by Denteslski et al. , Nov 2023 in MDPI/Springer
Anthropogenic activity is considered a central driver of current climate change. A recent paper, studying the consensus regarding the hypothesis that the recent increase in global temperature is predominantly human-made via the emission of greenhouse gasses (see text for reference), argued that the scientific consensus in the peer-reviewed scientific literature pertaining to this hypothesis exceeds 99%. This conclusion was reached after the authors scanned the abstracts and titles of some 3000 papers and mapped them according to their (abstract) statements regarding the above hypothesis. Here, we point out some major flaws in the methodology, analysis, and conclusions of the study. Using the data provided in the study, we show that the 99% consensus, as defined by the authors, is actually an upper limit evaluation because of the large number of “neutral” papers which were counted as pro-consensus in the paper and probably does not reflect the true situation. We further analyze these results by evaluating how so-called “skeptic” papers fit the consensus and find that biases in the literature, which were not accounted for in the aforementioned study, may place the consensus on the low side. Finally, we show that the rating method used in the study suffers from a subjective bias which is reflected in large variations between ratings of the same paper by different raters. All these lead to the conclusion that the conclusions of the study does not follow from the data.