issue of Eos (90(3), 22–23), P. T. Doran and M. K. Zimmerman gave some interesting data about scientists' responses to the question of whether they think human activity is a significant contributing factor to changing global temperatures. The statements given in the article are in fact “scientific” in that they are cautious. In my opinion, they miss the point.

While scientists are yet discussing the importance and potential magnitude of human influence, the public expects an answer to this simple question: “Would the warming be stopped or even reversed if the requested rigorous actions were taken?” Scientists have carefully avoided answering that blunt question, but most of the public and the politicians, at least in my country, are convinced that an overwhelming majority of scientists is answering “yes.”