Climatic Change

, Volume 101, Issue 3–4, pp 311–329 | Cite as

Climate change: a profile of US climate scientists’ perspectives

  • Stacy Rosenberg
  • Arnold Vedlitz
  • Deborah F. Cowman
  • Sammy Zahran
Article

Abstract

Climate scientists have played a significant role in investigating global climate change. In the USA, a debate has swirled about whether a consensus on climate change exists among reputable scientists and this has entered the policy process. In order to better understand the views of US climate scientists, we conducted an empirical survey of US climate scientists (N = 468) in 2005, and compared the results with the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) physical science report and policy summaries. Our results reveal that survey respondents generally agree about the nature, causes, and consequences of climate change, and are in agreement with IPCC findings. We also found that there is strong support for a variety of policy initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agrawala S (2004) Adaptation, development assistance and planning: challenges and opportunities. IDS Bull 35(Part 3):50–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bell J, Sloan L, Snyder M (2004) Regional changes in extreme climatic events: a future climate scenario. J Climate 17(1):81–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bray D, Krück C (2001) Some patterns of interaction between science and policy: Germany and climate change. Clim Res 19:69–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burkey J, Harris T (2006) Impacts of privatization: use of multimodal survey. Soc Sci J 43(4):617–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gaffney J, Marley N (1998) New Directions: uncertainties of aerosol effects in global climate models. Atmos Environ 32(16):2873–2874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gore-Felton C, Koopman C, Bridges E, Thoresen C, Spiegel D (2002) An example of maximizing survey return rates: methodological issues for health professionals. Eval Health Prof 25(2):152–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Griffin M (2007) NASA chief questions urgency of global warming. Interview with National Public Radio, 31 May. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10571499
  8. IPCC (2007a) Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Summary for policymakers from http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf
  9. IPCC (2007b) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Jasanoff S, Wynne B (1998) Science and decisionmaking. In: Rayner S, Malone E (eds) Human choice and climate change. Batelle, ColumbusGoogle Scholar
  11. Karl T, Trenberth K (2003) State of the planet—modern global climate change. Science 302(5651):1719–1723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lewis M Jr (2007) Al Gore’s science fiction: a skeptic’s guide to an inconvenient truth. Competitive Enterprise Institute Congressional Working Paper. http://www.cei.org/pdf/5820.pdf
  13. Lindzen R (2007a) Why so gloomy? Newsweek Int 16 April. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek
  14. Lindzen R (2007b) Professor Richard Lindzen debates global warming causes. Interview with Steve Baskerville CBS 2 Chicago, 28 April. http://cbs2chicago.com/video/?id=31988@wbbm.dayport.com&cid=6
  15. Marengo J, Ambrizzi T (2006) Use of regional climate models in impacts assessments and adaptations studies from continental to regional and local scales: the CREAS (Regional Climate Change Scenarios for South America) initiative in South America. In: Proceedings of 8 ICSHMO. INPE, Foz do Iguaçu, BrazilGoogle Scholar
  16. Michaels P (ed) (2004) The predictable distortion of global warming by scientists, politicians and the media. Cato Institute, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  17. Michaels P (ed) (2005) Shattered consensus: The true state of global warming. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MDGoogle Scholar
  18. Nakićenović N, Swart R (2000) Special report on emissions scenarios: a special report of working group III of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. National Assessment Synthesis Team (2001) Climate change impacts on the United States: the potential consequences of climate variability and change. Report for the US Global Change Research Program. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. National Research Council Committee on Abrupt Climate Change (2002) Abrupt climate change: Inevitable surprises. National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  21. National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Analysis of Global Change Assessments (2007) Analysis of global change assessments: lessons learned. National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  22. Oreskes N (2004) Beyond the ivory tower: the scientific consensus on climate change. Science 306(5702):1686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Patz J, Campbell-Lendrum D, Holloway T, Foley J (2005) Impact of regional climate change on human health. Nature 438(7066):310–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schaefer B, Lieberman B (2007) Discussing global warming in the security council: premature and a distraction from more pressing crises. Heritage Foundation WebMemo #1425, April 16. http://www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/wm1425.cfm
  25. Schneider S (2004) Abrupt non-linear climate change, irreversibility and surprise. Glob Environ Change 14(3):245–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Scientific Expert Group on Climate Change (SEG) United Nations Foundation (2007) Confronting climate change avoiding the unmanageable and managing the unavoidable. United Nations Foundation, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  27. Slovic P (1999) Trust, emotion, sex, politics, and science: surveying the risk-assessment battlefield. Risk Anal 19(4):689–701Google Scholar
  28. Slovic P, Malmfors T, Mertz C, Neil N, Purchase I (1997) Evaluating chemical risks: results of a survey of the British Toxicology Society. Hum Exp Toxicol 16(6):289–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Smith B, Smith T, Gray G, Ryan M (2007) When epidemiology meets the internet: web-based surveys in the Millennium Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol 166(11):1345–1354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Snyder M, Bell J, Sloan L, Duffy P, Govindasamy B (2002) Climate responses to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide for a climatically vulnerable region. Geophys Res Lett 29(11):1514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stocker T (2004) Climate change: models change their tune. Nature 430(7001):737–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stocker T, Marchal O (2000) Abrupt climate change in the computer: is it real? Natl Acad Sci USA 97(4):1362–1365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. The National Academies (2006) Understanding and responding to climate change: highlights of National Academies reports. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, National Research CouncilGoogle Scholar
  34. UNDP (2004) Adaptation policy frameworks for climate change: developing strategies, policies, and measures. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. UNFCCC (2004) Application of methods and tools for assessing impacts and vulnerability, and developing adaptation responses. Background paper FCCC/SBSTA/2004/INF.13. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Bonn, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  36. USCCSP Subcommittee on Global Change Research (2007) Our changing planet. The US Climate Change Science Program for Fiscal Year 2007. Climate Change Science Program, Washington DC, pp 22–25Google Scholar
  37. Williams K, Ringer M, Senior C (2003) Evaluating the cloud response to climate change and current climate variability. Clim Dynam 20(7):705–721Google Scholar
  38. Yohe G, Tol R (2002) Indicators for social and economic coping capacity-moving toward a working definition of adaptive capacity. Global Environ Chang 12(1):25–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stacy Rosenberg
    • 1
  • Arnold Vedlitz
    • 2
  • Deborah F. Cowman
    • 3
  • Sammy Zahran
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Politics and Environmental Studies ProgramState University of New York at PotsdamPotsdamUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Science, Technology and Public PolicyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Brazos Valley Museum of Natural HistoryBryanUSA
  4. 4.Department of SociologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations