Scientific advocacy, environmental interest groups, and climate change: are climate skeptic portrayals of climate scientists as biased accurate? Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Public discourse on climate change often refers to possible bias among climate scientists as a rationale for limited climate policy action by the United States. Part of this discussion is the association of scientists with environmental interest groups and whether such affiliations facilitate the perception that climate scientists lack objectivity. While surveys suggest that some climate scientists disapprove of affiliations with interest groups, recent research indicates that climate scientists are quite likely to be involved with environmental organizations. This paper compares the affiliations of scientists and the general public to discern whether scientists are uniquely likely to affiliate with interest groups or they simply share characteristics common to the public who also affiliate with these organizations. Our findings suggest that climate scientists are no more likely to donate money, but are less likely to sign a petition or attend a demonstration, when controlling for other factors. These results strengthen our understanding of the affiliations between scientists and interest groups and hold implications for the accuracy of popular perceptions of climate scientists.

altmetric score

  • 10.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Bromley-Trujillo, R., Stoutenborough, J. W., & Vedlitz, A.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • December 2015