Writing on DeSmog (November 30, 2022), NCSE's Deputy Director Glenn Branch dissected a recent press release from the climate-change-denying Heartland Institute that inadvertently undermined its longstanding denial of a scientific consensus on climate change.
With the headline "97% consensus on climate change? Survey shows only 59% of scientists expect significant harm," the press release claimed that a new poll of scientists debunks the estimated extent of scientific consensus. In fact, Branch observes, even though Heartland's poll was conducted among scientists who are generally not climate experts and so is not strictly comparable to research on the consensus, it still found that over 90% of its respondents agreed that climate change is occurring and is largely due to human activity.
Branch also explained that the headline of Heartland's press release was a bait-and-switch approach: "None of the 97% research addressed the issue of the harmful effects of climate change. Yet Heartland focuses on this issue as it tries to snatch a delusive victory from the jaws of statistical defeat." But he added that there is indeed ample evidence, albeit not from survey research, for a scientific consensus on the significant danger posed by climate change, citing the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"The Heartland Institute's recent press release represents yet another attempt to cloud the scientific consensus in order to delay, derail, or degrade action on climate change," Branch concluded. "Unfortunately, it won't be the last — or, perhaps, the most absurd."