Pew: Most Americans Don’t Believe in ‘Scientific Consensus’ on Climate Change

By Lauretta Brown | October 4, 2016 | 1:34pm EDT
FILE - In this Tuesday Aug, 16, 2005 file photo an iceberg melts in Kulusuk, Greenland near the arctic circle. (AP Photo/John McConnico, File)

(CNSNews.com) – Nearly three-quarters of Americans don’t trust that there is a large “scientific consensus” amongst climate scientists on human behavior being the cause of climate change, according to an in-depth survey on “the politics of climate” released Tuesday by Pew Research Center.

According to the survey, only 27 percent of Americans agree that “almost all” climate scientists say that human behavior is mostly responsible for climate change, while 35 percent say that “more than half” of climate scientists agree on this. An additional 35 percent of those surveyed say that fewer than half (20%) or almost no (15%) climate scientists believe that human behavior is the main contributing factor in climate change.

Pew contrasted this to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which “stated in the forward to its 2013 report, ‘the science now shows with 95 percent certainty that human activity is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century.’”

Additionally, Americans were skeptical about the expertise of climate scientists.

Just 33 percent of those surveyed said that climate scientists understand “very well” whether global climate change is happening, another 39 percent said climate scientists understand this “fairly well.” Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed say climate scientists don’t understand this “too well” or don’t understand it at all.

When it comes to the causes of global climate change only 28 percent say climate scientists understand them “very well” while 31 percent say the scientists understand them “not too well” or “not at all.”

Additionally, Americans seemed to lack trust in climate scientists’ solutions to climate change. Only 19 percent say climate scientists understand very well the best ways to address climate change, and 35 percent say the scientists understand this not too well or not at all.

Americans also don’t trust the news media’s coverage of climate change. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed say the media does a “good job” covering global climate change, while 51% say they do a “bad job.”

Thirty-five percent of Americans say the media “exaggerate the threat of climate change,” and 42 percent say the media “don’t take the threat of climate change seriously enough.” Just 20 percent say the media are “about right in their reporting.”

Overall, Pew noted that few Americans - only 11 percent - follow news about climate change “very closely.”

The findings in the Pew report are “based on a nationally representative survey of 1,534 U.S. adults conducted May 10 - June 6, 2016.”

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