It would probably come as a shock to most climatologists that though THEY are becoming clearer every day about the increasing scope and magnitude of the climate changes currently taking place on our planet, the public around them is becoming more confused.

A new survey by Yale University (PDF) proves how effective the public disinformation campaign (see Climate Cover-Up) has been. Just two years ago, 71 percent of Americans answered “Yes” to this question:

Do you think global warming is happening?
Now two years later, just 57 percent answered yes. That means that a full 1/5 of the people who thought climate change was real have now migrated to various states of confusion. If anyone thinks they are doing a good job right now of communicating about the climate, they should be humbled by this statistic — close to 3/4 of the population needs more information to make up their minds on global warming:

As I blogged recently (re: Climategate) climate scientists are a geeky bunch who care little about public opinion. The quality of not being interested in or swayed by public opinion would normally be considered a positive attribute for a scientist. But in the highly politicized terrain of climatology, it is a quality that has caused great damage to the cause, in particular the demand for a carbon text on the world’s biggest polluters.

Much of this damage, it appears, has taken place in the past year. With Obama in the White House, it seems everyone let their guard down and the extreme right has taken advantage of this fact. Of the survey respondents 41 percent have become “much more sure” that climate change is NOT happening, versus 28 percent that are more sure it is happening.

This should be a dramatic wake-up call to American citizens who hope one day they can power up their homes using clean, made-in-America energy. A strong energy bill that limits carbon emissions via a carbon tax on the 7,500 worst polluters is the only thing that can stimulate enough innovation in the private sector to make a difference NOW, before we pass the point of no return and become utterly dependent on foreign fuel imports and power companies that have no problem ravaging the last square inch of the most beautiful country in the world for a few more days of “cheap” energy.

ANY version of a bill that requires the top 7,500 polluters to make substantial emissions reductions will NEVER pass without widespread public support, especially considering all the lobbyists and the heaps of cash being lobbed at our elected officials.

But I digress ...

There is another interesting poll (PDF) that just came out by none other than conservative pollster Frank Luntz and — SURPRISE! — it paints a very different picture from the Yale Study. According to his survey, 82 percent of the population either definitely, probably or possibly thinks climate change is real.

OK, now are you now totally confused about who’s confused? Don’t worry, I think I have the answer ... Click on Part 2

A tale of two climate polls
wo new studies on how Americans perceive climate change is a testament to public confusion and an urgent call for better messaging from the scientific communit