Nonetheless, we hear repeatedly that there is a scientific consensus on the existence of man-made global warming, defined as "humans having at least some effect on global climate change." History professor Naomi Oreskes' frequently cited and much argued about research on which this claim for consensus is based has recently been updated to reflect recent research, and Naomi (and headline writers) will be surprised at the results.
Using Oreske's own methodology, Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte examined all scientific papers published from 2004 (when Oreske's research was published) to February 2007:
Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."See: Survey: Fewer than Half of Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory - Daily Tech.
The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the "primary" cause of warming, but it doesn't require any belief or support for "catastrophic" global warming. In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.
These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown us that -- whatever the cause may be -- the amount of warming is unlikely to cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.