December 8, 2009

Do Americans Know Where Scientists Stand on Global Warming?

56%

While 84% of scientists say the earth is warming as a result of human activity, just 56% of Americans say scientists generally agree on the issue.

An overwhelming number of scientists (84%) say the earth is warming because of human activity, while just 4% of scientists say there is no solid evidence the earth is warming. Yet only 56% of Americans say that scientists agree that global warming is real and man-made. More than a third (35%) say scientists have not reached a consensus on climate change. The public’s perception of where the scientific community stands on climate change is tied to their own opinions on the issue. In a July Pew Research survey, about half the public (49%) said human activity is creating global warming. (It should be noted that an October Pew Research survey found far fewer Americans seeing solid evidence that humans are causing global warming.) Among this group, three-quarters (76%) said that scientists have reached a consensus on climate change and its cause. Among the 36% of Americans who said global warming is real but due to natural causes just 41% said there was a scientific consensus on the issue. And among those who said there is no evidence of climate change (11% of the public) a strong majority (68%) said there is no agreement among scientists on global warming. About one-in-five global warming skeptics (22%) say there is scientific agreement that human activity is causing climate change. Read More