James Lawrence Powell

Science and Global Warming

To read my essay in The Nation on divestment from fossil fuel companies, click here. For the sources to that essay, see here.


I had previously reviewed peer-reviewed scientific articles from 2013 with the topics, or keyword phrases, "global warming" and "global climate change," [see here]. They numbered 1,911. I have now also reviewed articles from 2013 with the keyword phrase "climate change," finding 8,974. Combining the searches, 2013 saw 10,885 articles under one or more of the three phrases. Only two articles [see here and here] in my judgment rejected anthropogenic global warming. Download the chart above here or from Wikipedia Commons here.

Combining this result with my earlier studies (see here and here), over several years I have reviewed 25,182 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals. Only 26, about 1 in 1,000, in my judgment reject anthropogenic global warming. I describe my methodology here.

Instead of coalescing around a rival theory to anthropogenic global warming, the rejecting articles offer a hodgepodge of alternatives, none of which has caught on. The dissenting articles are rarely cited, even by other dissenters. A groundswell this is not. The 26 rejecting articles have had no discernible influence on science.

Very few of the most vocal global warming deniers, those who write op-eds and blogs and testify to congressional committees, have ever written a peer-reviewed article in which they say explicitly that anthropogenic global warming is false. Why? Because then they would have to provide the evidence and, evidently, they don't have it.

What can we conclude?

1. There a mountain of scientific evidence in favor of anthropogenic global warming and no convincing evidence against it.

2. Those who deny anthropogenic global warming have no alternative theory to explain the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 and global temperature.

These two facts together mean that the so-called debate over global warming is an illusion, a hoax conjured up by a handful of apostate scientists and a misguided and sometimes colluding media, aided and abetted by funding from fossil fuel companies and right wing foundations.

On the one side, we have a mountain of scientific evidence, on the other, ideology and arm-waving. On that basis, we are endangering our grandchildren’s future and pushing humanity toward the destruction of civilization.