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Climate change is mainly caused by humans, according to 99.9% of 88,125 climate-related studies.
A recent survey incorporated literature published from 2012 to November 2020, and built on research in a 2013 paper that showed 97% of studies agreed the Earth‘s climate had been altered by mostly human activities.
The 2013 paper was constructed from studies published between 1991 and 2012, and the latest update has been noted as proving human’s responsibility for climate change by ‘well over 99% now’.
The paper’s first author and visiting fellow at the Alliance for Science at Cornell University, Mark Lynas, said those involved were ‘virtually certain’ of the extent to which humans are to blame, EurekAlert! reports.
‘It’s pretty much case closed for any meaningful public conversation about the reality of human-caused climate change,’ he said.
Co-author and Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Science at Cornell, Benjamin Houlton, said:
It’s critical to acknowledge the principal role of greenhouse gas emissions so that we can rapidly mobilize new solutions, since we are already witnessing in real time the devastating impacts of climate related disasters on businesses, people and the economy.
Despite the results of the study, public scepticism remains as to the extent of the effects of human activities on climate change and what the true cause of it may be.
In a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, it was found only 27% of US adults believe ‘almost all’ scientists agree human activity is the main cause of climate change. A poll by Gallup in 2021 also echoed a conflict in beliefs in American politics as to whether humans were more to blame.
Lynas said if we are to understand ‘where a consensus exists’, it must be quantified. ‘That means surveying the literature in a coherent and non-arbitrary way in order to avoid trading cherry-picked papers, which is often how these arguments are carried out in the public sphere.’
Despite conflicting public and political opinions, the study found that only four out of 3,000 papers published between 2012 and 2020 were unsure that climate change was caused by humans.
The more hesitant papers were identified through an algorithm, created by Simon Perry, to pick out keywords. Out of the more than 88,000 papers, just 28 were uncertain as to whether the blame lay on humans, all of which were published in ‘minor’ journals.
Lynas concluded that the latest study, having added even more certainty onto the initial 2013 result, which found that 97% of papers agreed that climate change was caused by humans, should ‘pretty much be the last word’.
The study, titled: ‘Greater than 99% Consensus on Human Caused Climate Change in the Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature’, was published on October 19 in Environmental Research Letters.
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