Climate change denial in decline? SciAm study points to that possibility

A recent survey conducted by Scientific American on a range of issues notes that climate change scepticism may be in decline:

“…Numerous polls show a decline in the percentage of Americans who believe humans affect climate, but our survey suggests the nation is not among the worst deniers. (Those are France, Japan and Australia.) Attitudes, however, may be shifting the other way. Among those respondents who have changed their opinions in the past year, three times more said they are more certain than less certain that humans are changing the climate.”

 Are things swinging towards a greater acceptance of climate change?  

The survey asked the following question: “Over the past year, have your views on climate altered in any way?”  

The figures for Australia are as follows:  

  • My views have not changed – 49%
  • I am more doubtful that human activity is changing the climate – 37%
  • I am more certain humans are changing the climate – 14%  

Of those changing their minds, more people are accepting the science.  

Which indicates, that despite all the sound-and-fury of the denial movement they are losing.

However, the survey conducted polled SciAm readers, as science friendly sample as you are going to get:

“…Scientific American partnered with our sister publication, Nature, the international journal of science, to poll readers online. More than 21,000 people responded via the Web sites of Nature and of Scientific American and its international editions. As expected, it was a supportive and science-literate crowd—19 percent identified themselves as Ph.Ds. But attitudes differed widely depending on particular issues—climate, evolution, technology—and on whether respondents live in the U.S., Europe or Asia.”

Still, interesting.  

I’ve been saying that climate change denial is entering it’s own death spiral in response to real world events.  

Time will tell.  

[Hat tip: Pharyngula]


8 thoughts on “Climate change denial in decline? SciAm study points to that possibility

  1. I’ve noticed that the recent energetic denial movement rose fell with “Climategate” saga. Increasingly, denialists are simply coming across as attention seeking individuals willing to say the silliest statements to get noticed.

    I’m concerned (but not altogether too surprised) that Australia is particularly bad for denial – I didn’t realise that it was so bad here (but I’m also a little stunned that Australian’s are considered quite conservative – especially South Aussies – but maybe that’s the result of my circles).

  2. adelady says:

    Can’t say I’m surprised, moth. I’m a lot older than you and my mum is older again. The common attitude is that Australia has a tough climate – we’ve had droughts, fires, floods always. And a “recent” survey of Australians is during a year when we’ve had near ‘normal’ rains in many areas. Feeling cheerfully optimistic about the best growing season in years makes for short memories.

    What do you think the responses would have been a few weeks after the 2009 heatwave? Most people ignore scientific stuff until it’s shoved under their noses.

  3. I grew up in a rural environment and was surrounded by the ‘hard yakka’ attitude.. I’ve always admired it.
    But like I said, I’m somewhat concerned, althought not too surprised, that we’re a nation of deniers. I guess, I’ve been surrounded by more progressive people and didn’t think we were so backwards – but yeah, S.A. is quite bad for being conservative and slow to adopt improvement. Seems strange – as you state Adelady, with the recent heatwave – for a start under a major boom-or-bust environment, you’d think it’d be more open to new ways of thinking just to survive!

  4. Joel says:

    You’ve got the figures for Australia around the wrong way (the discussion is correct, but you’ve printed 37% as being more doubtful).

  5. adelady says:

    Come to think of it, this was a survey among readers of science journals.

    Is this a case of Aussies wanting to stand out as rugged individualists or do we have more non-scientists reading these journals than we might expect? And are their disciplines inclined towards sceptic or denialist attitudes? I doubt it as a general proposition although there are obviously individual faculties with strong views from professors. It all seems way too simplistic to me.

    I can’t imagine people involved with water or climate or ocean issues being more doubtful. So who is?

  6. klem says:

    “Which indicates, that despite all the sound-and-fury of the denial movement they are losing”

    So what? Cap&Trade in the US is dead, that was the goal and the goal has been achieved. There is no way that Cap&Tarde will be revisited for many years, the public is saturated and they don’t want to hear about it anymore. So perhaps the deniers are losing now, but the war is already won.

    Cap&trade is dead. Cheers!

    • Tim says:

      Cap and trade was a dumb idea to begin with – developed by idiots to score an easy buck rather than to promote innovation and to lessen our addiction to a finite resource.

      If you truly think that crushing/promoting cap and trade was the root of all this climate debate nonsense, you expose the irrational core of your denial and I feel sorry for you. You’ve been led down a rabbit hole which sets us up for a bigger fall than this petty “cap and trade war” ever could.

      I was as much against cap and trade, but supported the weight of evidence behind anthropogenic climate change. Apart from that, energy, food and water security are at risk over the coming century with business-as-usual and extinction rates are well above background levels – which also will increasingly put stress on our own species with ever increasing loss of ecological services….

      But you’ve no doubt heard all this before and must therefore shrug it off. Maybe your continuous smug retorts to most of Mike’s posts are nothing more than attention-fishing.

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