Scientists nearly unanimous on climate change; public not getting the message
By Summit Voice
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SUMMIT COUNTY — A long-running propaganda campaign to cast doubt on climate science has apparently worked to some degree.
On the one hand, there is near unanimous agreement among climate scientists that human-caused global warming is happening. But George Mason University researchers recently discovered that there is still a high degree of public confusion about the level of agreement among researchers.
About two-thirds of the respondents in a national survey said they either believed there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening (45 percent), that most scientists think it is not happening (5 percent), or that they did not know enough to say (16 percent). These respondents were less likely to support climate change policies and to view climate change as a lower priority.
The study was conducted by researchers at George Mason, San Diego State, and Yale universities and published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
“It is no accident that so many Americans misunderstand the widespread scientific agreement about human-caused climate change. A well-financed disinformation campaign deliberately created a myth about there being lack of agreement. The climate science community should take all reasonable measures to put this myth to rest,” said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.
People who believe there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about global warming tend to be less certain that global warming is happening and less supportive of climate policy, researchers at George Mason, San Diego State, and Yale Universities report in a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
By contrast, survey respondents who correctly understood that there is widespread agreement about global warming among scientists were themselves more certain that it is happening, and were more supportive of climate policies.
“Misunderstanding the extent of scientific agreement about climate change is important because it undermines people’s certainty that climate change is happening, which in turn reduces their conviction that America should find ways to deal with the problem,” Maibach, concluded.