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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

97 Percent, 97 Hours, 97 Climate Scientists

By Phil Plait

Global warming is real. Climate change is occurring faster than any time in recorded history. Humans dumping carbon dioxide into the air is to blame.

In the scientific community, those statements are not controversial at all. A solid 97 percent of climate scientists doing active research into the matter agree on them.

Politically, though, it’s a different story. Only about half the American public understand global warming is man-made, and only a fraction of them know that there is overwhelming scientific consensus on it.

To raise both ratios, the wonderful website Skeptical Science has started a great campaign: “97 Hours of Consensus.” Every hour, for just over four days, a cartoon caricature of a different climate scientist will be posted along with a short, pithy quotation about the current understanding on global warming. The campaign started Sunday morning (Sept. 7), so it’s well along now. It started with Dr. Michael Mann, creator of the Hockey Stick graph showing that sudden warming is recent and catastrophic:

There are entries for noted and outspoken scientists Katharine Hayhoe,* Marshall Shepherd, and Peter Gleick, and more are coming. A lot more.

The images are free to use under Creative Commons, so I suggest doing so. Spread them far and wide. Get the word out: The science is in, and the temperature is up. We must get people to understand it …  especially in an election year.

Update, Sept. 10, 2014, at 3:30 UTC: In the third paragraph, I originally wrote, "Only about half the American public think global warming is man-made." It was pointed out to me that this is not the best way to phrase it, and I agree, so I changed "think" to "understand."

*Correction, Sept. 10, 2014: This post originally misspelled the first name of Katharine Hayhoe.

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