You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.


There is more to group’s climate survey than what was noted

On Dec. 4, Jeff Jacoby wrote an op-ed column titled “Majority rules on climate science?” The truth is, science rules on climate science.

Jacoby selects a single result to represent findings from a survey of the scientific community making up the American Meteorological Society, saying, “Only a bare majority, 52 percent, said that climate change is largely being driven by human activity.” As a co-author of the survey, and as executive director of the organization, I am concerned that Globe readers may have gotten the wrong impression of what we found.

Continue reading below

In reporting this single value, Jacoby left out the other survey response options that allowed respondents to express varying levels of certainty. These other options represented a significant fraction of the responses. Only 4 percent of respondents said that global warming was not happening, and only 5 percent are convinced that global warming over the past 150 years is due mostly to natural causes.

Jacoby also did not mention that the survey showed 93 percent of actively publishing climate scientists indicated that they are convinced that humans have contributed to global warming. This is consistent with prior studies’ findings that the climate science community is in agreement that humans are largely responsible for the climate change we have seen in recent decades.

Jacoby is correct that science is not settled by majority vote. As the scientific evidence mounts, however, it is natural for scientific consensus to emerge. Our study explored issues surrounding that emerging consensus.

Keith Seitter

Executive director

American Meteorological



Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of