Dan Vergano* has an important piece in USA Today that tries to step out of the climate wars echo chamber (apologies for metaphor butchery) to look at the data on the effect the whole CRUKerfuffleGate thing is having on the body politics. He bases his argument on data from Jon Krosnick, a leading academic pollster on the issue:
Krosnick and his colleagues argue that polling suggesting less interest in fixing climate change might indicate the public has its mind on more immediate problems in the midst of a global economic downturn, with the U.S. unemployment rate stuck at 9.7%. The AAAS-released survey of young people, for example, finds that 82% of them trust scientists for information on global warming and the national average is 74%.
“Very few professions enjoy the level of confidence from the public that scientists do, and those numbers haven’t changed much in a decade,” he says. “We don’t see a lot of evidence that the general public in the United States is picking up on the (University of East Anglia) e-mails. It’s too inside baseball.”
* For those not familiar with his work, Vergano was the 2005 winner of the AGU’s Walter Sullivan Award, the most prestigious award given by earth scientists to a journalist, for his coverage of climate change.