18 May 2013
My friend John Cook, (an Australian Physicist who runs the superb website Skeptical Science) is the lead author of a paper in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters that has gotten worldwide attention this past week. Not because the findings are a surprise to the science community, but because the public is surprised!
THE GREAT AMERICAN DISCONNECT
Dr. Ed Maibach at the George Mason University Center for Climate Change knows exactly how bug a disconnect exists between science and the public on this issue. His latest research shows “that since Fall 2012, the percentage of Americans who believe global warming is happening has dropped 7 points to 63%, likely influenced by the relatively cold winter of 2012-13 and an unusually cold March just before the survey was conducted. About half of Americans (49%) believe global warming – if it is happening – is caused mostly by human activities, a decrease of 5 points since Fall 2012, but similar to levels stretching back several years”.
John Cook’s study is open access, and you can read it by clicking the image below.
You do not often write a peer-reviewed paper that gets a re-tweet from the President of The United States, but John did!
The NY Times has an editorial on the subject in Sunday’s paper. What we do about climate change is a political question, but the reality of it is no longer even a scientific one. This research makes the recent editorials in Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal look as ridiculous and laughable as they truly are. I suspect that much of the skepticism that lingers in the U.S. is due to the poor journalistic practice of false balance, and to Murdoch owned news outlets (and others) which have an abysmal record of getting science stories correct.