Early Climate Change Consensus at the National Academy: The Origins and Making of “Changing Climate”

By | July 26, 2010

For the Full Report in PDF Form, please click here.

[Illustrations, footnotes and references available in PDF version]

The 1983 National Academy of Sciences report entitled Changing Climate, authored by a committee of physical and social scientists chaired by William Nierenberg, was an early comprehensive review of the effects of human-caused increases in the levels of atmospheric CO2. Study of the events surrounding the committee’s creation, deliberations, and subsequent report demonstrates that the conclusions of the report were the consensus of the entire committee and in line with the scientific consensus of the time. This result contraverts a 2008 paper in which Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway, and Matthew Shindell asserted that the report contradicted a growing consensus about climate change, and that Nierenberg for political reasons deliberately altered the summary and conclusions of the report in a way that played down the concerns of the other physical scientists on the committee.