Public trust scientists on climate change – new poll

By Ros Donald, Carbon Brief

People in the UK overwhelmingly trust scientists more than any other source to give them accurate information about climate change, according to a new survey.

In contrast, politicians and social media come joint last on the list.

According to a new poll conducted for Carbon Brief by pollsters Opinium, 69% of those asked agreed that scientists and meteorologists are trustworthy sources of accurate information about climate science.

Only 7% disagreed that scientists could be trusted to do this.

Next highest came ‘green’ charities such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and BBC journalists and commentators, with 39% and 31% respectively saying they trusted these sources.

But these groups divided opinion – 23% don’t trust green charities, and 25% think the BBC can’t be trusted to provide accurate information.

Sharing last place: politicians and social media 

While scientists topped the trust league table, politicians, blogs and social media came bottom.

Only 7% said they considered politicians to be reliable sources of climate change information – and websites and social didn’t do any better, also scoring a seven per cent rating.

64% said they didn’t think politicians could be trusted to give them accurate information, compared to 53% for social media sources.

Carbon Brief survey


Question: How trustworthy do you think the following information sources are in providing you with accurate information about climate change?

Carbon Brief’s results tally closely with a previous study Ipsos Mori carried out last February for Climate Week of around 1,000 respondents. Asked whose views they trust on climate change, 66% of those asked said they trust scientists the most.

In this survey, celebrities were deemed least trustworthy, with only 1% professing trust in their views on climate change.

A poll last year by press agency Associated Press tells a similar story. 67% of those asked (in the USA) trust what scientists say about the environment either completely or a moderate amount.  21% said they trusted scientists a little and 11% said they didn’t trust them at all.

A survey by Living with Environmental Change differs from the bulk of survey data. It says 51% of those asked said they trusted “independent scientists” to tell the truth about climate change – but only 38% agreed that climate scientists can be trusted to do so, according to the results of a second question.

Carbon Brief polling

Carbon Brief conducted a poll of over 2,000 people, asking questions about their attitudes to climate change and energy policy.

We have released the full results today –  you can download our climate polling results here and the energy findings here.

Here is the table this blog is based on (click image to enlarge):

Carbon Brief survey


This article first appeared on the Carbon Brief website


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