Climate change denial is less popular than abolishing the monarchy


8:55 am - June 26th 2013

by Leo Barasi    


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I said in my previous post that talking about climate denial is a mistake for campaigners, for various reasons, including that doubts about climate science are far less widespread than usually seems to be imagined.

Without wanting to labour the point, a new international Pew poll has just shown this again. The poll listed various possible global threats, and for each asked whether respondents consider them to be major or minor threats, or not to be threats.

For UK perceptions of climate change, the poll found the biggest group to be those who consider it a major threat (about half), followed by those who say it’s a minor threat (about a third), with only a small group saying it’s not a threat:

That 13% is about the same as the proportion in the Carbon Brief poll who said “climate change will probably never be a serious problem”.

To put this in perspective, about 18% want Britain to become a republic. So the view that climate change isn’t a threat is significantly less widespread than the desire to abolish the monarchy.

From the way rejection of climate science is treated as a major phenomenon, you might not have guessed.

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About the author
Leo is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He manages communications for a small policy organisation, and writes about polling and info from public opinion surveys at Noise of the Crowd
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Reader comments


1. MarkAustin

However, this says nothing about man-made climate change. It is perfectly possible to believe that climate change—which is undoubtedly happening—is a major threat without believeing that it is man-made. On this issue I’m a genuine sceptic: the climate is definately warming, but I don’t find the arguments that it is man-made particulary convincing.

The stat that stands out for me here is that the majority of people don’t believe climate change is a major threat. Of course they’re right.

Which rather leaves the question of which party these people should vote for in order to stop their hard earned cash being pissed against a
wall in carbon trading frauds and windmill subsidies.

Just a minute. There isn’t one….

3. Paul peter Smith

There hasn’t been any warming since 1998, new evidence points to CFC’S interacting with cosmic rays being responsible for the heat ‘spike’ of the 70’s – 90’s. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere has caused significant new plant growth world wide. I could go on and on as the science of climate change is very far from certain. The politics of climate change however are clearly the worst kind of Malthusian rubbish and a vision of a much scarier future.

4. Baton Rouge

#1 `However, this says nothing about man-made climate change. It is perfectly possible to believe that climate change—which is undoubtedly happening—is a major threat without believeing that it is man-made. On this issue I’m a genuine sceptic: the climate is definately warming, but I don’t find the arguments that it is man-made particulary convincing.’

Real dumb argument. Man made or not man made. You agree that climate warming is taking place then you will know what causes it: greenhouse gases. We can prevent it by reducing our emissions of these even if it’s not our fault which, by the way, it is and in so doing returning the earth to the ommission/absorbtion equilibrium being the condition that allowed us to thrive in the first place. Simples.

“The stat that stands out for me here is that the majority of people don’t believe climate change is a major threat. Of course they’re right.”

Your claim to be an expert in climatology might be more convincing if you were able to count.

6. So Much For Subtlety

4. Baton Rouge

Real dumb argument. Man made or not man made. You agree that climate warming is taking place then you will know what causes it: greenhouse gases. We can prevent it by reducing our emissions of these even if it’s not our fault which, by the way, it is and in so doing returning the earth to the ommission/absorbtion equilibrium being the condition that allowed us to thrive in the first place. Simples.

Wow. That is an amazingly stupid argument. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, I agreed that global warming was taking place. And that it was not man-made. Perhaps it was caused by cosmic rays as seems possible. Perhaps we simply do not know. We do not know that greenhouse gases are the only source of warming after all. If so, we do not know that reducing emissions may reduce it. It may. It may not. We do not know. We discover this week that cleaning up coal causes hurricances. Great. The real world is a complex dynamic system about which we know f**k all.

So your comment is beyond asinine into arrogant, wilfull absurd levels of lacking in self-awareness.

7. David Walsh

trouble is, is that the 83% who see it as a major or minor threat, will almost certainly be amongst those who will oppose a wind farm anywhere near to where they live………………………..

@4. Baton Rouge#1 “`However, this says nothing about man-made climate change. It is perfectly possible to believe that climate change—which is undoubtedly happening—is a major threat without believeing that it is man-made. On this issue I’m a genuine sceptic: the climate is definately warming, but I don’t find the arguments that it is man-made particulary convincing.’

Real dumb argument. Man made or not man made. You agree that climate warming is taking place then you will know what causes it: greenhouse gases. We can prevent it by reducing our emissions of these even if it’s not our fault which, by the way, it is and in so doing returning the earth to the ommission/absorbtion equilibrium being the condition that allowed us to thrive in the first place. Simples”

Actually no. If it is not man-made, then the cause is not greenhouse gases (principally CO2). One thing we can be certain of is that the computer models being used are wrong, as they totally fail to predict the slow-down over the last 10+ years. There is some evidence of a warming solar cycle, and Paul peter Smith above proposes another option. Although his option does make it man-made, it also means it’s a declining problem, since CFCs are no longer being generated, and are gradually being purged from the atmosphere by natural causes.

The Green lobby has fixated on greenhouse gases to the exclusion of all else: it has always been a fear of mine that this would blow up in their/our faces, and lead to to a general attitude of doubt about all environmental issues.

9. Baton Rouge

So the people who now admit that climate warming is definitely happening now tell us we cannot know what is causing it even though we know how green house gases work. Thickos.

If warming is taking place even if it is not our fault which it is we should still do all we can in our power to slow it down and reverse it and what we can do is stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an alarming rate.

You fucking weirdos and your cosmic rays should just sit in the corner with your tin foil hats whilst the adults get on with it.

@ Bob

“Your claim to be an expert in climatology might be more convincing if you were able to count.”

You’ll have to explain that I’m afraid.

52 per cent was a majority last time I looked.

9 is the exact type of thing that needs to be keept out of politics. 0.001% knowledge 100% ego and some inner grievance
that can only be adressed by saving teh!!!! earth and ramming his version of what is down the rest of the worlds throats.

Imagine society without that kind of personality throughout history..no wars…no blocks to real progress…

35 + 13 = 48

13. Baton Rouge

11. `Imagine society without that kind of personality throughout history..no wars…no blocks to real progress…’

What you talking about? No war, no blocks to real progress if the world consisted only of right wing cunts like yourself? Get real fart arse.

What you talking about? No war, no blocks to real progress if the world consisted only of right wing cunts like yourself? Get real fart arse.
____

These are the people who take it on them selves to control Your life 😆

15. Paul peter Smith

@ Baton Rouge
No one has ever contested the fact that the climate changes, it always has and always will. Whats being contested is whether man made emission’s have a significant affect. The earth has been in a warming trend for approx. 3 million years interspersed with the odd ice age, but that increase comes on the back of a 500 million low. These timescales should give you an idea of how pathetic an incomplete data set we have going back at most 150 years. Greenhouse gases are understood in principle but the countless interconnected feedbacks are not and this is where the informed debate is to be found.
Lastly, cosmic rays/ radiation are a well establshed part of modern physis, you may find this book useful – Tha Big Book of Basic Physics (pop-up version)

Again, Paul, an inability to spell “physics” does tend to undermine a claim to be an expert in it.

Having said that, when your opponent’s argument consists of a stream of foul mouthed abuse, I don’t suppose you need to be Stephen Hawking.

17. andrew adams

MarkAustin,

Genuine question – given that you accept that the earth is warming what do you think is lacking in the current best explanation we have; that it is caused by human activity, primarily the emissions of greenhouse gases?

After all, we know that the presence of GHGs in the atmosphere has increased sharply since pre-industrial times and that human activity is responsible for this. We understand very well the radiative properties of GHGs and that their presence in the atmosphere causes the earth to be warmer than it would otherwise be. Therefore there is an a priori expectation that increasing levels of GHGs will lead to warmer temperatures. Yes, there is uncertainty over the extent of the warming we will see, but even at the low end of expectations increases in GHGs can account for most if not all of the warming we have seen.

And that doesn’t change because someone comes up with another superficially plausible explanation. Even if some of those alternative theories could be shown to hold water that wouldn’t in itself affect our understanding of how GHGs behave in the atmosphere, it would actually create a bigger puzzle. But then they don’t – it’s been shown that the effect of cosmic rays on cloud nucleation is too insignificant to have a major effect on global temeratures and there is no correlation between GCRs and temperature increases anyway. The claim about CFCs has been pushed for years but there is no real evidence to support it. As far as solar activity is concerned, yes it can explain some of the early 20C warming but the correlation breaks down after the middle of the century. In fact we have recently had a particularly weak solar minimum which could partially explain why temperatures have been fairly flat in recent years.

18. Shatterface

The percentage who think climate change is a Major Threat (48%) is the same as the percentage of 16-24s who think there will be a clash of civilizations with Muslims (for over 60s it’s much higher):

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/06/21/stark-polling-how-views-towards-muslims-differ-among-britons/

It’s also the score that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 gets on Rotten Tomatoes.

Which just goes to show how useful comparing percentages is.

19. Paul peter Smith

Apologies for the spelling, large fingers small phone!

20. Man on Clapham Omnibus

2. Pagar

‘The stat that stands out for me here is that the majority of people don’t believe climate change is a major threat. Of course they’re right’

Do have the science to back this up.If so can you forward it to us so we can see it.

21. Man on Clapham Omnibus

17. andrew adams

Solar variance can explain a .16 C variation so it is irrelevant as are any of the other explanations countered.
The worst thing is as the models are being refined the picture gets even worse; like really bad. The latest info based on a new understanding of how plants and trees react to higher concentrations of CO2 suggest a conservative 4 degress by 2050 rising to 8 + by 2100. There is also a retrospective view amongst the scientific comunity that when GHG levels achieved the 245ppm mark there was no turning back. That was in 2008 from memory.
In short the planet is dying and by 2100 most of the species on it will be dead.
The medium term 4 degree change is frequently bandied about in military circles because rather than terrorism , global warming is seen to be the biggest political desabiliser in the future. I wonder what BBC breakfast will make of all this!

22. Man on Clapham Omnibus

15. Paul peter Smith

cosmic ray physics isnt a sound explanation of global warming however which was Baton Rouges point I think.

23. andrew adams

Paul peter Smith,

The earth has been in a warming trend for approx. 3 million years interspersed with the odd ice age, but that increase comes on the back of a 500 million low. These timescales should give you an idea of how pathetic an incomplete data set we have going back at most 150 years.

Of course climate has changed in the past over many different timescales, this is entirely uncontroversial. What we are concerned about is what is happening over human timescales and our data set over the last 150 years is pretty robust, certainly when compared to historical measurements when we have to rely on proxies.

cosmic rays/ radiation are a well establshed part of modern physis, you may find this book useful – Tha Big Book of Basic Physics (pop-up version)

Sure, now can you provide a citation for an established link between cosmic rays and changes to climate?

24. andrew adams

21. Man on Clapham Omnibus

The latest info based on a new understanding of how plants and trees react to higher concentrations of CO2 suggest a conservative 4 degress by 2050 rising to 8 + by 2100.

I can’t say I’ve seen this. Do you have a link?

The worst thing is as the models are being refined the picture gets even worse; like really bad.
____

O O O ~!

The world has not heard any of this before, and now its “Really!” bad? About the tenth thousand end of the world prediction but you are doing it better these days, so long into the future and all, you get to rob the world senseless and not have to answer for it.

In short the planet is dying and by 2100 most of the species on it will be dead.
___

Would not have to laugh at you so much if you knew what the planet was…

26. Paul peter Smith

I dont have the precise links to hand as I’m on the train home but I recall that theregister.co.uk ran an article ‘CERN experiment confirms cosmic rays influence clouds’ by Andrew Orlowski (apologies if name mis-spelled). Recent research on interaction of CR’s on CFC’S was published in New Scientist recently but i cant track it down on the mobile version. Also Natural news reported on a press release, ‘NASA verifies CO2 cools atmosphere’ by Ethan Huff. I will try to post better links when i get home ( children permitting). For the record I am neither pro nor anti anything, I want to know the truth but it seems like everyone else has an agenda to sell.

27. Paul peter Smith

Re: 150 years of robust data.
The robust part of the data only goes back to WW II on anything like a global scale. Prior to that data was collected wherever a white middle class parson had enough spare time to consider themselves an amateur naturalist. This means we have some great data for the home counties and some widely scattered points around the empire. The bits where only black people lived are a bit sparse on documentary evidence.

On cosmic rays, there was certainly a lot of speculation in recent years that they might play a significant role in cloud nucleation and so have an influence on climate. In particular skeptics had great hopes of the CLOUD project at CERN. However, their hopes have been dashed.

From Erlykin 2013

Our analysis shows that, although important in cloud physics the results do not lead to the conclusion that cosmic rays affect atmospheric clouds significantly, at least if H2SO4 is the dominant source of aerosols in the atmosphere. An analysis of the very recent studies of stratospheric aerosol changes following a giant solar energetic particles event shows a similar negligible effect. Recent measurements of the cosmic ray intensity show that a former decrease with time has been reversed. Thus, even if cosmic rays enhanced cloud production, there would be a small global cooling, not warming.

I checked out that piece by Ethan Huff and it seems to be junk. Read the actual NASA report

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/22mar_saber/

there is nothing in there which suggests anything unusual or unexpected occurred, or that CO2 is not a GHG. In fact as far as I can tell it is precisely the IR radiative properties of CO2 which make it a GHG which are responsible for the observed atmospheric response to the solar storms.

@ MOCO

In short the planet is dying and by 2100 most of the species on it will be dead.

Suggest you put this on a sandwich board and walk up and down cinema queues.

If you can find one.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-kRp5oyf_0EM/T4XLfuklBzI/AAAAAAAAET4/hDbsPgJO-54/s1600/repent-the-end-is-nigh-ye-must-be-cleansed.png

31. Robin Levett

@Peter paul Smith #26:

I dont have the precise links to hand as I’m on the train home but I recall that theregister.co.uk ran an article ‘CERN experiment confirms cosmic rays influence clouds’ by Andrew Orlowski…

Oh, dear. I love BOFH on The Register – but that series, and Orlowski’s views on climate change, share a common characteristic – they’re both largely fictional.

Also Natural news reported on a press release, ‘NASA verifies CO2 cools atmosphere’ by Ethan Huff.

You might like to take a closer look at that. The reference is to CO2’s role in abosrbing and re-radiating particles deriving from a CME; ie incoming particles. The effect is to cool the Earth – and to that extent to warm space…

The GHE however deals with IR radiation seeking to exit Earth. Join the dots.

32. Robin Levett

@Paul peter Smith #26 (again):

Sorry – missed this:

I want to know the truth but it seems like everyone else has an agenda to sell.

If you’re reading Orlowski and (apparently) Mr Huff, then I’m not surprised you get that impression. Try reading people who know what they’re talking abiut; or even just compare the NASA study and Huff’s 180-degree wrong “interpretation” of it. You’ve been given the link above.

33. Paul peter Smith

I’m not endorsing either article, they were quick examples to support my original post that climate science is for from decided. Natural news and Ethan Huff have a clear agenda, but its not one of denial rather to question big government narratives. The real threats to human survival are the plastification of the seas and corruption of fresh water sources. Not climate change which we have survived many times.

34. Robin Levett

@Paul peter Smith #33:
(Sorry – got your name the wrong way round before)

I’m not endorsing either article, they were quick examples to support my original post that climate science is for from decided

How do articles written by non-scientists with clear agendas say anything about the state of climate science?

The scientific literature is pretty clear; and the fact that neither Orlowski’s and Huff’s pieces withstand any examination means they aren’t going to be challenging that any time soon.

35. Paul peter Smith

They illustrate my point that the debate is still on. The science of climate change first came to my attention in the late 70’s when the greenhouse theory was being used to predict a new ice age prompting calls for collective global cooperation. The obsereved data at the time contradicted this as we well know, showing a warming trend. This led to the theory morphing into global warming in the 80’s and renewed calls for a dilution of national sovereignty. Warming theory itself ran into problems with observed data showing no warming since 1998. This durable little meme didn’t give up but became climate change with yet more cries for collective subservience. Can you see a theme repeating itself, so back to my original post – whatever dangers face us due to our poor guardianship of this planet are nothing compared to the political horror that is pushing such pseudo humanitarian/green projects as Agenda 21.

36. Robin Levett

@Paul peter Smith #35:

The science of climate change first came to my attention in the late 70?s when the greenhouse theory was being used to predict a new ice age prompting calls for collective global cooperation.

You can produce something elsewhere than from the pen of Nigel Calder (then and now a denialist), then, can’t you?

37. So Much For Subtlety

36. Robin Levett

You can produce something elsewhere than from the pen of Nigel Calder (then and now a denialist), then, can’t you?

The original edition of James Lovelock’s Gaia talked about the coming global cooling problem. And advocated the release of massive amounts of CFCs to keep the planet warm.

38. Paul peter Smith

37 SMFS
I’d forgotten about Lovelock, he’s been deeply entrenched anti-human for so long I consider him a constant that can be ignored ( like the IPCC climate model does with the sun). I think i have a very early edition of ‘Gaia’ in the attic. Its in the same box as Rene Dubois ‘Only one earth’, if you like discredited fear based scarcity memes then give it a go. Anyone else with an hilarious, ‘right on’ book archive from their youth?

@3 Paul Peter Smith

Oh dear, people still read heartland institute’s convenient lies. And then think they have squished AGW, when in the real world we can see the truth. Even Charles Koch has stopped directly funding it, after his own pet project to try to debunk the temperature record confirmed that temperatures are rising.

Denialist memes are all tackled on this site:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
Have a read of it all please. Btw it is all solidly backed up with links to actual science. Unlike the tinfoil hat brigade elsewhere…

Mind you, “CFCs interacting with cosmic rays” is a perfectly delightful mash up of 2 separate memes. Can that be parsed into something that makes sense?

40. Paul peter Smith

Thanks for the link, genuinely, I hadn’t come across it before. With reference to my original post I was proposing that CR interaction with CFC’s was responsible for the blip in obseserved data in 70 – 90’s, the exact opposite of them causing climate change.
Never heard of heartland institute.

41. Dissident

@ 40

The Heartland institute is a US based ultra-conservative free market type of think tank, that lobbies the US government on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. It uses the same tactics on AGW that was used in the 60s for big tobacco.

Cosmic rays and CFCs are a favourite from them, btw.


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