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James L. Powell

James Lawrence Powell (born July 17, 1936 in Berea, Kentucky) is an American geologist. He was the chairman of the geology department at Oberlin College from 1965 to 1973, and served as its provost from 1975 to 1981.[1] From 1983 to 1988, Powell was the president of Franklin and Marshall College.[2] He served as the president of Reed College from 1988 to 1991, after which he became the president of the Franklin Institute,[3][4] and has also served on the National Science Board for 12 years. He was formerly the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History,[2] and is currently the executive director of the National Physical Science Consortium.[5] The minor planet 9739 Powell, discovered by C. S. Shoemaker in 1987, is named after him.[6] In 2010, Powell wrote a book entitled Dead Pool, which detailed the history of water supply shortages in the Western United States.[7]

James Lawrence Powell
Born (1936-07-17) July 17, 1936 (age 81)
Berea, Kentucky
Alma mater Berea College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Scientific career
Fields Geology
Institutions Oberlin College, Reed College
Thesis The strontium isotopic composition and origin of carbonatites (1962)

In 2012, Powell conducted a survey of scientific papers regarding the topic of anthropogenic global warming by searching Web of Science for scientific papers published from 1991 to 2012. He identified 13,950 papers, but only 24 which argued that humans were not the primary cause of global warming.[8][9] He updated his survey in 2014 to include 2,258 studies published from November 12, 2012, to December 21, 2013, and identified only one study published during this time that argued that global warming was not caused by human activity.[10][11]

In 2015, Powell was elected a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.[12]

Peer-reviewed studies of the consensus on anthropogenic global warming

In his latest paper, a metastudy of the consensus among scientists on anthropogenic global warming, Powell reported that using rejection as the criterion, five surveys of the peer-reviewed literature from 1991 to 2015 combine to 54,195 articles with an average consensus of 99.94%.[13]


  1. ^ "Office of the Provost". Oberlin College. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Hernandez, Sandra (21 April 1994). "Natural History Museum Names New Head". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "James L. Powell". Reed College. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Anderson, Susan Heller (30 March 1991). "Chronicle". New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  5. ^ James L. Powell Bio
  6. ^ "(9739) Powell = 1987 SH7 = 1994 AS1". Minor Planet Center. IAU. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Boelte, Kyle (18 May 2009). "Western water in the age of climate change". High Country News. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Plait, Phil (11 December 2012). "Why Climate Change Denial Is Just Hot Air". Slate. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Sheppard, Kate (1 December 2012). "CHART: Only 0.17 Percent of Peer-Reviewed Papers Question Global Warming". Mother Jones. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Gertz, Emily (10 January 2014). "Infographic: Scientists Who Doubt Human-Caused Climate Change". Popular Science. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  11. ^ The study in question was: Avakyan, S. V. (2013). "The role of solar activity in global warming". Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 83 (3): 275. doi:10.1134/S1019331613030015. 
  12. ^ "Ten Distinguished Scientists and Scholars Named Fellows of Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI". Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  13. ^ Powell, James Lawrence (2017-05-24). "The Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Matters". Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. 36 (3): 157–163. doi:10.1177/0270467617707079. 

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