Monday, August 27, 2007

The Common Person Rejects AGW

At the reference frame blog,, (tip of the hat to Harry Eagar), there is this post about a number of polls, some scientific, some not, that tend to show that the general public is skeptical about AGW.

For instance, this: "In another British poll two months ago, 56% of respondents agreed that scientists are still questioning climate change. Most people thought that the problem was exaggerated to make money."
(Although the linked article expresses disapproval about that result).

Also, in the comments to that post, "rafa" wrote that "a recent national poll in Spain showed 83% think global warming is a 'problem' when answering the question 'do you think GW is a real environmental problem?' The funny thing is people were asked at the end of the poll to mention up to five environmental problems they 'personally' consider important. How many mentioned global warming?: 3%"

This is in line with Annoying Old Guy's opinion that AGW fervor has peaked, and that an intellectually-mature consensus about the issue will emerge.

Finally, I should note that polls of the general public about matters scientific are not definitive. In the U.S. barely 25% of the adult population can accurately describe basic science concepts like what DNA is, or the physical structure of atoms. Famously, a quarter of all Americans can't even pick out their own nation on a world map, much less other significant and geographically-easy nations like the UK, Japan, China, or Russia. I've seen a published study that indicates that the common person in Europe, Russia, or China fares no better when asked about simple science concepts.

So it really wouldn't matter if 99% of poll respondents in a poll of the general public anywhere were on one side or the other about AGW. It's meaningless in determining whether or not AGW is in fact true.

However, it absolutely affects the political response to the issue, which is why it warms the cockles of my heart to see a majority, (albeit a modest one), agreeing with my opinion about what is most likely true, and rejecting panicked, "do something, anything !" approaches to the issue of a warming planet.


Blogger Hey Skipper said...

This substantiates your thesis.

August 28, 2007 9:29 PM  

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