If you're curious what a motivated political campaign to undermine established science looks like, allow Gallup and its new poll of climate change attitudes to demonstrate. There is no serious objection among scientists that the climate is changing. There are disputes about the manifestations of that change, about how rapidly it will happen, and about how to curtail it — but there's no doubt it's a problem.
Last December, James Lawrence Powell, a member of the National Science Board which advises Washington on scientific matters, compiled all of the peer-reviewed studies on climate change between 1991 and 2012. This is how the articles supporting the existence of climate change compare to those rejecting it.
And here is what Gallup found when it asked Americans whether or not they believed there was scientific consensus on the issue.
Or, to put it more starkly, here's the difference between what the research indicates and Americans' perception of that research.
This is not an accident. Opponents of action on climate change — largely companies reliant on fossil fuel consumption to keep costs low or for their profit bases — have deliberately worked to introduce the idea that there is a scientific controversy about climate change. (See, for example, the Union of Concerned Scientists' report on ExxonMobil's efforts to that end.) That idea has taken hold.