Major poll shows belief in Climate Change isn’t falling and scientists ARE trusted

10:49 am - April 2nd 2013

by Leo Barasi    

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Last week the site Carbon Brief released information on their extensive energy and climate change polling, which you can read about on their site.

But as with any apparently new information, it’s useful to put the results in the context of what we’ve seen before. How does the poll fit with what others have shown?

I’m going to pick on three places where it’s interesting to compare the new poll with previous ones.

1. Doubts about climate change aren’t rising

I’ve been banging on about this for a while. Poll after poll is showing that belief that climate change is real and man-made is at the same level it was at before Copenhagen, ‘climategate’, the UK’s cold winters, and the subsequent dip in belief.

The Carbon Brief poll adds yet more weight to this. Compared with a question asked by ICM in ’09 and last year, the results show no movement:

It really is time we stopped saying that belief in climate change is falling.

2. ‘Belief’ in climate doesn’t mean that much anyway
One of my favourite charts is from a post-Copenhagen poll that showed that, even among those who said they don’t think global warming has been proven, a majority wanted a reduction in worldwide emissions.

I’ve taken this to indicate there’s a bunch of people who respond to questions about whether they ‘believe’ in climate change as if they’re being asked “are you a tree-hugging leftie who hates business?” – so they say no to that question, but still want the government to do something about climate change.

But is that true? A question in the Carbon Brief poll supports that view, albeit not quite to the extent seen in the Copenhagen poll.

Of those who think climate change or global warming is mostly caused by natural processes (about a third of the total), 45% think that tackling climate change should still be part of the government’s economic programme:

3. There isn’t a big problem with trust in climate scientists
A poll conducted in March ’11 and reported 18 months later by LWEC found that only 38% agreed they trusted climate scientists to tell the truth about climate change. This prompted soul-searching among those worried about public perceptions of climate change.

The phrasing of the LWEC question – “we can trust climate scientists to tell us the truth” – is a very high bar. At a time when trust is low, expecting people to say they trust anyone to tell them the truth, without more reassurance, is asking a lot. I’m also not a fan of the way the trust question came after questions about exaggeration of climate change and agreement among scientists.

Add to this Mori’s trust index, which finds scientists are among the most trusted groups, and that trust in them has gone up over the last decade.
So I don’t think we should be particularly surprised that the new poll showed scientists are the most trusted to deliver information about climate change by a massive margin. The mistake was ever to doubt that they were.

Data from the polls will be published this week.

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About the author
Leo is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He manages communications for a small policy organisation, and writes about polling and info from public opinion surveys at Noise of the Crowd
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Reader comments

All you have proved is that the PR propaganda machine is working in fooling everyone into thinking that climate change is totally a man made event.

What about the real facts which are tearing apart the climate change scam?

2. Robin Levett

@SadButMadLad #1:

What about the real facts which are tearing apart the climate change scam?

OK, I’ll bite; name one such fact.


…name one such fact.

You can imagine the response.


Um well, how about this fact.

The Yale survey conducted this month concluded “A majority of respondents (52%) believe climate change is happening, while 26 percent believe it is not, and 22 percent say they “don’t know.””

That’s far different than what was concluded in your polls above. The Yale survey said a full 48% believe it is not happening or they don’t know. Your survey said only about 15% believe it is not happening or don’t know. I’d say the Yale survey is correct and your biased surveys are nothing but pure BS.

That fact enough for you?

Just helping you out.


5. Chaise Guevara

@ 4 klem

While the survey above probably is biased, there’s a difference between proving a hypothesis wrong (which is what I took from “tearing the climate change scam apart”) and showing that a lot of people don’t believe in it.

I imagine that Robin was looking for evidence regarding the actual science.

6. Charlieman

The Carbon Brief asks some more interesting questions in the survey. I recommend this link which discusses investment in green industries:,-and-favour-investment-in-green-industries

The page above also contains a link to the full poll results.

7. The Maelstrom of My Memory

When Carbon Brief are involved you know that the results can’t be trusted.

8. The Maelstrom of My Memory

Speaking as a person who works on behalf of Carbon Brief yourself, if 100% of the population did not believe that climate change was “real and manmade” would that prove that it is not? If there is no such link then what’s the point of the article?

@7. The Maelstrom of My Memory:

“When Carbon Brief are involved you know that the results can’t be trusted.”

Data is available from the poll that they commissioned. See above @6.

The company who conducted the poll held it back for a few days. Their communication was lousy but the data is now public.

10. Robin Levett

@Chaise #5:


@klem #4:

The Carbon Brief poll found that UK adults believe that AGW is happening; the Yale poll found that US adults tend to do so rather less. Perhaps the fact that the populations surveyed were an ocean apart explains the different results?

But, as Chaise correctly surmised, I was asking SBML for one of the facts that, he claimed, “are tearing apart the climate change scam”. I’ve heard nothing back yet…

Regarding facts, we’re still having some funny weather. Have been for years now. Just as the climate scientists predicted. Still, never mind eh?

Climate scientists have predicted just about everything up to now, no matter what actually transpires their predictions will be correct. Even a broken clock is correct at least once each day.

Case in point: Up to last year the Antarctic ice sheets were shrinking, this was blamed on global warming. This year the Antarctic ice sheets are growing again, however this too has been blamed on global warming. Wow. Don’t you just love climate science?

13. Robin Levett

@klem #12:

Up to last year the Antarctic ice sheets were shrinking, this was blamed on global warming. This year the Antarctic ice sheets are growing again, however this too has been blamed on global warming.

I think you’re confused. Antarctic ice volume has bene shrinking for some time. Antarctic sea-ice area has been growing. Both result from global warming; neither has turned around this year. Try this piece for a short explanation:

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