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There are plenty of places where you can find dodgy information about climate change. If you’re the arguing (“debating”) type, you have likely, at some point, been exasperated by the obviously low quality of the sources cited by your opponent (or uncle). Setting aside the occasional conspiratorial mind who believes “those scientists” can’t be trusted, who does everyone else actually trust on the topic?
A survey project led by the University of New Hampshire’s Lawrence Hamilton and Jessica Brunacini and Stephanie Pfirman of Columbia University asked about 700 people in the US this question. Specifically, they asked whether people trusted the leaders in their political party, their faith, their friends and family, websites they frequent, science agencies like NASA, or Fox News.
The most trusted source of climate information was, encouragingly, science agencies, which got the thumbs up from 73 percent of the respondents. Unsurprisingly, family and friends were second at 37 percent; research has shown that a primary factor behind climate change opinions is cultural identity—harmonizing views with family and friends. In this survey, Fox News brought up the rear at just 19 percent.
from last August turned up the same patterns.
So despite public disagreement over whether the results of climate science should be accepted, most people in the US acknowledge that climate scientists like NASA’s can be trusted—and that their work should continue to be funded.