Scientific American Global Warming Poll Shows Readers Are Skeptical

Published November 27, 2010

Readers of the Scientific American Web site overwhelmingly believe humans are not causing a global warming crisis, according to a poll posted on October 25.

Readers: Warming’s Not Manmade
Within an article explaining how Dr. Judith Curry, professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is becoming increasingly critical of United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) procedures and findings, Scientific American invited readers to participate in a poll of global warming issues.

Poll results showed:

• 67 percent believe Judith Curry is a peacemaker, and only 12 percent are critical of her.
• Only 26 percent believe human emissions are causing global warming.
• 84 percent believe IPCC is “a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.”
• 69 percent believe climate change will or will not occur regardless of human efforts to stop it.
• Only 26 percent support cap-and-trade programs or a carbon tax.
• 35 percent favor increased government funding of energy-related technologies.
• Only 20 percent are willing to pay higher energy prices “to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change.”

Conflict with Readers
Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and distinguished senior fellow in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, told Congress in November 17 testimony, “This survey finds—despite the general environmentalist bent of its readership—that only a tiny minority (16%) agree that the IPCC is ?’an effective group of government representatives, scientists, and other experts’. 84% agree, however, that it is ?’a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda’. The concordance between the IPCC and the bizarre one-sidedness of the CCSP Synthesis would compel the respondents to say the same about it, if asked.”

Joanne Nova, a former associate lecturer at Australia National University who helped develop the university’s Graduate Diploma in Science Communication, noted the irony of Scientific American, which has consistently advocated global warming alarmism, publishing a poll in which its readers were overwhelmingly skeptical.

 “What the survey tells us is that thousands of people who are interested in the global warming debate are telling the magazine to get its act together and start reporting on empirical evidence rather than opinions,” Nova said. “If their subscriptions are falling, the recent survey is sending them the answer, and it’s written in a six-foot-high font that’s on fire!”

D. Brady Nelson ([email protected]) is a Milwaukee-based freelance economist.