Poll: Americans Deny Climate Change, Find GMO Food Unsafe

Posted by: : Paul EbelingPosted on: January 31, 2015 Poll: Americans Deny Climate Change, Find GMO Food Unsafe

Poll: Americans Deny Climate Change, Find GMO Food Unsafe

The study points to the gap between the opinions held by scientists and the general public in the US on climate and food issues

A poll of US opinions has revealed that huge numbers of people consider GMO food unsafe to eat, and doubt that human activity is warming the planet, aka Climate Change.

The report by the Pew Research Center in Washington DC was conducted with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and sought to compare the opinions of a cross-section of the US public with those held by the AAAS’s scientific members as published in the Journal Science.

The US has embraced GMO (genetically modified) crops, with 170.4-M acres given to their cultivation, but the survey suggests the technology is still regarded as contentious by a significant portion of US society. A striking 57% of the American public surveyed by Pew believed that GMO foods are unsafe to eat. The overwhelming view of the scientists, was that the food was safe, with 88% having no concerns about eating GMO foods.

Perhaps the most contentious issue the survey touched on is Climate Change, where only 50% of the population agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change view that climate change was mostly driven by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels. About 50% said there was either no good evidence for global warming, or that the recent warming of the Earth was due to natural climate variability.

Another study found that an overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly 50% of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by the NY-Ts, Stanford University, and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.

In a finding that could have implications for the Y 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that 67% of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting Climate Change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science of human-caused global warming.

Scientists and the broader public disagreed most strongly about the safety of GMO foods, though their views differed substantially on Climate Change too, with 87% of scientists believing that Climate Change was mostly caused by human activity.

The Chief Executive of the AAAS, said the survey revealed a worrying gulf between the opinions held by scientists and the general public. “There is a disconnect between the way in which the public perceives the state of science and science’s position on a variety of issues,” he said. “And that’s a cause of concern.”

Cary Funk, lead author of the report, said the number of issues that scientists and the public disagreed on, and the amount to which they disagreed, were both surprising. One of the few issues the two groups did agreed on was that the International Space Station had been a good investment for the country.

There were some other areas where scientists and the public shared concerns. Both delivered damning verdicts on US science education, the K-12 primary and secondary school system. Among the general public, 68% considered US science education average or below average, and an overwhelming proportion of scientists, 84%, agreed with them.

In some cases, a poor science education was at the heart of the differences in opinion.

Sometimes it’s simply a lack of understanding, sometimes it’s an economic or a political issue, and sometimes it’s a conflict between, say core values, and what science is showing. In all of these cases, science is being trumped by these other factors and scientists need to do something to turn that around.”

It’s not about whether the public is dumb or not.

It is partly a function of the American educational system that does a very poor job at educating young people in science, math and technology.

Perhaps reflecting a common skepticism over Climate Change, the survey found greater support among the public for fracking and offshore drilling than among the scientists. Enthusiasm for building more nuclear power plants was far higher among the scientists than the public, with 65% Vs 45% in favor.

The scientists should strike up respectful dialogues with groups in community clubs, science museums and religious institutions. The opinion gap must not be allowed to swell into an unbridgeable abyss.

We need to have what science is showing be represented accurately and for people to at least have that in their toolbox when they make their own decisions. It works against the benefit of humankind for people to have distorted views of the facts.

Stay tuned…


Paul Ebeling


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Paul Ebeling

Pattern Recognition Analyst, equities, commodities, forex
Paul Ebeling is best known for his work as writer and publisher of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly-regarded, weekly financial market letter, where he enjoys an international audience among opinion makers, business leaders, and respected organizations. Something of a pioneer in online stock market and commodities discussion and analysis, Ebeling has been online since 1994. He has studied and worked in the global financial and stock markets since 1984.

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  • mememine

    What’s to “believe”?
    It’s been 34 years of science NEVER putting their scientific method aside to say their own; “POSSIBLE THREAT TO THE PLANET” is “PROVEN”.
    If “could be” is good enough for you to condemn your own children to the exaggerated greenhouse gas ovens then who’s really the fear mongering neocon?
    *Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians.

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