It seems as if public has lost curiosity in climate change since 2007 after reaching a high point in 2006, when the media represented the matter as settled science before the IPCC reports were documented in 2007.
However, there is a positive to that as controversy such as ClimateGate could not dent public support. But, the new evidence of global warming is not helping the matter either. People have become disoriented and entrenched with climate change.
Scientists need to reengage people with the effects of climate change and reexamine their work. Conspiracies such as Big Oil and accusing the Republicans for being anti-science actually have no significance when Greenpeace objects Golden Rice, and Democrats tend to get free license for being against GMOs, cleaner energy and vaccines.
Gregory Goldsmith and William Anderegg, specifically examined the effects on public and outlook of two extensively reported, almost concurrent events. The November 2009 emails released from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK found that no scientific delinquency occurred, but the activists' charges inside science were exciting in blocking the research and manipulating papers they did not like led the belief by opponents that climate change was dominantly a political campaign instead of a science issue.
In 2009, it was disclosed that several erroneous documents in the form of grey literature or written by some activists that have not been published were actually utilized in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It says that the Himalayas would melt by 2035, and Africa will suffer from huge farming drops by 2020 were demonstrated without any factual basis. Moreover, melting of the Himalayas by 2035 was just a claim from an interview.
In order to sense the general perception of the people on climate change, Goldsmith and Anderegg examined the freely accessible database Google Trends for "climate change", "global warming" and other related words that people across the globe combed between 2004 and 2013. The investigators documented search trends in Spanish, English, and Chinese, which are considered the top three languages on the web.
It was found that Google searches related to global warming and climate change started to climb after the 2006 publication of the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth' featuring former vice president Al Gore, and the internet searches continued their rise with the release of IPCC's 4th report.
Goldsmith and Anderegg specially examined searches for "climategate" between 1st November and 31st December, 2009. They discovered that the search had a six-day "half-life", denoting that frequency of the search declined by 50 percent every 6 days.
After 22 days, it was found that the number of searches for "climategate" remained just 10 percent of its peak. Details about climategate were searched extensively in the United States, Australia and Canada, whereas the cities with the maximum searchers were Washington D.C, London and Toronto.
On the other hand, the researchers also examined the popularity of the word "global warming hoax" in order to assess the negative effects of climategate along with the IPCC mistake on how the people observe climate change. The researchers discovered that internet searches for the word were higher the year prior to the events when compared during the year afterward.
Anderegg said that moments of great anxiety for climate scientists appear to rarely register on the public mind. The study observes that independent polling statistics specify that these events actually had little effect on the opinions of Americans.
According to Anderegg, "There's a lot of handwringing among scientists, and a belief that these events permanently damaged public trust. What these results suggest is that that's just not true."
Anderegg has an opinion that people with little interest or curiosity in climate change are doubtful to push for procedures that actually tackle the problem. He and Goldsmith advocate communicating in terms that are familiar to the people rather than scientists.
Moreover, their findings propose that majority of the people still associate with the word "global warming" instead of "climate change", although the shift toward accepting the more scientific word is clear.