In a May 31 letter, Mr. Bob Lowth contends that "Ms. McDonnell should realize that the 97 percent figure that all scientists agree that global warming is here was a facetious comment made by one of the "wunderkinds" at the AP ... In reality you couldn't get 97 percent of scientists to agree on when Mother's Day is to be celebrated." He's got it wrong, with skepticism likely originating with sources shielding the energy sector.
The 97 percent figure was likely from a paper that reviewed the scientific publications of 1,372 active climate scientists. Another study of over 11,000 published papers found that of the ones that took a position, 97 percent agreed that humans are warming the planet. That paper also delved into the idea that without agreement we are unlikely to take action.
The Mother's Day comment is unsupported. We know that scientists are in high agreement on well-studied topics with dissension present at the edges, as with man-made climate change research. Statements like that feed the opinions of the 49 percent of people who don't accept climate change and object to common-sense measures to slow the problem.
Americans, responsible for 5 percent of the world's population and 22 percent of the world's carbon emissions, need to understand this topic clearly. Both NASA and NOAA conclude that climate change is happening and is likely caused by man, through carbon emissions and deforestation.
Historic climate change has occurred due to understandable causes, such as atmospheric or solar changes. Average global temperatures have increased more than 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century and the correlation is to the industrial age and deforestation. It does not seem like a lot, and is even welcome in our climate, but it shifts the ecosystem out of balance with serious consequences.