The big news from this new study is no news — the public are more bored with climate change than ever, and the trend is down. The fever peaked in 2007, and the last great spike of interest was in late 2009 when ClimateGate finished it off. Though that’s not the way Anderegg sees it.
Anderegg infamously published the blacklist of scientists in PNAS, so we know he struggles with the scientific method. Here, flawed assumptions render the conclusions a wishful fantasy. Anderegg argues that ClimateGate was not a big deal, didn’t affect opinions much, and (yawn) climate scientists need to do better communication. He’s wrong. His study misses the major damage — by assuming that the public are a uniform block his research could never uncover that the real effects of ClimateGate were devastating and irreversible. The scandal changed the opinions that matter — those of the smart engaged thinkers and leaders. I noted at the time that ClimateGate had put a rocket under the layer of influential busy achievers like never before. Suddenly people who hadn’t taken much interest in the debate were fired into action by the fraud. The nodes of influence shifted – as I said [...]