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Item #d92may115

Three independent groups have recently surveyed opinions of scientists on global climate change, and a fourth organization has circulated a petition to atmospheric scientists.

The Center for Science, Technology, and Media (CSTM) in Washington arranged for a Gallup poll of about 400 climate scientists randomly selected from the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. CSTM concluded from the results that there is more uncertainty expressed by scientists than is reflected in news media reports on the topic. (See Reports.)

Greenpeace International surveyed 400 climate scientists, many of whom were involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and reported the 113 responses received as of late January 1992 (just prior to one of the climate treaty negotiation sessions). Asked if there is a serious risk of a runaway greenhouse effect under continued business-as-usual policies, 15 percent said probably, 36 percent possibly, and 53 percent probably not. Other questions involved opinions on the progress of climate negotiations and whether the work of climate scientists has been taken seriously enough. (See New Scientist, p. 19, Feb. 5, 1992.) A summary is available from the Greenpeace Global Warming Dept., 1436 U St. NW, S. 300, Washington DC 20009 (202-462-1177).

The Center for Policy Research, State University of New York at Albany, distributed a survey through the OMNET computer network, receiving 118 responses primarily from atmospheric and oceanic scientists and physicists. Participants were asked opinions on the likelihood of IPCC predictions of climate change and about their reactions to several statements made by prominent scientists. Results indicated substantial disagreement about predictions of global warming, but considerable agreement that taking action soon is the proper policy. In contrast to the other surveys, this one devotes considerable attention to the representativeness of the sample and to the validity of conclusions that may be drawn. Part of the project was a comparison with six previous surveys of scientists, including the two mentioned above. (See Reports/General Interest, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--May 1992.)

Finally, S. Fred Singer, who recently organized a survey of the IPCC scientists with Jay S. Winston (GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST, News Notes, Jan. 1992), arranged for a statement to be circulated to 300 atmospheric scientists, selected largely but not entirely randomly from the membership of the American Meteorological Society. At least 50 have signed their names to the strongly worded statement, which opposes the rush to drastic policies being developed for the Earth Summit "without taking notice of recent changes in the underlying science." Contact the Science and Environmental Policy Project, 1015 18th St. NW, S. 300, Washington DC 20036 (202-293-7440).

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