The US public perception of the climate debate

August 21, 2017: Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Americans think that climate scientists understand the causes of global climate change “very well.” A Pew Research study found that only 19% believe that the climate scientists have a very good understanding of the best ways to address the issue.[1]

In general, the study found that Americans trust climate scientists more than politicians on the topic. Two-thirds (67%) believe scientists should play a major role in addressing policy issues on the matter. Most (56%) also believe that energy industry leaders (56%) and the general public (56%) should have a major say in such policy topics.

The Pew study, however, also found that people believe there are differences of opinion among the climate scientists. Only 27% believe that there is a consensus on the issue and that just about all climate scientists believe human behavior is mostly responsible for global climate change.

Thirty-six percent (36%) believe that, most of the time, scientists’ research findings are motivated by a desire to advance their own careers. Only 32% say that they mostly rely on the best scientific evidence. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe that political views of the scientists generally influence their work.

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38 Responses to The US public perception of the climate debate

  1. stackja

    Climate science not settled?

  2. Nerblnob

    There is no nation I visit on my travels that has swallowed the Global Warming argument more wholly and gullibly than Australia. And no nation that has more to lose by doing so.

  3. John

    what a confusing poll! its hard to tell what people are thinking from this. but its certainly not pro consensus.

  4. iain russell

    More or less in this vein, I note that BoBo Australia’s favourite Climate Scientologist, Flim Flannery, is back on [you guessed it!] the ABC, spruking the cause of seaweed. What a man! Everything he touches turns to dross – hot rocks, desal plants, rain – but Dr Flim, for a Doctor of long dead thingies he is, still remains supreme on Their ABC.

  5. There is no such thing as a “climate scientist”.

  6. Up The Workers!

    Dr Flim Flannery got his Ph.D. in the field of mammalian coprolites – (i.e. fossilised dinosaur poo, for the prosaic).

    Absolutely NOBODY in Australia speaks crap with greater academic authority than he does!

  7. We will never see these poll results in the MSM, they’ll never be discussed debated or critiqued.
    Even if we did, even if 99% of the people don’t think CO2 is a major problem, politicians will still pursue wealth transfer scams under the guise of ‘reducing pollution’.
    That’s the important language we (skeptics) lost. I’ll bet a poll would show a large majority of people believe “carbon” is a pollution and something should be done about it.
    That something might be a useless battery set-up by a carpetbagging son of a slut, but who outside of SA really cares, doesn’t effect them.
    Who cares about wind farms? Only the few who live nearby wind farms. In fact many people who drive past wind farms as tourists think they look amazing.

    The science DOES NOT MATTER as much as one would think it does. The scam is the same old “from the many a little, to the few much” carpet bagging playbook.

    The science is (on the surface) quite simple. CO2 emitted by human activity is irrelevant for climate purposes at this stage of Earths life. What matters to climate is WATER…H2O… in all its forms.
    H2O is 4 times more powerful as a radiant, and 25 times more plentiful in the atmosphere and has an endless reservoir to draw from called the oceans.
    Where water is plentiful, the diurnal temperature range narrows, and where water is lacking, diurnal temperature range widens. ANYBODY CAN CHECK THIS FOR THEMSELVES in less than an hour. Just research temperature ranges of places along the same latitude (receives the same power from the Sun) but with different levels of water in the atmosphere.

    One can go elsewhere in the solar system and see that VENUS, A REAL GREENHOUSE PLANET has a diurnal temperature range of just 4 degrees, EVEN THOUGH ONE SIDE NEVER EVER FACES THE SUN. Our Moon receives about the same level of Sun power as we do here on Earth, yet its temperature varies from above boiling point of water, to below freezing not seen anywhere on Earth, not even in the Antarctic.

    THE SCIENCE IS IRRELEVANT, the politics is everything.
    /End rant

  8. Helen

    Good to see the level of alt facts up to its usual standard here. Flannery’s PhD was not on dinosaur s**t but on the evolution of kangaroos. Of course if you really want it to have been on coprolites, then of course the alt truth is that it really was.
    The serious point here is that if you want to challenge climate change theories as not based on reliable data, then it might just be an idea not to base your own case on false data and sophistry (false argument).

  9. .

    LOL?

    Really Helen? You insufferable dickhead.

    In October 2006 Flannery said, there may be, “no Arctic icecap in the next five to 15 years […] with the ocean [possibly to eventually] rise by six metres”.

  10. egg_

    More or less in this vein, I note that BoBo Australia’s favourite Climate Scientologist, Flim Flannery, is back on [you guessed it!] the ABC, spruking the cause of seaweed. What a man! Everything he touches turns to dross – hot rocks, desal plants, rain – but Dr Flim, for a Doctor of long dead thingies he is, still remains supreme on Their ABC.

    Still got his seaside digs, hypocrite?
    Australia’s Chief Scientist Wrongologist is about to fvck up the seaweed market, like he has everything else he’s touched?

  11. Andrew M.

    Trumpclipse:

    Mr Trump took the advice of the concerned crowd member before too long, and slipped on his protective glasses for a look. But a few seconds of the president looking up without his glasses was all social media needed

    They then show video in which DJT indeed looks at the sun… for about one second. Melania Trump also looks at the sun for about one second without filter glasses. But of course DJT is singled out as the idiot.

    MSM standard operating procedure.

  12. RobK

    Flannery’s seaweed Catalyst show had more rhetoric and hyperbole than a federal election campaign. He was really excited and positive; about a pay cheque I expect.

  13. Bruce of Newcastle

    The serious point here is that if you want to challenge climate change theories as not based on reliable data, then it might just be an idea not to base your own case on false data and sophistry (false argument).

    Helen – The hypothesis that CO2 and humans are exclusively driving temperature is amazing hubris. It makes sense that there are a number of variables controlling climate. The job of scientists such as you and I is to work out what they are and how significant they are.

    As it happens there are two main drivers of the directly measured temperature record: the Sun and the oceans. The former was responsible for about half the warming last century. The latter caused about a third due to the choice of the endpoints of the model validation period the IPCC uses for their ensemble models. If they had chosen 1880 instead of 1905 to commence the period they’d have reduced the temperature rise to about 0.5 C over 125 years instead of 0.75 C over 100 years. It is clear as crystal that there is a cycle of ~60 years, yet the IPCC refuses to accept it. That is a large tell.

    As to CO2, the empirically measured values of ECS (eg my own HadCET analysis and Dr Marohasy’s paper this month) show it to be less than 1 C/doubling, which is consistent with it being responsible for no more than that remaining one sixth of the temperature rise last century. Harmless.

    So yes by all means pick up some blogger’s satirical description of Dr Flannery and criticise him for not talking about the science. Well here is some science. Would you like to talk about it or not?

  14. bobby b

    As a resident of the quite cold State of Minnesota in the USA – tucked in just south of the Canadian border – I want to ask one question:

    Where’s the damned global warming they promised me?

    We’ve been burning charcoal, idling our cars for hours at a time, cutting down trees – putting as much CO2 into the air as we can – and it just gets colder every year.

    Those poor dears on their tropical paradise islands who might see an inch more of warm water encroaching on their beaches can go suck eggs. I bet they never have to go out on the deck and scrape up the dog after he lies down and freezes to it. I bet they can fish without having to drill through two feet of ice. I bet they don’t have to drive for five miles before the flat spots that are frozen onto the bottom of their tires thaw out and stop thumping down the road. Global warming? Cry me a river, if you can find one that’s not frozen!

    (Even if AGW were truly a threat – which, sadly, I don’t believe – Bjorn Lomborg and others have made a very good case that the overall effect of it on humanity would be positive.)

  15. Herodotus

    Well said Bruce.
    Where do most of the public get their information? Not from sound, truly science based commentators.
    Most people get brainwashed by a combination of MSM airheads and professional misleaders. They are still capable of running that old adage that most scientists agree about AGW.

    So what value is any poll of these pillowheads? It is encouraging that there’s a significant number who reject the hyperbole. This would be a higher percentage if the MSM and the professional chicken littles were made to promulgate Bruce’s statements and those of other sensible scientists.

  16. Ainsley Hayes

    What a great comment, bobby brrr, resident of the quite cold. ‘Dog-scraping’, now there’s a vivid image.

  17. incoherent rambler

    Where do most of the public get their information?

    Where do most scientists get their data?

    1C/century as an assertion is laughable, given a) the data fudging b) the measurement error range

  18. Empire GTHO Phase III

    The serious point here is that if you want to challenge climate change theories as not based on reliable data, then it might just be an idea not to base your own case on false data and sophistry (false argument).

    The leftistry is all yours. The onus is on catastropharians to prove their hypothesis. You haven’t.

  19. 132andBush

    Pretty telling how Helen uses the latest buzzword “alt”.

    Attempting to smear by association.

  20. H B Bear

    Flim Flannery knows the ALPBC’s door will always be open and a warm welcome assured for a fellow traveller.

  21. Up The Workers!

    A “Climate Scientist” is like a “Labor(sic) finker”.

    Not so much an “Oxy-Moron”, as a “Carbon-Moron”.

  22. Crossie

    There is no nation I visit on my travels that has swallowed the Global Warming argument more wholly and gullibly than Australia. And no nation that has more to lose by doing so.

    The whole of Europe has swallowed the climate change dribble, even in small villages they spout his rubbish. You would think farmers would be more resistant to newspeak especially the ones not receiving subsidies.

  23. Eyrie

    Climate science is alt-science.

  24. Roger

    Thirty-six percent (36%) believe that, most of the time, scientists’ research findings are motivated by a desire to advance their own careers.

    Publish or perish.

  25. MACK

    Interesting survey of science attitudes in Australia, with the climate change attitudes buried in this report at the Con. https://theconversation.com/science-is-important-but-moves-too-fast-five-charts-on-how-australians-view-science-and-scientists-82752
    However the actual data show that of the 80% of Australians who believe the Earth is clearly warming, only just more than half believe this is primarily due to human activities. So by subtraction, 20% don’t believe it is warming at all, and another 40% don’t believe humans are the main contributors. Consequently the entire campaign has only convinced about 40% of people. 60% remain unconvinced. Prime Minister, please take note.

  26. incoherent rambler

    The whole of Europe has swallowed the climate change dribble …

    Parisians seem to have. They are convinced that they are all gonna fry.

  27. Rafe Champion

    I strongly object to the rudeness that some people think is OK to use in reply to Helen.

    Do you think it makes you look clever?

    I don’t agree with her on some points but that is another story.

  28. .

    Rafe, Flannery can eat his words. Six-metre sea level rise and no polar ice caps. He has three and half years for this utter nonsense to come true. Can you honestly see 1.7 m per year sea level rises to 2021?

    Look out the window. Do you still see most of lower neutral bay or is it underwater?

    These people are crackpots with no credibility, they don’t give a damn about science, Bruce showed what the experimental results were. At worst CO2 forcing makes 1/6 of temperature forcings and half of that if you consider cointegrated variables.

    I don’t think “Helen” is going to come back and talk about cointegration, do you?

    IR is right about the data. It is so utterly compromised that any alleged deleterious effects are insignificant to data fraud and measurement error.

    At least by 2030, we can dismiss these idiots entirely when all of their apocalyptic nonsense passes for naught.

  29. Kneel

    Ok Rafe, try these then:
    https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Screenshot-2016-01-02-at-01.07.45-PM.png

    Which shows adjustments bias the trend upwards, and

    https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2016-01-14-04-18-24.png

    Which shows the correlation between CO2 and temperature adjustments.

    How can anyone ignore either of these, or say they don’t matter to the science?

  30. herodotus

    Good to see the level of alt facts up to its usual standard here.
    If you want a discussion under Rafe’s Marquis Rules, best kick it off with something less abrasive.

  31. Mark M

    THE AUSTRALIAN BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS SCIENCE SURVEY
    AUGUST 2017

    Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science

    > Eighty per cent believe there is solid evidence the world has been warming the last few decades, with more than half of these people saying this is because of human activity
    (The US equivalent is 46%).

    http://www.science.gov.au/community/Documents/REPORT-SCAPA172001-CPAS-poll.pdf

  32. Mark M

    Even Australia’s leading ‘progressive’ thinker Robert Manne disagrees with ANCfPAoS:

    “There are two kinds of political people in today’s world: a minority who believe that climate change is the most consequential problem humans now face or have ever faced, and a majority for whom, for one reason or another, the penny has not dropped.

    https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2016/december/1480510800/robert-manne/malcolm-turnbull-brief-lament

  33. incoherent rambler

    At least by 2030, we can dismiss these idiots entirely when all of their apocalyptic nonsense passes for naught.

    Pretty sure I won’t be here in 2030. So please dot, just for me, sink the steel capped boot into every ‘climate scientist’ that falls.

  34. Sydney Boy

    Climate scientists are clever – or their political masters are. Previously, climate scientists claimed that we had to keep global warming under 2 degrees or it would be TEOTWAWKI. Now they are saying it must be under 1.5 degrees. So when the world fails to reach the 2 degree mark, they can all pat themselves on the back and tell each other what a good job they did with carbon taxes and renewable subsidies and that those initiatives managed to save the world and keep the global increase to a manageable level.

  35. Rafe Champion

    Thanks Mark M the report on the science survey deserves a post of its own, I may do so or put it in the next Roundup.

    Off topic and another item for Roundup.

    Germans pay half a Bil to shut down some windmills to save the network.

    The country’s trendy and ineffective energy policy already forced payments to wind farms in the amount of $548 million last year to switch off, which prevented additional damage to the electric grid

  36. egg_

    1C/century as an assertion is laughable, given a) the data fudging b) the measurement error range

    No wonder James Hansen’s dropped it like a dead duck.

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