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Why Americans Doubt Climate Science:Part of the Climate Crisis Teach-in

A presentation by Peter Jacques, Ph.D.

March 28, 2024, 4:30–5:50 p.m. | Edison 201

Dr. Peter Jacques

In 2023, fifteen percent of surveyed Americans did not think climate change was happening, and 28 percent responded that warming was not caused by human activities. 22 percent were doubtful or dismissive of climate change. Why is this when over, according to a 2021 survey of climate experts found that 98.7 percent of them said the climate is warming and humans are driving this global environmental change? Between confirmed climate experts who published 20 or more peer reviewed papers on climate change between 2015 and 2019,  there was 100% agreement that the Earth is warming mostly because of human activity. At least part of this disconnect is because there has been a US-centered counter-movement organized to cast doubt on climate change science and climate scientists. This effort is organized by policy elites in conservative think tanks who have guided some of our narratives and these narratives have turned an elite-led counter-movement to one that is populist. This discussion will attend to the social science surrounding this climate change counter-movement (CCCM). 

Peter Jacques, Ph.D., is the Rechnitz Family/Urban Coast Institute Endowed Chair in Marine & Environmental Law and Policy at Monmouth University and a member of the Climate Social Science Network which studies climate-related misinformation among other topics. More information on his climate denial research can be found in an interview with Monmouth Magazine.