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Germans no longer fear climate change. This finding was revealed by a survey commissioned by the news magazine SPIEGEL. Only a minority of 42 percent is afraid of global warming.

Hamburg – In November 2006, a clear majority of 62 percent of Germans expressed fear about the consequences of climate change. This has now changed significantly – although the fundamental science about the human impact of global warming remains sound.

Today, a third of Germans considers climate scientists and their predictions – that, inevitably, it will be getting forever warmer – as unreliable. This is evidenced by a representative Infratest survey commissioned by SPIEGEL. One in four respondents even believes that Germany will benefit from climate change.

Similar survey results were recently reported in Britain. The melting confidence in climate science may have something to do with recent revelations of errors and exaggerations in the report of the IPCC.

In response, the first top research organization, the German Leibniz Association which encompasses a number of climate research institutes, has called for the resignation of IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri. Leibniz-President Ernst Rietschel sees climate science “in a difficult situation” because it has rendered itself open to attack by sceptics. Rietschel told SPIEGEL: “Rajendra Pachauri should take responsibility for this and resign.”

The IPCC has been under pressure for months: The embarrassing error in the prediction of the melting of Himalayan glaciers has damaged the credibility of the panel, further undermined by allegations against Pachauri. He allegedly knew about the glaciers error early on but covered it up. In addition, the suspicion that he has a conflict of interest was raised.

SPIEGEL, 27 March 2010