Why the Skepticism on Climate Change?

Around this time last year Business Insider did a story  looking into the reason why people do not believe climate change is happening. The report states that 25 percent of Americans do not believe that it is occurring. The picture on the right is a pie graph with the various reasons people do not believe climate change is occurring. The biggest reason people stated was that they are not feeling the effects, or that the winters are still extremely cold where they live. In the US most people live in the middle latitudes and away from the coasts. This leaves most people in the US with normal seasonal shifts and rising sea levels have no effect on them. In class we discussed how the regions most effected by recent climate changes are people on the other side of the world. The Americans who do not see this, do not see that it is really happening, or the people who do see it, see it as a local problem not a global event.

The second most popular reason people use to explain why climate change is not an issue, state that the Earth naturally cycles in temperature every few hundred years. These people are right about the Earth having a natural temperature cycle, but they are wrong to think that humans are not influencing it. The picture on the left has graphs in varying sections of the world comparing the natural temperature variations of the earth (the purple line) and the changes as the result of human activity (the pink line). As you can see, the pink line tends to be way above the purple line all around the worlds, so this shows that humans are definitely having an impact on global climate change.

Another reason people stated as an explanations was that they felt that there is divide in the scientific community, and there is not; 97% support it and the other 3% have different theories. Only 4% state religion as a reason, and in class I felt like it was discussed as having a bigger effect on people’s beliefs on climate change than is really the case.

Louise Hyneman



8 thoughts on “Why the Skepticism on Climate Change?

  1. I really like the pie graph you included in your post. I think that the top reason is probably my favorite; “its not cold so global warming can’t be happening”. Many of reasons listed are caused from a lack of understanding of the science. Maybe the way we communicate scientific facts needs to be adjusted so all different people will be able to intercept it?

    Anastaza Hicks


  2. The fact the 25% completely think that climate change is not occurring despite all of the evidence is pretty ridiculous. I think it would be interesting to see what percentage of people acknowledge that climate change is happening but that it is not a big issue.
    -Spencer Clark


  3. I think that most people are uncomfortable with the thought of climate change because it is scary to think that humans are capable of doing such a huge and horrible thing. Especially in the United States, people tend to have rather selfish and narrow-minded views unfortunately, and despite the huge hand our country plays in the creation of climate change, most people don’t want to see what’s clearly happening in front of them.

    Tessa Ward


  4. I really liked this post. I will never be able to understand how people can deny climate change. I also agree that religion doesn’t seem to be the reason why people are so unbelieving.

    Megan DeBanto


  5. I think Tessa is right in that people are scared and uncomfortable with the thought of global warming, and that makes them claim that it doesn’t exist. It’s not necessarily that they believe it isn’t happening, rather that they are denying it. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but based on my personal observations, I think it’s more often the case. It doesn’t help that much of what we see in the media (mass/social) or in our products makes the problem an individual problem rather than an institutional one. People don’t want to feel guilty for being a part of the problem, so they deny it exists in the first place.

    Josh Maddux


  6. Many people don’t think it is happening because it doesn’t effect their lives. Even though there is scientific evidence out there to prove it, but the fact that they don’t live by glaciers that are melting more than they should or by some lakes that are drying up due to weather change. it is hard for some people to believe it is truly happening.

    Abigail Cain


  7. People just tend not to pay attention to things that they think do not concern them in this very moment. In the case of climate change it is always in the future and people think that there is someone else who can take care of this issue because there are other things, happening now, that need to be taken care of.

    Tsvetelina Georgiev


  8. I also did my blog post on climate change and was taken back by many of the statistics. Most Americans have little knowledge on how human actions are directly impacting climate change, and many only believe in misconceptions. I found it shocking to see that the vast majority of individuals are likely to believe in the opinions of their relatives in friends as opposed to scientists and factual evidence that has been presented. I think it’s an issue that needs to be discussed more in the media.

    Colleen Crawford


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