Poll: Nearly half of meteorologists don’t believe in man-made global warming

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Not all scientists agree that global warming is man-made. Nearly half of meteorologists and atmospheric science experts don’t believe that human activities are the driving force behind global warming, according to a survey by the American Meteorological Society.

The survey of AMS members found that while 52 percent of American Meteorological Society members believe climate change is occurring and mostly human-induced, 48 percent of members do not believe in man-made global warming.

Furthermore, the survey found that scientists who professed “liberal political views” were much more likely to believe in the theory of man-made global warming than those who without liberal views.

“Political ideology was the factor next most strongly associated with meteorologists’ views about global warming. This also goes against the idea of scientists’ opinions being entirely based on objective analysis of the evidence, and concurs with previous studies that have shown scientists’ opinions on topics to vary along with their political orientation,” writes survey author Neil Stenhouse of George Mason University.

“The result suggests that members of professional scientific organizations have not been immune to influence by the political polarization on climate change that has affected politicians and the general public,” Stenhouse writes.

President Barack Obama and Democrats have often touted the “97 percent” consensus among scientists that climate change is driven by human activity, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels.

“Ninety-seven percent of scientists, including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data, have now put that to rest,” President Obama said while unveiling his new plan to combat global warming. “They’ve acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it.”

This new AMS survey runs counter to the notion of a “97 percent” scientific consensus and shows that there is much more disagreement among climate scientists than previously thought. The 97 percent number came from a survey of published environmental papers written by scientists from around the world, while the AMS survey measured U.S.-based scientists.

“There has been tension in recent years among AMS members who hold different views on climate change,” Stenhouse added. “Some members have expressed that their views — which question the view that human-caused global warming was occurring — are treated with hostility within the AMS.”

However, the survey notes that this is most likely a “conservative estimate” of the global warming consensus among meteorologists. The survey specifically asked about mankind’s influence on rising global temperatures over a 150-year period, and some survey respondents indicated later that they would have changed their answers if the survey had asked specifically about the last 50 years of warming.

Stenhouse said that the AMS should “acknowledge and explore the uncomfortable fact that political ideology influences the climate change views of meteorology professionals; refute the idea that those who do hold non-majority views just need to be ‘educated’ about climate change; [and] continue to deal with the conflict among members of the meteorology community.”

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