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Published on February 26th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Climate Change: What Percentage of Scientists, Climate Scientists and the General Public Believe in It?

February 26th, 2010 by  

Climate change or global weirding is the number one environmental issue guiding clean tech these days. Although we generally write on clean tech itself, rather than climate change, from time to time (due to the continual efforts of climate change deniers or disinformers to sway the media and the public) we occasionally put something on here regarding climate change itself.


One issue that keeps arising lately is if scientists outside of a small, conspiring group of money-driven climate scientists really trust the science of climate change. Of course, this is a bit of a ridiculous concern. The overarching National Academy of Sciences has already validated key climate change research and findings after thorough, independent analysis. The Union of Concerned Scientists, which consists of about 250,000 members, has been coming out very strongly saying that we need to get serious and address this true, proven issue of climate change. And, very recently, a panel of truly world-leading, eminent scientists from the US and Europe have confirmed “the widespread scientific consensus that the Earth’s climate is warming due to human activities.”

Nonetheless, I just ran across a couple of polls (Gallup and Pew) that include the different views of scientists, climate scientists and the general public regarding climate change and it seemed like something worth writing about. It is clear that the public are fairly torn on the most critical climate change topics these days (i.e. if climate change is occurring, if it is man-made, if it is a serious concern), despite the fact that the experts are quite convinced of these things and they are, well,… the experts.

I read about climate change on a variety of sites everyday. With all the issues there are to address, it is a real shame that we still have to fight this part of the battle. The bottom line, shown below, is that those trained in scientific analysis and research, and especially those trained in scientific analysis and research of the climate, are much more concerned about climate change than the general public and much more adamant that we need to do something about it now.

The chart above, from the Pew Research Center, shows clear differences in perception between scientists and the public. According to its survey, 49% of the public believe that global warming is due to human activity, whereas 84% of all scientists do.

Another similar poll by Gallup from January of last year found that 77% of non-publishing, non-climatological Earth Scientists and 97% of publishing Climatologists believed in human-driven climate change.

Supporters of dirty coal and oil will continue to spread misinformation until they are dead, it seems, but the scientists are not being fooled. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for the general public yet.

Image Credit: Yasin Hassan – ( ياسين حسن ) via flickr under a CC license 


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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