At Scoville, we read a lot of reports and track a lot of coverage on topics related to climate change. We were intrigued recently by a new report that showed who people trust most for information on climate change.
Meteorologists? Climatologists? Their Uncle?
Nope – the answer is: their doctor. That’s right. A Doctor. The Guardian recently covered the story:
“According to a joint study (PDF) conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, primary care physicians are the most trusted source for information on climate change issues related to health. Moreover, this trust is largely consistent across all consumer segments regardless of current beliefs and attitudes toward climate change.”
Part of the reason, is that climate change itself is an abstract idea. Unless you live in Greenland, you’re not likely to see glaciers melting. You can’t see the difference in temperature or even notice a 2cm rise in sea level.
But thanks to climate change, it is possible to feel the difference in other areas. For instance, the ragweed pollen season is lasting 3 weeks longer in the upper Midwest, so we sneeze earlier and often. Increasing heat is leading to greater instances of respiratory issues, so we or people we love are going to the hospital more.
It’s encouraging to know that there are some people that can be trusted as honest brokers of information. Alas, one of the other studies we read recently says more or less the opposite – that attitudes about climate change are based on political beliefs and affiliations more than anything. A recent report in the journal Nature Climate Change found:
“Indeed, political affiliation was the demographic variable most strongly correlated with people’s beliefs about climate change, with people who vote for more liberal political parties being more inclined to believe in climate change.”