Why Are Americans So Ill-Informed on the Topic of Climate Change?


Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Scientific Visualization Studio

Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Scientific Visualization Studio

Scientists and journalists debate why Americans still resist the consensus among research organizations that humans are warming the globe

As glaciers melt and island populations migrate from shores to escape rising seas, many scientists remain baffled as to why the research consensus on human-induced climate change remains contentious in the U.S.

The frustration revealed itself during a handful of sessions at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., this past weekend, and it came to a peak during a Friday session, “Science without borders and media unbounded.”

Near the session’s conclusion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate scientist Kerry Emanuel asked a panel of journalists why the media continues to cover anthropogenic climate change as a controversy or debate, when in fact it is a consensus among such organizations as the American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics, American Chemical Society, American Meteorological Association, National Research Council and the national academies of more than two dozen countries. …

Tom Rosensteil of the Project for Excellence in Journalism pointed the finger at the media, focusing on its overall contraction in the past two decades. Shrinking budgets have led to a proliferation of quick, cheap reporting, as well as discussion and commentary formats that rarely provide informative discussions of actual science results.

More (click here) Robin Lloyd, Scientific American

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3 Responses to Why Are Americans So Ill-Informed on the Topic of Climate Change?

  1. George Ennis says:

    This is one of the great ironies. There is a greater consensus by scientists in the evidence for AGW than there is in most other frontier areas of science and medicine.

  2. Christine says:

    Hi Alan –
    Did you see this article from the CBC? It’s good news, 80% of Canadians recognize that the science of climate change is credible. Now we just have to keep the pressure on the politicians, the majority of Canadians want action (despite all the deniers flooding the comment board):
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/02/22/pol-lunn-climate-survey.html

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