Warming Debate Not Over, Survey of Scientists Shows

Published February 1, 2007

A substantial number of environmental scientists and practitioners disagree with the assertion that human activity is causing or imminently will cause substantial global warming, a November 2006 survey found.

Conducted by the nonpartisan National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP), the survey asked 793 environmental scientists and environmental practitioners about human effects on climate variance.

The survey results contradict assertions by environmental activist groups that “the debate is over” and that all or virtually all scientists agree humans are causing a dramatic and harmful change in the Earth’s climate.

Survey Results

According to the survey:

  • 34 percent of environmental scientists and practitioners disagree that global warming is a serious problem facing the planet.
  • 41 percent disagree that the planet’s recent warmth “can be, in large part, attributed to human activity.”
  • 71 percent disagree that recent hurricane activity is significantly attributable to human activity.
  • 33 percent disagree that the U.S. government is not doing enough to address global warming.
  • 47 percent disagree that international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol provide a solid framework for combating global climate change.

Debate Continues

Clearly, many scientists believe climate variance is an important issue and that humans may be having a significant impact on our climate. But the survey findings also demonstrate many scientists believe the issue is not terribly pressing and that recent warming trends are no more alarming than many other naturally occurring warming trends in our recent past.

“NREP professionals have been dealing with, at the infrastructure level, all the issues that can be reasonably traced to global climate change,” noted the executive summary of the survey. “NREP decided in early 2006 that it was time to take stock of our professionals’ experience in addressing hurricane recovery, energy shortfalls, massive drought, and extreme seasonal temperature shifts. NREP has assembled and published this survey as part of the attempt to garner what the Nation’s environmental practitioners think about recent dynamics witnessed throughout our biosphere.”

Encouraging Views Found

The summary noted, “The survey does reveal some encouraging views from our Country’s environmental professionals, including [that] 67 percent of the practitioners report the U.S. Government is currently moving in the right direction in implementing public policy that protects our environment.”

“These results are absolutely amazing,” observed Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “It just shows you how phony the alleged scientific consensus is that we hear so much about.

“The asserted consensus that global warming is a planetary emergency and that all right-thinking people believe we need to limit our energy use has been exposed, once again, as unsubstantiated myth,” said Lewis.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

For more information …

Global Climate Change Survey, National Registry of Environmental Professionals, November 2006, http://www.nrep.org/globsurv.htm