Thursday, November 7, 2013

Doubts grow on man-made climate change

Mecklenburg County residents are becoming more dubious about man-made climate change even as scientists become more sure of it, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute's annual survey shows.

Three out of four residents still believe climate change is a serious problem. But the number who say it's not a problem has doubled since 2012, to 14 percent, the survey shows.

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute 2013 Annual Survey data
And while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in September raised its confidence that humans are the main driver of warming to 95 percent, Mecklenburg finds that proposition less convincing.

Fewer than 40 percent of those surveyed blame human activity, significantly lower than the 45.5 percent who said so in 2012.

A Pew Research Center poll in June found Americans generally less concerned about climate change than people in the rest of the world.

The Urban Institute quotes assistant earth-science professor Manda Adams, who studies the interaction between weather, climate and energy systems, as saying "there's still a lot of confusion in the general public" about climate change.

Most climate scientists, she notes, no longer debate causes. Instead, she says, they focus on the "lots of little parts that we don't have an understanding of yet."