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Survey Finds Most Americans Trust Scientists on Climate Change
 
Published Thursday, June 15, 2017

Seventy-three percent of Americans trust science agencies like NASA for information about climate change, according to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of NH in Durham. This includes a substantial majority within every political group.

In addition, a follow-up survey by the researchers found more than 80 percent of survey respondents—again including majorities in all political groups—favor continuing or expanding NASA’s Earth observations programs rather than cutting them.

“NASA and scientists in general know they face challenges in communicating the results, reasoning and importance of their work to the public,” the researchers said. “That is true now more than ever, as the scientific community interacts with a Trump administration that has been widely dismissive of science. As NASA scientists continue to carry out and communicate Earth observations, efforts to curtail their work will not find a sympathetic public, even among partisans.”

The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and senior Carsey fellow; Jessica Brunacini, assistant director of the Polar Learning and Responding (PoLAR) Climate Change Education Partnership at the Earth Institute of Columbia University in New York; and Stephanie Pfirman, Hirschorn professor of environmental sciences at Barnard College in New York and Columbia University and director of PoLAR. Original data was collected for the nationwide Polar, Environment and Sciences survey conducted just after the election and for a statewide follow-up survey in May. Similarly, high trust in NASA climate science was found on a separate survey conducted last August.

The full report can be found here.


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