As Election Draws Near, Public Unsure On Climate Issues

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With Donald Trump calling for “clean coal” and Hillary Clinton boasting of a clean energy superpower, Ken Bone’s desire for answers on climate change, energy policy, and the future of coal-miners is looking a little cloudy. Recent polling from Pew Research has only clarified what many of us had suspected, however, which is that the American public doesn’t know the back-end of climate science from a donkey.

Recent polling done by the Pew Research Center investigated the American public’s view on climate scientists. About the only hopeful takeaway from the results is that 67% of US adults believe that climate scientists “should have a major role in policy decisions” — and even that is unsurprisingly an opinion that is up for debate between the various shades of political fervor currently occupying the American political landscape.

As seen in the graph below, while a ‘majority’ of America might believe in the involvement of climate scientists in future policy decisions, their faith in the climate scientists themselves is distressingly absent.

Trust in climate scientists is low among Republicans; considerably higher among liberal Democrats

The wildly varying views based on political preferences shown above reveals a worrying trend — that Americans are more willing to take their scientific advice from laypeople, rather than the scientists themselves. As Pew Research explained:

“There are also major divides in the way partisans interpret the current scientific discussion over climate, with the political left and right having vastly divergent perceptions of modern scientific consensus, differing levels of trust in the information they get from professional researchers, and different views as to whether it is the quest for knowledge or the quest for professional advancement that drives climate scientists in their work.”

Thankfully, there is some leeway in the numbers. Pew Research points out that 36% of Americans are personally concerned about climate issues, and, regardless of their political leaning, “are much more likely to see climate science as settled.”

Unfortunately, these polling results are all representative of views held during polling, which was conducted during May 10 and June 6 of this year — meaning, as the US Presidential campaign has heated up, views on climate change, and the role of climate scientists may have spiraled even more towards their party preferences.


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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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