Thursday, February 25, 2010

Public scepticism over climate change - Ipsos Mori poll.

The Guardian reports an Ipsos Mori poll finding that 69% of the public do not think that climate change is a reality.

The fact is that CC is a reality, even for professional AGW deniers; the godfather of deniers, Patrick Michaels, accepts that the global climate is changing, and even that CO2 plays a part, though he disputes the magnitude of CO2's input. This was shown in the first film of Iain Stewart's Earth Wars, though it is not now available. Patrick Michaels has received much money from business with a reason to continue pumping out CO2.

So the 69% is badly informed. Although only 10% are definitely convinced climate change is not happening at all.

20% believe that climate change is man-made. Pedantically, this should be 0%, since the human component is just one of 6 factors that cause climate change.

This shows an appalling state of public misinformation. When we think of the vast amount of money people pay for newspapers and TV, we should be able to expect that they would be able to convey facts, even among the acres of celebabble. But no.

The funny thing is that the deniers believe that the mainstream media are not reporting their point of view. So the media (Latin = middle) are caught in the crossfire between the scientifically informed and the climate change deniers.  They probably answer, "Well we have got it about right, then".
Not so. Offered a choice between truth and wild fantasy, the correct response is to opt for the truth, rather than something in-between.

The fact is that climate change is happening, global temperatures are at a historic high, and the only plausible explanation for these temperatures is the component due to man-made changes to the greenhouse gas composition of the atmosphere.

The AGW deniers have scored a huge propaganda victory though their exploitation of the CRU hack and the IPCC errors, and weak-minded journalists have failed to see through the tissue thin nature of their arguments, which are almost completely based on the fallacy of the Hasty Generalisation.  In failing to convey facts, journalists are setting back the necessary economic changes that homo "sapiens" needs to make by many years.

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1 comment:

Simon said...

Doc even as one who believes in AGW I do appreciate given all I've read about human cogntive and social biases why people can still be sceptical.

Throw in that science doesn't always get it right and can have its own social inertia, plus I don't think even with the droughts etc we can point to this or that and say 100% that it isn't -at this stage- just natural variation.

& while Climategate is a huge beatup it did show that scientists are human and have the same weaknesses that other humans do.

One point I've taken away is that historically humans have gotten away with all the biased and irrational thinking even if on a local scale that has lead to civilisations falling. But now we are coming to a point were there is nowhere to run to to start again when short term self interest and other biases screw things up.

The Enlghtenment was just a baby step , we have a long way to go yet.