Here's a line that's worth repeating: "The vast majority of climate scientists agree that human-caused global warming is happening." Because while you, a regular reader, may be familiar with this fact, many Americans still aren't. In fact, survey results show that almost every other American doesn't know the truth: The scientific community overwhelmingly acknowledges the reality of climate change!
Why does this matter so much? A new study finds that people are less likely to say climate change is happening, and that humans are causing it, if they erroneously believe that experts haven't agreed on the science. Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who think along these lines are less likely to support policies to address climate change.
After reading this study, I thought it might be worthwhile to outline just how one-sided the climate change debate really is within the scientific community. So here it goes:
According to a recent survey, 97% of top climate scientists (those who have published 20 peer-reviewed papers or more) agree that our climate is changing due to human activities. Moreover, the study found that the few dissenters had substantially less experience than those who were convinced.
And many other peer-reviewed studies have turned up very similar results. One even concluded: "The debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes."
On top of all these survey results, the National Academy of Sciences and many other national academies of science from around the world have repeatedly asserted that manmade climate change is happening and poses real threats.
So why, given this high degree of consensus among scientists, is there still doubt in the public's mind?
As Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, explains: "A well-financed disinformation campaign deliberately created a myth about there being lack of agreement." This myth has made its way to the American public via the media -- through stations that spotlight less-than-credible experts (like weathermen posing as climate change researchers) and journalists who try to tell a "balanced" story by giving the denier minority and the scientific majority an equal voice.
Such coverage is problematic because it tricks the public into thinking that the experts are still debating the climate change basics, when really, the consensus on climate change is exceptionally solid. As a former editor-in-chief of Science described over 10 years ago, "Consensus as strong as the one that has developed around this topic is rare in science."
So, climate realists, how can we better spread the word about where the vast majority of experts stand? How can we do our part to help correct this widespread public misconception? Leave a comment and let us know.
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