UNH Research Finds Majority of Americans Trust NASA on Climate Change


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Who do you trust for information about climate change?

DURHAM, N.H. – Seventy-three percent of Americans trust science agencies like NASA for information about climate change, according to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. This includes a substantial majority within every political group.

In addition, a follow-up survey by the researchers found more than 80 percent of survey respondents – again including majorities in all political groups – favor continuing or expanding NASA’s Earth observations programs rather than cutting them.

“NASA and scientists in general know they face challenges in communicating the results, reasoning and importance of their work to the public,” the researchers said. “That is true now more than ever, as the scientific community interacts with a Trump administration that has been widely dismissive of science. As NASA scientists continue to carry out and communicate Earth observations, efforts to curtail their work will not find a sympathetic public, even among partisans.”

Original data was collected for the nationwide Polar, Environment and Sciences (POLES) survey conducted just after the election and for a statewide follow-up survey in May. Similarly, high trust in NASA climate science was found on a separate survey conducted last August. The full report can be found here: https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/eyes-earth

The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and senior Carsey fellow; Jessica Brunacini, assistant director of the Polar Learning and Responding (PoLAR) Climate Change Education Partnership at the Earth Institute of Columbia University; and Stephanie Pfirman, Hirschorn professor of environmental sciences at Barnard College, Columbia University, and director of PoLAR.

The Carsey School of Public Policy conducts research, leadership development, and engaged scholarship relevant to public policy. They address pressing challenges, striving for innovative, responsive, and equitable solutions at all levels of government and in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.