Only 53% Of Climatologists & Meteorologists, 36% Of Engineers & Geoscientists, 19% Of Agronomists Are ‘Consensus’ Believers

Americans’ beliefs about climate change were recently surveyed by the Pew Research Center, and the results were made public a few days ago.  Pew pollsters found that a combined 51% of Americans agree that (a) there is no clear evidence the Earth is warming, or (b) natural factors are the main cause of climate changes.  Therefore, just 48% of Americans believe the Earth is getting warmer, and this warming is mostly caused by humans.  This belief percentage has essentially remained unchanged for the last 10 years, or since the survey was first conducted in 2006.


One key question in the survey pertained to Americans’ perception of the scientific “consensus”.   The Pew Research Center found that just 27% of Americans believe that “almost all” climate scientists maintain the belief that changes in climate are mostly caused by humans.

Of course, the presupposition underpinning this opinion question is the claim that upwards of 97% climate scientists — translated into “almost all” for the Pew survey — believe that climate changes since the mid-20th century have been mostly (i.e., more than 50%) caused by humans.   This oft-cited 97% figure was derived from a subjective abstract-counting exercise conducted by “Skeptical Science” blogger John Cook and colleagues (Cook et al., 2013, “Quantifying the Consensus…”).  Selected abstracts from 11,944 scientific papers published between 1991 and 2011 were used for the sample size, and of those papers just 65 (0.5% of the 11,944) were classified by Cook and his fellow raters as endorsing the specified Category 1 position that “Explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming” (Legates et al., 2013).  This wouldn’t do, of course.  So, to ultimately reach the 97% endorsement percentage the Cook team had set out to obtain in the first place, they intentionally combined the (65) Category 1 quantified “consensus” statement papers  with the (934) Category 2 and (2,933) Category 3 endorsement papers that only needed to state (2) or just imply (3) that humans are a cause of climate changes.  These Category 2 and 3 papers did not quantify the contribution or indicate humans are a primary (>50%) cause of climate change, but they were nonetheless combined with Category 1 papers anyway.

Of course, nearly all scientists would agree that a human contribution greater than 0% exists, or that humans can be a cause — however modest  — of some degree of climate change.  So by combining the very high endorsement rates from Categories 2 and 3 (that even most skeptics acknowledge, as they agree humans contribute to climate change to some degree) with the negligibly small endorsement rates for Category 1 (just 65 papers), and by excluding many hundreds of papers from consideration that were published by scientists questioning the theory, Cook et al. (2013) were ultimately able to get away with proclaiming that 97% of scientists believe that climate changes since 1950 have mostly been caused by humans.

But as the evidence from the Pew survey  indicates, despite their best efforts, John Cook and cohorts have not been able to convince the general public that subjective abstract-counting exercises are a sound or scientific means to gauge “consensus.”  As mentioned, only 27% of Americans believe that “almost all” (i.e., 97%) climate scientists maintain the belief that humans are the primary cause of changes in the climate system.  Not only that, just 28% Americans agree that climate scientists even understand (“very well”) what factors cause climate changes.


And Americans may be right.  According to analysis found in the peer-reviewed scientific literature (Prokopy et al., 2015, Lefsrud and Meyer, 2012, Stenhouse et al., 2016), surveys of professional climatologists, engineers, geologists, and agronomists indicate that the percentage of these scientists who believe that changes in the climate system are primarily caused by humans falls abysmally short of the claimed 97%.  In fact, these studies reveal that only 53% of climatologists and meteorologists, 36% of professional engineers and geoscientists, and 19% of agronomists believe that changes in the climate system are mostly human-caused.

53% Of Climatologists Believe, 19% Of Agronomists Believe

In a survey of Midwest-based climatologists and agronomists (here called “extension educators” who have “at least a Masters degree” in agronomic sciences), just 53% of climatologists and 19.2% of agronomists believe that changes in the climate system are primarily caused by humans.

Prokopy et al., 2015

“In 2012, a total of 22 state and extension climatologists were selected through a purposive sample to represent main outlets of publicly available and location-specific climate information in the region. … About 53% attributed climate change primarily to human activities.”

Extension educators are a unique set of agricultural advisors who serve to connect and translate research from universities to farmers in order to decrease risk to the farm enterprise and increase productive capacity and resilience. Typically, Extension educators have at least a Masters degree and are trained in agronomic sciences, which may not include climate sciences. … [O]ver 19% attribut[e] climate change primarily to human activities.”


36% Of Engineers, Geoscientists Believe

Among professional engineers and geoscientists trained in the physical sciences, only 36% are believers in the “consensus” position that humans are the “main or central” cause of changes in the climate system.

Lefsrud and Meyer, 2012

“The largest group of APEGA respondents (36%) … express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”


53% Of Professional Meteorologists Believe

Stenhouse et al., 2016

Conflict about Climate Change at the American Meteorological Society: Meteorologists’ Views on a Scientific and Organizational Controversy

“A web-based survey was sent to all professional (i.e. non-student) members of the AMS in December 2011. …  Members who said the global warming of the last 150 years was mostly caused by human activity (53% of full sample).  … Members who are convinced of largely human-caused climate change expressed that debate over global warming sends an unclear message to the public.  Conversely, members who are unconvinced of human-caused climate change often felt that their peers were closed-minded, and were suppressing unpopular views.”

Ninety-Seven Percent Bunk

To summarize, the American public is about as likely to believe that climate changes are mostly caused by humans as are meteorologists and climatologists (48% vs. 53%, respectively).  And Americans in general are much more likely to believe that humans are the primary cause of climate changes as professionals trained in the physical sciences: 48% of U.S. citizens are believers, whereas ~20-35% of professionals with physical science degrees (engineers, Earth scientists, agronomists) are believers.

To put it non-delicately, the claim that “almost all” scientists (i.e., 97%) believe that most changes in the climate system are caused by humans is … bunk.

And most Americans already knew that.

33 responses to “Only 5333 Of Climatologists & Meteorologists, 3633 Of Engineers & Geoscientists, 1933 Of Agronomists Are ‘Consensus’ Believers”

  1. cementafriend

    The largest proportion of engineers are Civil engineers (probably over 60%) who have no education or experience in thermodynamics, or heat transfer. They have practically no learning in chemistry and little in mathematics. It is suggested that they would make up the large majority of engineers who think man had some affect on climate changes. Electrical and systems engineers also have little knowledge or experience with thermodynamics, heat transfer, chemistry, or fluid dynamics but have a large skill in mathematics. It is suggested that a lessor proportion than Civil engineers would support human influence. Mechanical engineers do have some qualifications in thermodynamics and heat transfer but very little in Chemistry. It is suggested the proportion that supports human influence would be small. Chemical engineers have more qualifications and experience (eg thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer, fluid dynamics, reaction kinetic, mathematics, dimensional analysis, statistics, instrumentation and control etc) than anyone else in world to be able to assess atmospheric changes. From my knowledge of chemical engineers the proportion that would support that humans have some influence over climate changes would be close to zero.

    1. Jamie

      How absurd! This study is far more scientific than the fake 97% study that you warmists love to site. In that study, only scientists likely to agree were even polled.

      Regarding Engineers — I think they understand that it is impossible to come up with a predictive model about a very complex and chaotic system and then declare that model ‘settled science’. Such a dogmatic faith-based methodology flies in the face of basic predictive statistics. Anyone who has taken introductory statistics knows that the warmist claims of ‘settled science’ are only a perversion of the statistical method.

    2. yonason


      Your professional bias is showing, and it’s leading you to say some silly things. Yes, civil engineers do receive training in math, and heat transfer, etc. Here’s a textbook on it just for them.

      (One of my roommates in college was a civil engineer, and he easily held his own with math majors in all the advanced math he had to take because it was required for him to get a degree.)

      I know you aren’t a warmist, but with statements like those you’re gonna fool some who aren’t familiar with your other posts, not to mention alienating civil engineers.

      1. yonason


        Here’s the complete Dover Books section on civil and mechanical engineering.

        Are you feeling embarrassed yet?

        When a Chem Eng comes up with a process, who do you think designs the reactor or distillation apparatus? Without Civil and Mechanical Engineers to design the facilities and reactors, you will never scale up your bench model to an industrial level.

        I assure you that in this case Obama is correct, a chemical engineer did NOT build that.

      2. cementafriend

        Yonason, I did say that Mechanical Engineers studied and have experience in heat transfer (see the chapter in Marks Mechanical Engineering handbook) but in my day they with all engineers except chemicals did little chemistry (chemical engineers did 3 years of all aspects of Chemistry upto Science degree level). They had a watered down course in 1st year about equivalent to advanced high (2ndry) school. I have given talks to various groups of engineers and even interviewed some for engineering registration. I found that some top civil engineers know absolutely nothing about the properties of materials such as cement and steel. No civil engineer I have come across was able to tell me what properties distinguished white cement from ordinary Portland cement beside the color. Some consulting civil engineers can not properly specify concrete because they do not understand statistics and the cement & concrete properties (few understand sulphate resistance, alkali-aggregate reactions).
        My point above was that the 36% called engineers in the survey were largely civil engineers who have no interest or knowledge about atmospheric conditions and if they were employed by government (including local government of towns and councils) would likely to go along with the political consensus. I have great respect for mining engineers who with some knowledge of geology are unlikely to support climate scams. Certainly no mining engineer or geologist I have met supports the scam. (Btw I have done some geology)
        A final point not all engineers are the same (wasn’t there an ad. saying oils ain’t oils?)

        1. yonason

          “I found that some top civil engineers know absolutely nothing about the properties of materials such as cement and steel” – Cementafrient


          Still, my experience with them, at least at the undergrad level, was that that they were exposed to a lot more math and physics than you give them credit for.

          “Btw I have done some geology”

          If you learned it well, you have my respect. I remember wanting to take it, until I saw what some friends were going through in the intro course. Hard material. (pun only slightly not intended.)

          Years ago there were problems in scale up, as this video that was shown in our physics class on “waves and vibrations” illustrates.

          But I think even physicists wouldn’t have seen that one coming. Fortunately, they now what to do to prevent a repeat (I hope).

    3. Howard Barlow

      You are simply uninformed. I am a Registered Civil Engineer (Geotechnical) with a Masters Degree. As an undergraduate, ALL engineer majors were required to take Thermodynamics. In addition, ALL engineers were required to take two years of calculus/differential equations and one year of physics. I also took one year of chemistry and I think most engineers do the same. In addition I took courses in physical geology, geomorphology, engineering geology, and remote sensing.

    4. Analitik

      I would say that engineers are not taught to think in terms of chaotic systems. Instead the training is about finding regions where linear behaviour can be used as an approximation for a complex system. Finite element analysis is an example of this.

      Given this background, a fair proportion may well take the word of climate scientists who claim to have accurately modelled all the characteristics of the atmosphere, particularly if they are not interested in the climate debate or if they have green leanings.

      Says this engineer, anyway.

      1. DirkH

        Most warmist engineers I talked to simply have blind trust in other branches of academia. They are honest and competent people and automatically assume that the climate modelers are
        a) honest.
        b) competent.

        Well, blind trust never helped ANYONE. Actually it’s a sign that these trusting engineers are high-functioning morons.

        1. Analitik

          I’ll admit I was slightly warmist for a while due to inattention – it seemed plausible but not worrying. It took Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” to make me examine the CAGW arguments at the basic levels since I could not bring myself to admit that Al Gore could achieve anything of real merit.

          Since then, I can only marvel at the gullibility of the masses in accepting the BS from those with vested interests in promoting CAGW and their “cures”.

          Warmist engineers are more likely busy with things they are immediately concerned about than the idea of AGW. Alarmist engineers, yes, they are high-functioning morons and I know a few – they also tend to be “concerned” about other matters and often say “they” should do this and that.

  2. Lasse

    Read and see what kind of people that are sceptical!

    ““Skeptical assessments of research methods and conclusions are an important and necessary component of scientific progress. However, certain aspects in the dismissive discourses about climate change suggest that ‘denial’ (or ‘pseudo-skepticism’) is a more appropriate term for the phenomenon than ‘skepticism’.”

    1. yonason


      First sentence of the abstract…

      “Climate change denial has been found to correlate with sociopolitical ideology.”

      …written by an indoctrinated drone who wouldn’t know real science if it bit her, poor thing. He “teachers” have destroyed her mind for their own nefarious ends, and she hasn’t a clue.

      1. DirkH

        Philosophy dissertation.
        Well, I guess this will not be the next Aristotle then.

        1. DirkH

          But, good Macchiavellian move to make it in the apparatus.

    2. yonason

      More thoughts on the sentence…

      “Climate change denial has been found to correlate with sociopolitical ideology.”

      1. There is no “climate change denial.” Climate changes. The “denial” is that humans have any significant impact on it, because we don’t.

      2a. The only correlation “with sociopolitical ideology” is in not wanting precious resources squandered on stupid schemes that benefit scoundrels, and harm everyone else. And our “denial” isn’t motivated by politics, but the politics by our desire not to be scammed.

      2b. You may recall that Lewandowsky equated skeptics of AGW to people who believed we never went to the moon. Unfortunately for Lewandowsky, THESE guys are skeptics.
      Need the complete list? Here it is

      3. And as to correlations, I wonder when you sociologists are going to decide that waking up in the morning causes the sun to come up? It is highly “correlated,” after all.

      1. yonason

        @ LASSE

        Not attacking you, btw. I realize you were just drawing our attention to the idiocy.


  3. DMA

    I thought the farmers response to the Prokopy survey was interesting. These are folks who live with the changing climate, have commonsense about the weather, and, in today’s world,are often college educated in fields relevant to agriculture. It was a large sample with low response(likely disinterested) and a lower positive response than any of the others.

    1. toorightmate

      Plus the small fact that farmers have been studying the WEATHER for 12,000 years.

  4. Jack Dale

    Lefsrud and Meyer get pretty annoyed at misrepresentation of their study. How they responded to a James Taylor misrepresentation of their study:
    ” the majority believes that humans do have their hands in climate change, even if many of them believe that humans are not the only cause.”

    Let us do the math
    Comply with Kyoto 36%
    Fatalists 17%
    Regulation activists 5%
    Total 58% see the human influence in climate change.
    And these are geologists and geophysicists the Albert oil patch.

  5. Jack Dale
    1. AndyG55

      Lets sum up the facts,

      1. No warming in the UAH satellite record from 1980 to 1998 El Nino

      2. No warming between the end of that El Nino in 2001 and the start of the current El Nino at the beginning of 2015.

      3. No warming in the southern polar region for the whole 38 years of the satellite record.

      4. No warming in the southern ex-tropicals for 20 years.

      5. No warming in Australia for 20 years, cooling since 2002

      6. No warming in Japan surface data for the last 20 years, No warming from 1950-1990.. ie, a zero trend for 40 years through their biggest industrial expansion

      7. No warming in the USA since 2005 when a non-corrupted system was installed, until the beginning of the current El Nino.

      8. UAH Global Land shows no warming from 1979-1997, then no warming from 2001 – 2015

      9. Iceland essentially the same temperature as in the late 1930s as now, maybe slightly lower

      10. British Columbia (Canada) temperatures have been stable, with no warming trend, throughout 1900-2010

      11. Chile has been cooling since the 1940s
      12. Southern Sea temperatures not warming from 1982-2005, then cooling

      13. Even UAH NoPol shows no warming this century until the large spike in January 2016.

      That is DESPITE a large climb in CO2 levels over those regions and time periods.

      There IS ABSOLUTELY NO CO2 WARMING effect and any of the reliable, untampered temperature data.

      End of story. End of the CAGW FARCE

  6. Jack Dale

    There are six studies that show a broad consensus:
    Anderegg et al
    Brown, Pielke and Annan
    Oreskes et al
    Zimmerman and Doran
    Cook et al
    James Powell

    No science academy on the planet disputes the conclusions of the IPCC.

    1. AndyG55

      And every one of those 6 has been RIPPED TO SHREDS…

      … and been shown to be the utmost in STATISTICAL MALFEASANCE.

      1. Jack Dale


        1. Kenneth Richard

          Jack, only 65 out of 11,944 papers published between 1991-2011 endorsed the quantified position that global warming since 1950 has been *primarily* caused by humans according to John Cook and colleagues themselves in Cook et al., 2013. That’s a “consensus” endorsement for about 0.5% of the papers selected. The rest just agreed that humans can/do contribute to climate changes at all, or at some level above 0%. In other words, papers like these 4 below would technically qualify as endorsements for Cook et al. (2013) because they acknowledge that increasing CO2 concentrations has at least *some* effect on climate, even if it’s stated there is “practically no effect” or the effect is “insignificant” or a few hundredths of a degree with doubling…because none of these papers conclude that CO2 has *zero* effect at all.

          ” A very recent development on the greenhouse phenomenon is a validated adiabatic model, based on laws of physics, forecasting a maximum temperature-increase of 0.01–0.03 °C for a value doubling the present concentration of atmospheric CO2.”

          “The author associates the recently observed climate warming and carbon dioxide concentration growth in the lower atmospheric layers with variations of solar-geomagnetic activity in global cloud formation and the significant decrease in the role of forests in carbon dioxide accumulation in the process of photosynthesis. The contribution of the greenhouse effect of carbon-containing gases to global warming turns out to be insignificant.”

          “The current global warming is most likely a combined effect of increased solar and tectonic activities and cannot be attributed to the increased anthropogenic impact on the atmosphere. Humans may be responsible for less than 0.01 C (of approximately 0.56C (1F) total average atmospheric heating during the last century) (Khilyuk and Chilingar 2003, 2004). … Any attempts to mitigate undesirable climatic changes using restrictive regulations are condemned to failure, because the global natural forces are at least 4–5 orders of magnitude greater than available human controls.”

          “[A]ccumulation of small additional amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere as a result of anthropogenic activities has practically no effect on the Earth’s climate.”

          James Powell? Can you provide the citation to the peer-reviewed scientific paper that contains his “findings”? And can you divulge the criteria he is using to classify papers? Or are you just taking his word for it without critical review? Because last I checked, all he’s done is characterize those papers (and articles and op-ed pieces and blog essays) that indicate humans can affect atmospheric conditions with their CO2 emissions *at all* as an endorsement of the position that changes climate parameters are *primarily* caused by humans. You do understand that there is a colossal difference between claiming humans are the *primary* cause of climate changes and claiming that humans can contribute to climate change, but their contribution is modest or insignificant? Because the latter is what most skeptics agree with.

          Finally, please cite the scientific experiment that uses observational evidence to confirm that increasing or decreasing the atmospheric CO2 concentration in increments of parts per million (0.000001) above a body of water is the dominant/exclusive cause of heat content changes in that body of water. Or perhaps you can answer the question, Jack. If we were to lower CO2 concentrations by 10 ppm (-0.00001) over a body of water, how much heat will be lost in that body of water and at what depths? What are the scientific measurements? Again, please cite the scientific experiment verifying your results. Perhaps James Powell might know how to access this information.

        2. AndyG55

          Neither does anything you have posted.

          All you have is a moronic anti-science rant and bluster.

        3. DirkH

          Jack Dale 8. October 2016 at 4:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

          But they’re great for EMPHASIZING things.

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