Why Are Americans So Ill-Informed about Climate Change?

April 18, 2011 • Climate Change & Mitigation, United States, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Ross McCluney for this article from Scientific American.  See http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-are-americans-so-ill

Why Are Americans So Ill-Informed about Climate Change?

Scientists and journalists debate why Americans still resist the consensus among research organizations that humans are warming the globe

By Robin Lloyd | February 23, 2011

As glaciers melt and island populations retreat from their coastlines to escape rising seas, many scientists remain baffled as to why the global research consensus on human-induced climate change remains contentious in the U.S.

The frustration revealed itself during a handful of sessions at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., this past weekend, coming to a peak during a Friday session, “Science without Borders and Media Unbounded”.

Near the forum’s conclusion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate scientist Kerry Emanuel asked a panel of journalists why the media continues to cover anthropogenic climate change as a controversy or debate, when in fact it is a consensus among such organizations as the American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics, American Chemical Society, American Meteorological Association and the National Research Council, along with the national academies of more than two dozen countries.

“You haven’t persuaded the public,” replied Elizabeth Shogren of National Public Radio. Emanuel immediately countered, smiling and pointing at Shogren, “No, you haven’t.” Scattered applause followed in the audience of mostly scientists, with one heckler saying, “That’s right. Kerry said it.”

Such a tone of searching bewilderment typified a handful of sessions that dealt with the struggle to motivate Americans on the topic of climate change. Only 35 percent of Americans see climate change as a serious problem, according to a 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

It’s a given that an organized and well-funded campaign has led efforts to confuse the public regarding the consensus around anthropogenic climate change.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-are-americans-so-ill

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