Monday, March 18, 2013

What is the most persuasive evidence for climate change efficacy?

By Joe Munoz




     In the debate regarding climate change, the quest for the most convincing bits of evidence is often akin to the quest for the “holy grail”. The two sides of the discussion work to persuade others to come across the aisle, to either fully embrace the idea of anthropogenic climate change or deny it. Regardless of the side of the debate, most individuals are concerned with the act of persuasion and not simply digging up evidence. This begs the question: which evidence or other piece of information is most persuasive, from either perspective.

     One article took this question on and found that out of a sample of climate skeptics, out of those swayed, the consensus of scientific professionals was attributed as being the most persuasive. To clarify, the idea that the majority of climate scientists agree about the concept of anthropogenic climate change: that human-environment interaction is the leading cause of global climate change. The article used an estimate from research, claiming that roughly 99 out of 100 climate scientists agree on this matter (Andregg et al., 2009).

     There has been some debate over this number, with a couple studies citing possible inaccuracies. Hypothesized corrections, however, range no lower than 90% of climate scientists in agreement at the highest level of opposition. This is an important statistic as it may prove to be vastly more persuasive than other overwhelming, but potentially more complicated, evidence.


Sources:

Andregg, W., Prall, J., Harold, J., Schneider, S. (2010, September). Expert Credibility on Climate Change. Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.full.pdf

http://news.yahoo.com/climate-skeptics-swayed-consensus-not-evidence-233150461.html

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