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Why are climate scientists losing the American public?

Even as predictions about the possible effects of climate change get more troubling by the day, Americans are increasingly skeptical of the science. The latest evidence is this concerning Gallup poll:

A majority of Americans still agree that global warming is real, as 53% say the effects of the problem have already begun or will do so in a few years. That percentage is dwindling, however. The average American is now less convinced than at any time since 1997 that global warming's effects have already begun or will begin shortly.
Meanwhile, 35% say that the effects of global warming either will never happen (19%) or will not happen in their lifetimes (16%).
The 19% figure is more than double the number who held this view in 1997.

Depressing news for environmentalists, who have spent years building the public case for concern.

Environmental groups often explain why they are losing the public relations war by, among other things, citing George Will’s “campaign” against global warming and other such efforts, arguing that they have made the science seem less settled than it is. Americans are having trouble telling the difference between relatively small criticisms of the science or scientists -- minor mistakes in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report or the release of overheated private exchanges among a few climate scientists, for example -- and the solid case for the bottom-line on global warming: that it’s extremely likely it’s happening, it’s extremely likely that it’s at least partially our fault, and, if unabated, it’s extremely likely to have some rather unpleasant consequences.

But a big factor is also that the issue became more partisan as the Democratic Congress got serious about legislating.

Global warming denial has shot up on the right. Even many of those in the GOP who say they want to do something on clean energy -- such as Sarah Palin -- have put themselves on the wrong side of the policy, some of them pretty clearly out of political calculation. Supposedly free-market Republicans favor supporting a few select energy sources instead of simply pricing carbon. Anyone with a few days of basic economics training will tell you the latter is far more efficient, relying on private actors to determine where investment in clean energy should go, rather than Congress deciding who wins and who loses.

But pricing carbon is also the policy that President Obama favors. So, in conservative rhetoric, that has become another way the president is trying to build a command-and-control economy. In fact, trying to deal with global warming without pricing carbon is the command-and-control approach, the approach many GOP leaders appear to favor, if they really favor doing anything at all. House Democrats, meanwhile, decided that the only way they could pass a bill was to use it to pay off lots of constituencies that might conceivably complain, dulling the efficiency of the included carbon price and aiding the GOP in its attacks.

Fears about the far-reaching policy and about the Democrats’ motives have no doubt convinced some Americans to see what they want to see in the science, rather than what a reasonable reading would suggest.

By Stephen Stromberg  | March 11, 2010; 10:44 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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You could be correct in your article. However, I think enough scientists have debunked man made warming to make legislation to charge for stopping man made warming an oxymoron. Anything suggested by Al Gore is disputable because he is certainly not a scientist and does not inspire many people, if any. The democrats prove everytime they have a majority of congress that all they know how to do is tax and spend. The vast majority of Americans do not need the government to take care of us and just want them to leave us alone. If the federal government would do what it was meant to do, there would be plenty of jobs and the economy would not tank every time they regain congress.

Posted by: annnort | March 12, 2010 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Since skeptics have been compared to holocaust deniers, I'm invoking Godwin's law every time some moron decides that it is wise to continue the use of the word denier to make his or her case for global warming.

Yes, global warming. That is the second point. I don't acknowledge the semantic goalpost shift. Warming, and not just warming, but global warming, is the ONLY case warmists are trying to make.

Climate change is the skeptic's argument. The climate is changing, has always changed, and always will change, and with or without our influence, it would have changed -- yet most on the warmist side imply that the climate would have remained essentially static without our recent CO2 contributions, even pointing to "growing mountain of climate related" rubbish that somehow proves it.

Posted by: sdlawrence | March 12, 2010 3:53 AM | Report abuse

It is not denial to want to ask more questions. It is reasonable.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 12, 2010 5:48 AM | Report abuse

the GOP argument is that we should not do anything to manage the measurable and predictable disturbances to the climate brought on by unregulated industry. We should not do anything, even though the consequences are known to be far greater for not doing anything than if we did take some reasonable steps. Those reasonable steps are quite manageable and will also boost our economy and create jobs, and make our country more competitive, and improve our trade imbalance, and improve our quality of life. The GOP argument is that we should not take these very reasonable steps even though they would still put us in a better-off position even if the disturbances to our climate do not cause as much trouble for us as 98% of the scientists have predicted with great certainty based on actual observations at every level.

Posted by: lwatkins4 | March 12, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

End this irrelevant discussion ! Global warming may or may not happen, but what´s happening now is massive pollution of air and water, rapid depletion of fossile energy sources and ever rising prices. Concentrate on rapid development of renewable energies otherwise pollution will continue to grow and our planet will become uninhabitable !

Posted by: wernerthomasi | March 12, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Al Gore, vilified by the right, had it just about right. People hate bad news. In the short run denial is so much more convenient than forthrightly facing a tough situation. Deep down I suspect most folks realize we, as a civilization, are not going to get a free ride from nature. It will be interesting to see whether we collectively decide to pass the bill along to our children. Of course, that's been the pattern over history, so it seems the likely course.

Posted by: mich123 | March 12, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

It is reasonable to question the veracity of the threat posed by disturbances to our climate. It is not reasonable to do nothing when benefits of action far outweigh the consequences of inaction, in either circumstance.

Posted by: lwatkins4 | March 12, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Game over man! Game over! We're all going to die!!! Get a grip. The rah-rahs of global warming/cooling/climate change/"bart" did themselves in and now the American public is asking that they back up their assumptions with facts. Science is never "settled"....and the first scientist who says that it is should be tossed out on his ear.

Beware of "ManBearPig"....

Posted by: luca_20009 | March 12, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Saying there are "minor mistakes in the IPCC's 2007 report" is like saying the predictions in Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb were "slightly off". Peer reviewed research publications are appearing every month in journals like Geophysical Research Letters that call into question projections made in the IPCC report. The fallout from the release of the CRU emails has made it much easier for scientists whose findings don't fit neatly with the false "consensus" to get their papers published. Despite a concerted effort to paper over the cracks in the "consensus", the result of this opening up of the journals is almost certain to be more balanced view of the issues. As for taxing carbon (you so cleverly call it "pricing") do we REALLY want to get the government addicted to this revenue stream? The answer depends on how one feels about greatly expanding big government.

Posted by: unwashed_brain | March 12, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"I think enough scientists have debunked man made warming to make legislation to charge for stopping man made warming an oxymoron."

From what I have learned, upwards of 95 percent of scientists polled agree that global warming is occuring, and that man-made pollutants or carbon dioxide are major contributors to that process.

If that's "enough scientists," I suggest we try a little experiment. Ninety-five percent of scientists believe that those who stick their heads in an oven with the gas turned on will die. Five percent believe the open oven door will adimit enough air to allow you to live, that natural gas is much less dangerous than the majority believes, or that natural gas, because it is "natural" isn't poisonous at all. Ready to stick your head in? I'll time you.

Posted by: micost51 | March 12, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"Americans are having trouble telling the difference..." Honestly, what an attitude!

Here's what I've had trouble with from the beginning: That every pro- 'scientist' is paid to corroborate, not paid to express skepticism. They might be scientists but that doesn't mean that they are politically stupid.

So, it's the warming-bias deny-ers that are having trouble in my view.

Posted by: brussell51 | March 12, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

BBC: "Climate change makes birds shrink"

that's why

Posted by: happyacres | March 12, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

The term "climate change denier" if taken literally would refer to someone who was addressing something that occurred in the past, as the future is not known and therefore can't be denied. Among the ranks of those who have denied past climate change are James Hansen, Phil Jones and Michael E. Mann who have denied and attempted to hide from the public the Midieval Climate Optimum and the relatively rapid temperature rise from about 1881 to 1940. They are joined by other literal "climate change deniers" such as UN's Moon and Former VP Albert Gore who idetifiy 1970 to 1998 change as an unpresidented new rise in temperature, rather than recovery from a cold 1970's to about the climate of the first half of the 20th century. The skeptics on the other hand might be called "climate change model accuracy questioners". With respect to those models, might an early computing term be apt, "garbage in, garbage out"?

Posted by: mctiguep | March 12, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

We must free science of climate change from politic.
In this case my statement that Al Gore and scientists who adviced and support him are WRONG NEED ONLY ARGUMENTS: "WHY THEY ARE WRONG?"
They explain climate change very simple:
Mankind activities bring more greenhouse gases, which trapped infrared radiation. It increase temperature of air. In hotter air more water vapor, which also GHG,
It increase temperature even more.
They forget about others properties of water:
In books of Physics you could found facts, which were developped in 19 century, independently tested, corrected and peer reviewed many times:
To evaporate 1 kg of water we need 539 kcal of energy. This huge energy in summer time cool air close to rivers, lakes, seas, oceans.
In atmosphere we always have not only invissible water vapor, but visible water droplets in form of fog, clouds and particles, which together with dust pollen,etc mostly responsible for visibilities. Evaporation of droplets also takes huge energy AND COOL THE AIR.
Tilling of earth for crop production decrease reflection of direct sun radiation, reduce evaporation of water from the continents, reduce amount of clouds on continents, which together with many others man created problems increase temperature of continents and create huge convection forces, which mainly responsible for power of hurricanes.


Posted by: mioffe | March 12, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I used to think the evidence for global warming was persuasive. But recently the liberal-left believers have started comparing skeptics to Nazis. This is a sure sign they have a weak case, and are resorting to the usual liberal tactics of smearing, name calling and invective.
Now, I smell a rat. I suspect liberals are embracing global warming because it offers them the chance to do what they most enjoy: tell other people how to behave through government regulation.

Posted by: scvaughan | March 12, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Lets be real--there is alot of money to be made by the global warming advocates. Carbon equivalents comes to mind to justify those with money to continue to pollute and and overuse energy (just like AL Gore). Almost everyone agrees that warming is occurring and that we should be more efficient and reduce pollution. My gripe is the perpetuation of the myth by the non-scientific media and politicians that all the money spent to promote this industry of consultants and offsets is helping. If we finally discover that the preponderant cause of warming is the sun and predictable cycles as much science shows, then we have just created another bureaucracy. If you consider yourself intelligent and open minded, look at the data that is NOT promoted by the Al Gore orthodoxy.

Posted by: spikem | March 12, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

If we will start use right tools to fight climate change we could create jobs for 100 % of employment, therefore and 100% of insurance, make USA energy independent, and fight climate change with only three countries in the world-USA, Canada and Mexico. North America influent climate from France to Japan. "Economy and climate change or KGB agent", January 2010.

Posted by: mioffe | March 12, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

the right wing in this country has destroyed popular science.

Posted by: rowens1 | March 12, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Because they have proven to be partisan political hacks!

Posted by: Hairless | March 12, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

What's the difference between those who believe global warming is a problem and those who don't?

One group is made up of scientists the other, isn't.

BTW, who saddled you with this headline? Wouldn't "Anti-science morons more successful in bilking stupid portion of the population" be more appropriate?

Posted by: joebanks | March 12, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

It's NOT Global Warming DENYING. It's Fool Me ONCE, Shame On You. Fool Me TWICE, Shame On Me.
We're just not STUPID. You Idiots can't keep APOLOGIZING for MAKING IT UP, and then write stupid columns, like this one, telling us all, AGAIN, that the "Science is SETTLED".
The only SETTLED SCIENCE, is that you have a MENTAL DISSORDER. You REFUSE to accept, that 2+2=4. And since you are unable to ADMIT that you're WRONG, that your 'DATA' is BOGUS (which would explain why it was DESTROYED, instead of being turned over in a Freedom Of Information Act Demand)and that some of you, have just been MAKING THINGS UP (IPCC - AL GORE - HIMALAYA SNOW - ARCTIC SNOW)you lash out at US.
GET SOME HELP. You are sick in your head.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | March 12, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Silly Question... Might the fact that they LIED often and allowed that Fraud Gore to become their Pied Piper have anything to do with the total Lack of Crdibility??

Posted by: redhawk2 | March 12, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The reason why people don't believe in global warming is due to one main fact: corporations. Mostly energy companies like oil or coal. They don't want to lose business because of global warming so they put money in the pockets of our representatives and spread the rumor that global warming doesn't exist. This money from these corporations looks like it is going to the right side of the isle...

Posted by: josephmbennett | March 12, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

You're starting with the incorrect premise that these were "minor mistakes". IN fact, poor sourcing, of advocacy groups unrefereed position papers as peer-reviewed science, is all through the IPCC reports; a large number of these have been proven wrong. This includes not just the Himalayan glaciers debacle, but discussions of the impact of sea level changes on the Netherlands, impact of climate change on the Amazon basin, and more egregiously, reversing the conclusion of papers on the impact on major storms while citing those papers as the source. This, along with the direct admission by Murari Lal that the reports were purposefully written to exaggerate the impact of climate change in order to have more political effect.

Follow that with the revelations about poor data archiving at the Climate Research Unit, which led Phil Jones to resist FOIA requests rather than admit they had destroyed their raw data and couldn't replicate their own results, the growing collection of studies showing that the (undocumented) selection criteria used to homogenize the temperature records consistently overstate the warming signal compared to the raw data, and the most recent discovery of emails showing that the supposed independence of the three major climate data sets is not actually the case, and there are clear and substantial problems, not minor errors.

This doesn't mean there has been no warming since the Little Ice Age. It does mean that, objectively, the certainty this warming is unprecedented, or that anthropogenic causes have significant magnitude, is unwarranted.

Posted by: CharlieinColorado | March 12, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Why are climate scientists losing the American Public?

Here is the easy answer. The scientists at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia University purposefully tortured their research data until it finally confessed to exactly what they wanted it to say. Said more simply, CRU prevaricated until they were finally caught.

In their eagerness to believe, rubes like Al Gore and friends willingly accepted on blind faith something they were neither trained nor qualified to fully understand. This is because possessing an undergraduate degree in government studies or even making a Hollywood movie is no basis for comprehending the quantitative analysis of scientific data or following fundamental research methodology. They were babes in the woods and they did not even know it.

On the plus side, no one who originally bought into the now fading man-caused global warming hoax should be terribly embarrassed by all of this. After all, even Sir Isaac Newton (arguably one of the most brilliant minds to ever grace the planet) once got duped by the infamous South Sea Company Scam of 1719. Sadly, high intelligence is never a guarantee for "prudent decision-making."

And so it goes...

Posted by: pgould1 | March 12, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Partisanship in climate politics long predates Sarah Palin and the Cap&Trade legislation.

It all started the day somebody yelled "denier!" against people asking questions about the foretold hell and fire.

The AGW "believers" are still firmly entrenching themselves around identifying and denouncing anybody not perfectly following the catastrophical orthodoxy. Thus they and not the GOP are the root cause of every problem with the slowly-unfolding disaster that is climate policy.

Compare the USA to Europe where (at least, at the beginning) there was much less emphasis on insulting the world over with comparisons to historical pro-Nazi revisionism, and the legislation went through without much of a fuss.

More: as soon as the American "with me, or against me" mindset reached Europe as well, there it started the current backlash against overblown catastrophical forecasts, in the UK and elsewhere.

Posted by: omnologos | March 12, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

As soon as I get a reasonable, articulate answer to what happened to the glaciers in Ohio and Michigan I will start to take "climate change is death" seriously
The climate changes, the earth adapts and here we are - right now, it is nothing more than a money and power grab and Americans aren't that stupid

Posted by: MKAC | March 12, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Those who deny fall into the two key base groups of the GOP: greedy corporatists who live for the moment and creationist-second comers who live for the end of the world.

Posted by: pgbach | March 12, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Pricing carbon required price fixing. Anyone who has taken a basic course in economics knows that price fixing leads to failure.

Posted by: gorak | March 12, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

ACtion will be taken once enough voters die. Just like anything in this country. Bah! Spending on infrastructure? Not until a bridge collapses. Medical research? Not until AIDS became more than just a homosexual's disease. Seatbelts? Not until a few more kids are turned into human lawn darts.

Congress listens...when you die.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | March 12, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Why are climate scientists losing the American public?"

Because the average American is woefully uneducated, particulary in sciences and mathematics.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | March 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Why are climate scientists losing the American public?

The truth eventually comes out.
Even Obama is now being exposed as a true empty suit no matter how much the media is in bed with him

Posted by: Maxim49 | March 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The most troubling aspect to me is the Wall Street, or rather, Chicago Commodities Exchange, plan that goes hand in hand with Cap and Trade.

The same great looters who gave us Enron's electricity credits will be giving us Carbon Credit derrivative securities.

Maybe if gang took out the let's-make-billions privately before the derrivatives blow up banking at the cost of tax payers we could take it more seriously.

As it is, we need to continue our environmental practices in America and keep our money safe from the compromised members of the Fed and their conpirators.

Posted by: LauraVW | March 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Skeptics' questioning of the dogma laid out by alarmists has been and still is fueled by years of obstruction from government-funded researchers.

The raw data, the methods of collection, the inclusion or exclusion of instrumental and proxy data and the source code for predictive computer models needs to be freely available to the public ESPECIALLY because this data is being relied upon to control trillions of dollars in global expenses.

Honest, reputable scientists should have no problem at all with releasing all data supporting their conclusions.

Anything less tarnishes not only their own credibility but diminishes the public trust in real science, both of these are avoidable tragedies.

Posted by: spamsux1 | March 12, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Why? Denial. It's easier to ignore the facts and do nothing. Americans hate to be held accountable, and inconvenienced.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 12, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The proponents of global warming are just not credible. There have been too many mistakes in favor of the debatable theory.

And even changing the name of the topic to Climate Change...................

Certain scientists and other do gooders like Al Gore have done a disservice by using incorrect information to further their argument.

It is a lot like the majority of the media pushing a liberal agenda and therefore losing respect.

Reread 'The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf' for further explanation if above is not enough.

Posted by: mlemac | March 12, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Until "global warming" becomes tangible
(Assuming it actually has the quality of "tangibility")
It will not be perceived as "reality";
And the resultant lack of believability,
Compounded as it has been by loss of credibility
By "scientists"--professionals once considered objective--
For whom respect may now be beyond retrievability.
Can only reinforce lack of concern
For something that's not clearly discernible.

Had Al Gore, for example,
Focused simply on cleaning up the atmosphere
(Linking that to good health habits)
Of much pollution, today, it might be clear.

Posted by: Gonzage1 | March 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Let's stop the iane rambling by scientists trying to scare the children. Let's spend a few moments considering a REAL threat to the earth and life as we know it. The Massive Nuclear Arsenals!!! This is a universe who's very nature is constant flux. We have time and money to 'save' the polar bears, but no time or money to feed starving children.

Posted by: simonsays1 | March 12, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

What do the models predict will happen if we reduce CO2 emissions? Will the Earth remain stable? Will it cool? Or will it continue to get warmer at a slower pace? What impact does global dimming have? If we remove polutants from the air and more sunlight hits the Earth's surface, was the reduction of polution a good or bad thing? What impact does the reversal of the magnetic poles have on the weather? Are humans impacting that reversal and, if so, what does it mean?

Posted by: gardedgarton | March 12, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

From what I have learned, upwards of 95 percent of scientists polled agree..."

Yes, and comedian Chris Rock was once asked if he saw any racism in Hollywood. His wide-eyed funny comedic answer, "No suh, if'n they is, I ain't seen none!"

Well call me a denier, but, like AL Gore once said, I demand a recount. From what I have learned, it took a lot of extrapolated, highly manipulated nonsense to get that "consensus" illusion going. So no, I do not buy the consensus illusion, and scientific institutions that take official positions (which are all about whatever the latest grant gravy train has in store for them) do not usually bother polling their membership for those positions before presenting their positions.

Posted by: sdlawrence | March 12, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Ordinary Americans grasp what many so-called "climate scientists" and journalists do not seem to understand: genuine science is not advocacy. Science does not advocate. Scientists, as scientists, do not advocate. When there is advocacy there is something besides, behind, underneath, on top of, in addition to science - if there is any science present at all. The more these so-called "climate scientists" and their journalistic cheerleaders advocate, the less believable they become as far as science is concerned. Most citizens are neither scientists, computer modelers, or statisticians - but no advanced degrees are required to have a high degree of skepticism about the predictions and prognostications of future climate events from practitioners of a science, if it even can be called a science, that is only in its infancy. "Climate science" political advocacy and journalistic propaganda has destroyed the credibility of the field, which can only be restored, if at all, by a dignified silence on the part of scientists and advocates, the passage of time, and the emergence of more and more reliable data. People have just had enough, more than enough of the Chicken Little act, a fad, frenzy and opportunistic crusade that has disgraced everyone connected with it.

Posted by: Teleologicus | March 12, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

As is the case with so many things American's need the pudding right now. "That" stock didn't get 13% so we either ream the CEO or get out of the poor performer. "The economy is fine" as long as you can't see bottom (but you still get free tea bags). Health insurance "only" went up 39% but I swear I'm gonna get mad when it's 100% in one year. The ocean is only 29 ft. from my front door, how bad can it be? As long as such a large number of us only WISH for the America of 1950 (no heavy lifting there) we will get our not so good 2025's and etc.

Posted by: hoser3 | March 12, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow - the number of crazies on this thread gives you all the reasons you need.

Terms like "so-called climate scientists", "Al Gore the fraud", "scientists are paid to corroborate", "liberals want to tell other people how to behave" speak to the the shallowness of understanding and the lack of intelligence of the deniers.

I don't know if the number of uninformed crazies who profess their distrust of science are a reflection of the readership of the Washington Post or of how the country is divided. In either case it's a disheartening sign, and only confirms the continuing decline of the United States as a global scientific power.

Posted by: sambam | March 12, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

"Climate scientists" are not only losing the public they are losing other scientists like myself who are angered at what they are doing to science as a whole. I think what is happening in "Climate Science" is not unlike what transpired in the old Soviet Union with Lysenko and Biology. I have a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with postgraduate training in Biophysics. I ran a research lab in a medical school and taught medical, graduate, and postgraduates for over 30 years. I began reading the "climate science" literature 6 or 8 years ago because I was concerned at what appeared to me to be hyperbole, especially by some "climate scientists" and the media. I have learned that the dire predictions spouted by so much of our media are not predictions at all but scenarios calculated on the basis of certain assumptions made in running global circulation models. A poll by Von Storch, a leading German scientist several years ago showed the majority of those polled didn't believe climate could be predicted 10 years from now much less 100 years in the future. His comments in a recent opinion piece in the WSJ were right on the mark.
The paper by Stainforth et al in Proc. Royal Society goes to the real heart of the problem
"...Complex climate models, as predictive tools for many variables and scales, cannot be meaningfully calibrated because they are simulating a never before experienced state of the system; the problem is one of extrapolation. It is therefore inappropriate to apply any of the currently available generic techniques which utilize observations to calibrate or weight models to produce forecast probabilities for the real world. To do so is misleading to the users of climate science in wider society...."
The profile of one climate scientist elected to the National Academy notes regarding his election to the Academy that
"This alarming trend (melting of glaciers) has turned xxxxx into both a scientist and an advocate for the cause to protect these precious commodities, and his effort on both fronts earned him an election to the National Academy of Sciences in xxxx."
All too many of those crusading to save the world from the horrors of climate change appear to have lost all objectivity and ability to function as a true scientist. It is interesting and perhaps relevant that former Senator Al Gore was apparently a student in the Divinity School at Vanderbilt. What a mission: save the world and make a lot of money in the process!
We need more application of the late Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit to Climate Science.

Posted by: JHawker | March 12, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jimhill1 | March 13, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

"Why are climate scientists losing the American public?"

Because to many of the American publiv believe that the Grand Canon is where Noah's Arch was drifting.

Posted by: Nelia | March 13, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Deniers will always exist because maintaining the status quo is easier than any action.

Like the dust bowl of the 30's, which was man made and changed the weather patterns of the mid-west to the worse, nothing was done by our congress until the black blizzard of Black Sunday dumped tons of top-soil from Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska on our nations capital.

Even though today we have better communications to spread the truth of what is happening to our climate. Better communications is also allowing lies and denial to spread also.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: unity2 | March 13, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

None of this should come as a surprise. The idea of a science sponsored by a UN committee composed of government representatives, touted by a failed American presidential candidate, and reaching its conclusions by counting noses was always suspect. The purpose all along was a massive redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor countries. The method of persuasion was puerile sentimentality about “saving the planet” or at least the polar bears. The “scientists’” chief incentive, as usual, was the availability of billions for research grants.

Posted by: suegbic1 | March 13, 2010 4:23 AM | Report abuse

Climate Science is very healthy. It is Climate Fraud that is losing support.

Posted by: balataf | March 13, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Denying the greenhouse effect is similar to denying the relationship between genes, intelligence, crime, income, and other factors too sensitive to mention here. Both are true. Both have political implications uncongenial to those at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

There is a difference. When I tell conservatives I agree with Al Gore, they do not become angry at me. When I tell liberals I agree with Charles Murray, the knives come out.

Posted by: John_Engelman1 | March 13, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Because most of the idiots watch Faux News and the Corporate Owned MSM continuously repeats Faux talking points.

Weather doesn't control climate change but climate change affects weather patterns.

Have you ever noticed how much colder it gets in the north after an Alaskan Volcano erupts?

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 13, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The reason why climate scientists are losing the American public is most of the people pushing climate change aren't climate scientists. Climate change is a fact and it's been going on for the last 4.5 billion years of the Earth's existance. The seas rose and fell and the glaciers advanced and retreated long before the first human being strode across the plains of Africa. To suddenly decide that people are the cause of climate change is somewhat arrogant in the extreme. We are being asked to believe all this is based upon what is called a mountain of data and studies. These studies when looked at seriously are based upon a rather small data set. High quality global climate data only became available with the advent of the US and Soviet space programs. Prior to that we have a couple of centuries of data from from selected sites in western Europe and North America. Beyond that data becomes sparse and starts to be based upon ice cores, tree rings, varves, pollen studies, archeology and historical anecdotes all of which are open to interpretation. There has been good science done but it has been buried beneath a mountain of manure created by politicians and other true believers who have hyjacked the debate for their own purposes on the basis that "the ends justifies the means" if it's in a good cause which is usually their own. Now that the media appears to be noticing that a lot of the claims made on the part of the true believers are in the realm of science fiction or outright lies perhaps we will get a true picture of what is really happening. The world is a lot more complicated than the people who cause themselves environmentalists want to admit. The planet is not a steady state environment. Change is the norm and it always has been. To state otherwise is either being naive or duplicitus.

Posted by: RockDoctor | March 13, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Americans are too preoccupied with short term problems to take the longer term ones seriously. The short term problems include the weather extremes that are beginning to show up however so most likely we will spend all our time reacting to short term problems as we do with making short term profits at the expense of long term planning. We will be ready for long term planning only when it is too late and impossible to do so. At that point it will be the chaos and panic similar to what results from the hurricanes and earthquakes we don't plan very well for because we are too busy imagining reasons for wars. The only successful ong term planning we have ever done is the space race because it wan't important and was only looking ahead 10 years which of course is why we can't do much more useless space planning it might take longer than 10 years. Interestingly ages ago mankind was able to do some long term projects, some taking even a hundred years.

Posted by: Wildthing1 | March 13, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Americans are poorly educated and continue to respond to fear. Simply, Americans can't handle the truth. Climate change is real, man contributes to it, and Americans remain baffled in their ignorance.

Posted by: fare777 | March 13, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Even as predictions about the possible effects of climate change get more troubling by the day"

The actual 30 year temperature trend lines are currently running below IPCC 'middle' projections and are closer to IPCC 'Best Case' scenarios.

The only thing that gets more troubling by the day is the number of 'scientists' who are clinging to 'worst case scenarios' despite mounting evidence that the worst case scenarios are unlikely to happen.

Should we talking about our energy future given the fact that even if we decided to replace every coal fired plant in the country with nuclear it would take 40 years?


Although the US has 200 years of coal supply, we only have 35 years of 'economically recoverable' coal supply. We should be thinking hard about what we are going to do for electricity as the 'cheap' coal runs out.

Posted by: SoldiersDad | March 13, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Are you people really this stupid? We're "occupied by short term problems"? We're too "stupid"? Denying Al Gore is like Denying the HOLOCAUST?
How much more PROOF do you need, before you realize that you've been PUNKED? We've SEEN the Hacked Emails from EAST ANGLIA. We KNOW that the HOCKEY STICK is a JOKE and a LIE. We know that 50 YEARS of so-called EMPERICAL DATA was DESTROYED by the East Anglian monks. They had been ORDERED to turnover there 'DATA' for review, under a Freedom Of Information Act edict. they chose DESTROYING THEIR 'DATA', instead. We know that the IPCC is a bunch of LIARS. We know that they MAKE IT UP as they go along. How do we know this? because they ADMITTED as much. we know that these GLOBAL WARMING SCIENTISTS can't explain the Medieval Warming Period. they can't explain how the ROMANS grew GRAPES in BRITAIN, and the VIKINGS grew GRAPES in GREENLAND. We Know that they put their THERMOMETERS next to EXHAUST PORTS. They put them near the HOT PAVEMENT. And ya know what? YOU KNOW IT TOO.
But WE'RE stupid.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | March 13, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Strip the entire topic down to a basic statement and it is not whether the planet is warming or cooling,neither is it about an ideal climate that has never existed on the planet,the frightening,at least to me,statement our era chooses to make is that we can control global temperatures and all its consequences using a minor atmospheric gas.

Those uncomfortable enough with this fear driven agenda based on climate really haven't discovered the core ideology yet which amounts to what humanity can and cannot do and that may be the most frightening thing of it all.

Posted by: gkell1 | March 13, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

You neglect to mention that not only have Greens spent years hyping this garbage, but BILLIONS in tax-exempt funding. AGW or "climate change" is a thousand times more political than it ever could be scientific.

Posted by: daskinner | March 13, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The author here is correct. Once Al Gore became the symbolic figurehead of "climate change" advocacy, the debate turned from one of environmentalists/climate scientists vs. the fossil fuel industry to one of liberals vs. conservatives. This assured that on both sides of the issue there will be people who believe what they believe due to political convictions and dislike of the other side.

It seems that there are three issues that get tangled together in this debate: (1) Whether the planet is getting warmer; (2) whether human activity is causing it; and (3) whether proposed solutions are worth the cost. Issue (1) isn't even debatable; idiots like Sens. DeMint and Inhofe who engage in triumphalism every time there's a snowstorm are an embarrassment. We know darn well that ocean temperatures are rising and glaciers are melting; it's not that hard to measure.

I think there are, however, legitimate disputes about the extent to which human beings are causing climate change, and, in turn, whether the economic costs imposed by switching to non-fossil fuels is worth the benefit. The science on these issues continues to develop. All we can do is listen to experts on both sides and try to make informed decisions.

Posted by: terminator_x | March 13, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Stromberg asks:
"Why are climate scientists losing the American public?"

Well, maybe because some of the most prominent have been caught hiding data, destroying data and using "tricks" to advance an alarmist agenda.

Posted by: spamsux1 | March 14, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Scientists are supposed to do science. It is there job to say molecules are vibrating, and that the vibration is increasing or decreasing.

Once they say molecules are vibrating more, and this is terrible, we have to do something about it, then they aren't scientists any more.

Posted by: vinyl1 | March 14, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The real question is why certain people cling to the idea when lie after lie after lie is exposed. What are their motivations? I'll bet it is going to be awhile before the wapo asks that question.

Posted by: standard_guy | March 14, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Because the scientists have lied their cans off about it.

Posted by: fourbuttons2003 | March 14, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

In my book the Gorebal Whiners are right up there with the flat Earth people. Complete lunitics.

Inspite of Albore's assertion, "The debate IS over", it's not. Or maybe it is. The Gorebal Whining nonsense is junk science, curve fitting, data manipulating tripe of the worst sort. Moreover, the losers can't answer just some real basic questions, like since water vapor (another so-called greenhouse gas) has 10x the partial pressure of CO2, how can CO2 possibly be calling the shots??? Or how about this, since the fossil fuels were once CO2 in the atmosphere before, why is it unusual for it to be in the atmosphere??? Or how about the question that since the losers made the hockey stick claim, where are there any other anaolgs in nature??? The answer is there aren't. CO2, IF it has any effect at all, has a log increase in temp, not exponential. It's the first couple of molecules that really matter, not the last 10 billion.

What the truth is that these losers have a cult religion and environmentalism is their God. They loathe mankind, capitalism, and democracy and want to replace it with a left wing elitist oligarchy that "knows best". Not on my watch you jerks!!!



The clock IS ticking, the writing IS on the wall, and come November you Dumbocrats' time IS up!!! YOU GOIN' DOWN!!!


Posted by: A1965bigdog | March 14, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps you -- and some academic scientists -- are right about "predictions about the possible effects of climate change" and we should go out and spend hundreds of trillions of dollars, slam the brakes on our economy, and dial way back on our expectations.


Or perhaps some predictions about possible effects are wrong. 40 years ago I remember reading Paul Erlich's "Population Bomb" and being horrified by all his possible predictions, none of which came true. Many, many scientists backed that horse, too. I also remember being worried about predictions about the possible effects of global cooling, and how every "responsible" scientist was on board with that, too. Many of the smart scientists of the 19th century knew it was patently impossible for man to fly -- that's why it took a couple of bicycle mechanics to do it. And 400 years ago all responsible scientists knew that the Earth was the center of the Universe, and the Sun revolved around us, along with all the crystal celestial spheres.

So perhaps you might forgive the American public for being a little skeptical and for waiting for real peer review, without gaming, without excluding those of different views, and without hiding climate data.

In any case, what would be so horribly heinous about climate change? Where is it written that the 20th century climate is the exact right temperature and conditions for Planet Earth? Why is this climate demonstrably better than the climate of the "Little Ice Age," or the Medieval Warming Period, or the 18th century, or the Jurassic Period or any other period with climate variations?

The only constant on this planet is change, and the sooner scientists recognize that, the sooner they'll become real observers and theorists, instead of political pundits.

Humility, not hubris, is at the center of the scientific method.

Posted by: spamagnet987 | March 14, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Why? That's easy.

For me it's because the solution that the "environmentalists" propose will accomplish nothing other than to increase government control and destroy our economy.

Nuclear power is the only viable solution to the doomsday scenario depicted by Al Gore and his acolytes, yet they give it only a backhanded reference in their bag of solutions.

So this tells me that their AGW crisis is cooked up solely for the purpose of implementing their whacked out and extreme environmentalists agenda.

I look forward to the day when some long haired, smelly brown shirt shows up at my door step to tell me I can't have a backyard BBQ (don't laugh...CA has done it).

Posted by: noneya3 | March 14, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Science is not settled it is a constant state of assault from every direction by scientific advance which throws out acres of whole cloth theories like climate change every decade to be replaced with new developemnets and discovery. The ideas cooked up by a half baked understanding of electricity at the turn of the century involved applying direct current to cure all sorts of ailments, and it was adopted as a "modern" way to treat mental illness. The current crop of overreaching, arrogant mainly self proclaimed climate scientists have greatly harmed the legitimacy of the real sciences with wild and unprecedented and frankly embarrasing attempts to overthrow democracy and run the country on the basis of thier "new and improved" "patent pending" wonder formulas". Get real.

Posted by: almorganiv | March 14, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Been on this issue a couple or three months now. At first to check out where the debate was, the debating itself, and to put my two bits in for awareness that climate change is real, and we need to adapt to it.

But recently I am narrowing it down to one thing, the debating itself. At this point, I am starting to think it is a bigger problem than the issue at hand here. Not in the long run, but in the immediate. It is utterly amazing what is happening with this debate (ing). This issue is a microcosm of what is happening globally, I think I can say that. Well sure I can, when the issue has only two real sides, and those sides can say to each other, "You are exactly wrong in the exact opposite direction."

Have you noticed that major elections in the U.S. are nearly 50/50? With this issue here, have you noticed that recently the polls are heading to nearly 50/50 also? I don't know about anyone else, but this is utterly fascinating to me, but more it is scary. Why? Because when things get to the polarized mark, nothing happens or something happens unwanted. Just like in tug of war, with equal strength on both sides, either the rope will snap, or both sides will tire. I wish I knew where we were at on that rope. I don't think we are going to snap real soon, but I don't see any hope in both sides tiring either.

One is as bad as the other. If it snaps, we could have anarchy, if it doesn't snap, then we'll have a perpetually do nothing world. Which is worse, I don't know?

So, MY NEW MISSION, should I accept it, is to get the debate to tire of itself. The debate tiring is the best possible outcome. Why? Because the ego tires and the ideologies tire along with the ego, and then in that state, there is a chance for listening and resolve. Who knows, should this tiring happen, I wouldn't be surprised if we find out the problems and the solutions have nothing to do with what we discuss here. Who knows??

I don't see much reason for me to continue to fight against the deniers or the skeptics or to add support for the alarmists, of which I am. But I also feel it's already too late to do much about this issue anyway, so I preach adaptation. However, we can't even discuss that until this polarization relaxes. "RELAX, WHAT? Are you kidding!!?"

Posted by: dannyheim | March 14, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Attempting to make long-term predictions of a non-linear dynamical system has always been a fool's errand. The "weather is not climate" mantra papers over the fact that climate *is* weather, averaged over time. Weather is not unpredictable because of random variation or statistical noise, but because it is a non-linear dynamical system (the popular term being "chaotic" dynamical system). Replacing the variables with time-averages over fixed length time intervals does not magically make the system linear.

"Climate scientists" should have lost the public's support long ago because they stopped being scientists the moment they offered computer models as "proof" of a causal theory (the "anthropogenic" in "anthropogenic global warming"): playing an apotheosis of SimEarth on a supercomputer is not science.

Instead, they have lost it because it turns out they were cheating at their game of SimEarth, from the "hide the decline" shenanigans at Hadley, to the IPCC's selection of urban weather stations and stations with discontinuous records in Russia in preference to rural stations with continuous records back to Tsarist times, to the imputation of temperatures in the Andes on the basis of coastal and Amazonian weather stations.

I had long suspected that "AGW denial" was rather akin to phlogiston denial. It turns out it's more akin to Piltdown Man denial: denying a scientific fake.

Any policy maker or legislator who thinks he or she is "saving the earth" by hobbling the national or world economy to "cut greenhouse emissions" is a fool, and any who knows better and still supports such schemes is a rogue and an incipient tyrant.

Posted by: DNY_ | March 14, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

It couldn't possibly be because there has been one Global Warming scandal after another lately: Climategate, Glaciers not shrinking as fast in the Himylayas as said, no connection found between GW and adverse weather conditions, Phil Jones himself saying there hasn't been signifigant global warming in 15 years and insignifigant global cooling for the last seven; could it?

Posted by: theberndts | March 14, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

My, Republicans are passionate, aren't they? So many strong emotions, powerful rhetoric and such a strong belief system, unshakable. Maybe I should believe them?? humm. I been listening to just science, it's boring, I want to have some good old fashion revival feelings, you know, just like back in the 50's. YES! I'll vote Republican, and then I won't have to ever worry about anything again. Thank you Lord for bringing me to Republicans, Praise God, I'm saved! Liberals will burn in Hell!! Yipeeee...And I'm going to move to Texas were my kids can get a good education from the right minded, old time religion text books now. 'It just keeps getting better all the time, Lord'. AAAAmen.

Posted by: dannyheim | March 14, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

We are a country that is in denial of a wide range of unpleasant fact, with denial of anthropogenic global warming as just one of them. Overpopulation. Peak oil. I just hope the building catastrophes don't hit full force until I'm no longer on the planet, as it is going to be really, really bad.

Posted by: roscoe911 | March 14, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

When the water gets to the lower lip of somebody on the Gulf Coast, I am sure it will be mentioned to someone, hopefully Inhofe's grandchildren.

Posted by: hamkast | March 14, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Negros are inferior
Tobacco doesn't kill
Climate change science is a fraud

Yeah, the Republicans get science right all the time.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | March 15, 2010 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Climate scientist aren't losing the American public, just the crazy right wing loons who never believed in global warming anyway!

Posted by: Jay100 | March 15, 2010 5:06 AM | Report abuse

Q: Why are climate scientists losing the American public?

A: The American people are not very bright.

Posted by: leajones99 | March 15, 2010 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Climate scientists are as politically driven as anyone.

Global warming is simply environmental daydreams wrapped in cherry-picked information presented by no-less than Al `Lock-Box' Gore.

The Left went nutz when charges claimed that the Bush Administration cooked some science reports.

Now that it seems the same thing has happened here, on the other side of the spectrum, tight lips refuse to own up.

The American people aren't stupid; they know when they've been had.

Posted by: AlongTheWatchTowers | March 15, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe in it. I remember when I first heard about it years ago, I thought "Wow, that's an impossible claim to prove but I suppose it's worth promoting if it advances the cause of environmentalism." However, the carbon tax idea goes a step too far because it will certainly cause direct harm to the economy.

In other words:

A - I doubt it.
B - I support the lie if it advances the cause of environmentalism (saving the rain forests, raising awareness, etc.)
C - I support the lie up until the point you expect me to do something about it personally.

Posted by: ZZim | March 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The real issue is, how have some many so-called "scientists" duped themselves (evidently) for so long, and why do they insist upon continuing to perpetrate this fraud and abuse known as "man-made global warming" on the public?

Don't these people have anything better to do with their lives than attempt to demolish the US and other economies with inane fairy tales?

Do these people need "recognition" in some way SO BADLY that they need to perpetrate (and perpetuate) fraud?

Posted by: BrianValentine | March 15, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Warmers (bloggers, politicians, Al Gore, and scientist/activists) had no objections when anyone with an opposing view was castigated, professionally destroyed, proclaimed a traitor, prohibited from publishing in journals, or fired from their job. Over time, the skeptics got out the word about this treatment. The treatment of the skeptics, the one-sided media ride, the conspiratorial-like actions to protect AGW research from critical scrutiny, etc. was enough to make people realize that the science wasn't settled. Why else treat the skeptics so poorly? Now the Warmers are complaining that skeptics are running rough shod over them and their AGW orthodoxy. Warmers complain that skeptics receive research money from energy companies, even as they grow fat on $billions from the government.

If environmentalists wasted years building the case for public concern, perhaps they tried building it by use of excessive alarmist lies, innuendo, and half-truths. Perhaps people who doen't work so close to the "case for public concern" smell the stink that environmentalists have long become used to smelling.

Thanks to Climategate, the winds of fresh air have begun to blow for the skeptics. Now we see that, whenever the formerly sacrosanct AGW science is exposed to the light of day, flaws emerge. The public supporters of the Warmer's position are defecting in droves.

And the cause? That there was ever any AGW support to crumble resulted from high-level scientists, also AGW advocates, deviating from the basic principles of science. Their refusal to allow anyone to challenge the precious pro-AGW science, or their passive acceptance of fellow scientists who did, is the root cause for waning AGW support.

Posted by: jeffreypmorton | March 17, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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