November 10, 2010 11:48AM

The Shocking Truth: The Scientific American Poll on Climate Change

November’s Scientific American features a profile of Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Judith Curry, who has committed the mortal sin of reaching out to other scientists who hypothesize that global warming isn’t the disaster it’s been cracked up to be. I have personal experience with this, as she invited me to give a research seminar in Tech’s prestigious School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in 2008. My lecture summarizing the reasons for doubting the apocalyptic synthesis of climate change was well‐​received by an overflow crowd.

Written by Michael Lemonick, who hails from the shrill blog Climate Central, the article isn’t devoid of the usual swipes, calling her a “heretic„ which is hardly at all true. She’s simply another hardworking scientist who lets the data take her wherever it must, even if that leads her to question some of our more alarmist colleagues. 

But, as a make‐​up call for calling attention to Curry, Scientific American has run a poll of its readers on climate change. Remember that SciAm has been shilling for the climate apocalypse for years, publishing a particularly vicious series of attacks on Denmark’s Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist. The magazine also featured NASA’s James Hansen and his outlandish claims on sea‐​level rise. Hansen has stated, under oath in a deposition, that a twenty foot rise is quite possible within the next 89 years; oddly, he has failed to note that in 1988 he predicted that the West Side Highway in Manhattan would go permanently under water in twenty years.

SciAm probably expected a lot of people would agree with the key statement in their poll that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is “an effective group of government representatives and other experts.”

Hardly. As of this morning, only 16% of the 6655 respondents agreed. 84%—that is not a typo—described the IPCC as “a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.” 

The poll also asks “What should we do about climate change?” 69% say “nothing, we are powerless to stop it.” When asked about policy options, an astonishingly low 7% support cap‐​and‐​trade, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June, 2009, and cost approximately two dozen congressmen their seats.

The real killer is question “What is causing climate change?” For this one, multiple answers are allowed. 26% said greenhouse gases from human activity, 32% solar variation, and 78% “natural processes.” (In reality all three are causes of climate change.)

And finally, “How much would you be willing to pay to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change?” 80% of the respondents said “nothing.”

Remember that this comes from what is hardly a random sample. Scientific American is a reliably statist publication and therefore appeals to a readership that is skewed to the left of the political center. This poll demonstrates that virtually everyone now acknowledges that the UN has corrupted climate science, that climate change is impossible to stop, and that futile attempts like cap‐​and‐​trade do nothing but waste money and burn political capital, things that Cato’s scholars have been saying for years.