After the email leaking at the University of East Anglia’s climate change unit there were some polls on climate change, but an annoying lack of any questions that were directly comparable to ones asked before the email leak that we could use to see if it had actually changed the public’s view on climate change. I always thought was a particular shame that Populus didn’t re-ask the series of questions on climate change they’d asked for the Times just before the email leak.

Three months down the line the BBC have commissioned Populus to do just that, and it suggests a significant decrease in the proportion of the British public who believe in climate change. In November 83% of respondents thought that “the Earth’s climate is changing and global warming taking place”, with only 15% disagreeing. That has now changed to 75% agreeing and 25% disagreeing.

Amongst those who do believe that climate change is happening, there is increased doubt that it is man made. Overall the proportion of people who think that it is an established scientific fact that climate change is largely man made has dropped from 41% to 26%, the proportion who think it is yet to be proved has grown from 32% to 38%.

Since the November poll we’ve seen not just the UEA email leak, but a reverse in the IPCC’s predictions about ice in the Hymalayas and a very cold winter. The impact of that last one shouldn’t be ignored at the expense of the more obvious stories about climate change scientists – 83% of respondents said they had recalled hearing stories in the news about winter having been the coldest ever, whereas 57% recalled hearing stories about flaws or weaknesses in the science of climate change. Of those 57%, the majority (73%) said this did not change their option, or had strengthened their conviction in the risks of climate change (16%), 11% said it had made them less convinced.


79 Responses to “Populus poll on climate change”

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  1. Anthony – “…and a very cold winter.” Just for the sake of clarity, January 2010 was globally one of the warmest on record, and 2009 as a whole was I recal something like the 5th warmest year on record. In addition this – “but a reverse in the IPCC’s predictions about ice in the Hymalayas” is potentially a little misleading. The IPCC have not reversed a prediction – they withdrew one statistic that was flawed in its time scale on one glacier. There is no doubt the glacier in question is shrinking, but the reported timescale was wrong.

  2. I’d say the major problem with ‘public opinion’ based on science is that the science is brought to the public via the medium of ‘the journalist’ ;)

    Given time, in the absence of comment from the worst of these creatures, this will swing back again.

  3. “had strengthened their conviction in the risks of climate change (16%)”

    This is a bizarre finding, given that the media coverage of the various “scandals” has been unremittingly negative.

    I’d like to think it’s because some people decided to read up on the science after reading the media reports, but I’m not sure how plausible that is…

  4. I think the problem is more complex. “Science” is getting a deserved bad press. Witness BSE Swine Flu and other such mistakes. Also the Presses’ tendancy to print the worst case senarios.

    The true problem is the continual drip drip of terrible concequences that will only happen in the very worst cases.

    Also the scientists who hid the evidences of the 6000 weather stations reduced to 1500 most at lower altitude and in rural areas has left us wondering about the rest of the science.

    The only way to re engage the public is to be open about the science and have it properly peer reviewed.

    Also the problem is political with the left driving the argument.

  5. If you read up on the science you cannot help be convinced it’s all nonsense! I think that’s all the recent press has done, make people sit up and take notice.

    Once you realise there’s been no significant increase in global temps for 10 years and most of the historical temps are bunkum anyway it all falls to pieces.

    If people want to believe a fantasy there’s God, Allah and a bunch of other rubbish that’s at least backed up by a good story. They all seem to have a problem with democracy and Capitalism too.

  6. Another thought – given the parallels between the latest media narrative on climate science and the reports following Wakefield’s MMR article, were there any similar polls in the wake of that ? It would be interesting to compare (I’ve had a look around the blog, but couldn’t find the relevant section/category).

  7. Glenn, ” Witness BSE Swine Flu and other such mistakes.”

    I have no idea what “mistakes” you are talking about. The scientists did exactly what they should have done, which was to respond to a risk that had become apparent.

    Unless you’re suggesting that because swine flu has not killed tens of thousands in the UK, it was a “mistake” to prepare for such a possibility?

  8. I am 100% convinced by the theory of global warming and 99% convinced by the modelling of timescales. I am fairly disgusted by the behaviour of some of the scientists involved, however. I really think they have to accept that if they are advancing theories, and proposing solutions, that will have a huge negative effect on hundreds of millions of people’s financial circumstances then they have to be rigorous, and also gracious in the face of challenges.

    I would be far more confident if a team of scientists without a vested interest (say, astro-physicists) were brought in to spend a year familiarising themselves with the climate science, examining all of the data and modelling so far assembled and do some kind of independent audit of it.

    It makes me nervous that currently the science seems to be largely in the hands of people who see themselves as part-scientist, part-activist, part-Che Guevara.

  9. The Poll shows what I would expect-recognition that we are exiting a cool period -ie it’s getting warmer; and a healthy & balanced scepticism about the proportionate effect of humans.

    That 73% of the 57% who recalled hearing stories about flaws or weaknesses in the science of climate change said this did not change their opinion about the risk of CC, seems to indicate a determination to make our own minds up.

    Pity the AGW fundamentalists at UEA didn’t realise this.The tragedy is that they would not have done their cause any more harm if they had told the truth.

  10. Statto,

    I think the “mistake” with swine flu was Liam Donaldson offering a range of possible outcomes, with the actual outcome turning out to be several times less serious than his “best case scenario”.

    I think he was right to be careful and cautious, but perhaps needs to moderate the way he expresses things. We need to learn the lessons of the Iraq intelligence fiasco and apply them across the board.

  11. As Glenn says, the media has a “tendancy to print the worst case senarios.”.

    Agreed. The media sees everything in black and white. So when a risk is presented, it becomes a certainty. And the nature of risk is that it often doesn’t happen.

    Neil A –

    I think the problem is that the public don’t understand risk management (or risk and uncertainty for that matter) and the media have no desire to talk about this (it makes a story dull).

    The above also means there is a tendency from politicians who wants to get public opinion behind them, to turn things into certainties – e.g. WMDs in Iraq.

  12. @STATTO

    Precisely.

  13. The problem is, that if this poll had been taken during the heat wave last year instead, there would have been quite different results.

    All this poll shows is that 11% of people don’t understand the difference between local weather conditions, and global climate change. Or that colder harsher winters in a location can be caused by global warming.

  14. 5.5% of people I mean, forgot to down-sample.

  15. For the sceptics; what happens if you are wrong? It’s basically a catastrophe for the world. What happens if the climate change people are wrong? Nothing; we have a few more windmills.

    Me? When I have a worst case choice between a catastrophe for the world or the world gets a few windmillls I know which way I go. And it’s the only logical choice…

  16. I must correct anonymous who refers to no increase in the last 10 years. To start your analysis after the warmest year on record is fundamentally flawed when trying to indentify long term trends in climate. Besides, although not breaking the 1998 record each of the last 10 years are amongst the largest on record.

  17. Climate change, now that’s a whole truckload of worms. In any sane world this poll should surely be close to 100% don’t knows. Seems near impossible to discuss it in a neutral manner.
    If the poll shows anything it’s that people can be fairly easily convinced to take as fact and strongly defend a position on any serious issue, no matter how little they know about it.

  18. @Steve B
    Worth pointing out that the climate science community has retconned temperature records since 1961 so that 2005, not 1998, is now the warmest year on record.

  19. Alec – the glacier is shrinking, but the reason for it shrinking is not ‘global warming’. I cannot remember his name but I rad a report the other day by a scientific team which reported that the rate of shrinking cannot be explained by CO2 or the AGM theory. ie its local conditions, ‘weather’, causing the situation and probably local land use (a bit like Mt Kilimanjaro).

    Glaciers have been shrinking of course since the end of the last ice age – without the benefit of increased CO2

    And the whole point of the scare was to precipitate action when in fact any ‘danger’ would only require a slower more thoughtful less costly response.

  20. Neil A – if you are 100% convinced by the theory of global warming, then perhaps you could explain it to us.

  21. @JACK
    “For the sceptics; what happens if you are wrong? It’s basically a catastrophe for the world”

    That is precisely the simplistic sort of question which is losing the people-right or wrong-accepter or denyer & so on.

    The science of climate change is imprecise. The drivers are complex. The models used are contraversial sometimes. A degree of scepticism is necessary.

    The history of our planet is one of repeated climate change-sometimes rapid & violent. Huge variations in temperature & sea levels. Periodic glaciations-some on a global scale.Mechanisms are known for some of these cycles & the changes they bring about-the Milankovitch cycles of orbit & axial rotation.

    All of these complex climate changes have been “catastrophes”-but species have adapted.

    Just because we are unable to, because of our reliance on energy does not entitle us to thrash about, trying to “save the planet” whilst destroying yet more of it.

    Destroying rain forest ecosystems to produce biofuels-using yet more energy to convert food (maize) into ethanol-covering acres of wild ecosystem in wind turbines to generate unpredictably intermittent & variable electricity.

    And all of this mindless activity from the policies of governments cowed & browbeaten by the new Priesthood of AGW.

    We cannot & will not “stop” climate change-it is delusional cant.

    The preachers are too shrill-some of them are snake oil salesmen-the message is wrong – the people are walking away from the soap box.

    The message should be :-
    Climate change on Earth is cyclical, historic & inevitable. It will not be easy for us-we must learn to adapt to it.
    We are running out of hydrocarbon fuels-the lights will go out if we don’t replace them by ( fill in date).
    Let us plan to do this in a calm. thoughtful & sensitive way which does not destroy more wild habitat & species.
    And let us reduce our population to give us more time.

  22. @Colin

    Can I point out that AGW ecologists explicitly do *not* support Biofuels as a solution. Because Biofuels are not a good solution at all, they merely reduce carbon release from mineral oil extraction. They’re a band-aid, and a pretty poor one. They have more to do with keeping Corn producers in Iowa happy then Ecologists.

    So no, cutting down rainforest to plant cash-crops is *not* the fault of “the Church of AGW”. And I suggest you investigate your talking points before repeating them.

  23. I must say I’m surprised so many still believe such a lot of unscientific rubbish. Still, with only 26% now believing in AGW, perhaps the Beeb will take a slightly more balanced approach to the issue.

    Then again, perhaps not.

  24. There are a number of issues involved in this and some have been touched on such as the publics understanding of science and indeed risk.

    Science works a bit like a civil case where as the public sees it as a criminal one. In a criminal case you need to prove it beyond reasonable doubt but in civil one its the balance of probability

    Karl Popper outlined the idea of the scientific nature of truth where as you cannot say anything other that what you have definitely disproved then all you have left is probability. You can’t say what is true or untrue only what is likely or unlikely.

    Thus as with quantum mechanics uncertainty and probability lie at the heart of science.

    The public perception is quite the opposite as they expect certainty from science, they want guilty or not guilty when in fact thats the one thing science can rarely give them.

    It also makes science guilty to the sceptics as the public are as likely to back one theory as another and aren’t that good at discerning which is right or wrong.

    In the public realm most theories are given equal credence and its easy for someone who is dismissed by the bulk of scientists on something like MMR to claim that they are being suppressed just like Galileo.

    Neither the media or the public are that good at science and instead they tend to go with good old fashioned common sense. Therefore after the coldest snowiest winter in thirty years they doubt climate change.

    Equally because of there is doubt over a small number of scientists and a small part of the climate change data they doubt all the scientists and all the data. it’s easier to spread doubt than establish fact especially when all science can establish is the probable.

    Thus the creationists can call themselves advocates of “intelligent design” and raise questions about the data and the possibility that there theory is right and even though they have very little data of their own can undermine evolution and elevate their theory to equal status.

    The relevance of this to polling is that it shows how on scientific issues public opinion can both have little scientific basis and how public perceptions can be altered by a well established narrative.

    It is easier to undermine a established theory than to establish it in the first place just as it is easier to spread doubt about the policies of a party than it is to establish public acceptance of them.

    More importantly, and for me worrying is, that it is easier to gain support for a policy based on a widely held misconception than to challenge and overcome that perception with a policy based on evidence.

    Crime probably is falling and the tories are probably distorting the facts but they will win the argument because what they are saying even if it is wrong rings true with the public.

    I’ll leave you with an example of common sense v science….

    Most people like to believe in everyday common sense and that they have a good understanding of the world around them and whats going on.

    So as you all sit reading this probably in a chair or relaxing in an office or room at a table or with the laptop on your knee you probably know whats what.

    So unless you are in a car, train or plane you look around you at a stationary room with a flat floor.

    Well what I am about to tell you will make no sense at all…..

    Your not stationary and the floor isn’t flat. you are actually moving a 1,000 mph and the floor is curved. It’s a very slight curve because the world isn’t flat it’s actually a huge spinning ball.

    in fact its so big that thousands of miles from you their are people sitting or sleeping in places just like the one you are in who are upside down but who don’t know it because like you they are held in place by a mysterious invisible force that holds us all to the spinning ball.

    From an everyday point of view the force, the ball, the spinning and people being upside down makes no sense at all.

    Now heres the question…..

    Do any of you think that it isn’t true, because by every day common sense the same common sense that most people use to evaluate science or politicians it just doesn’t add up.

    Peter.

  25. Here’s something important to consider…

    The News Media report the Controversy, not the Science. And the most recent clear and most damning example is the MMR vaccination.

    None of the Newspapers actually supported the anti-vaccination campaign. None of them even did more than a cursory discussion of the science involved. But they made the arguments appear to be valid, and put a single research paper on a pedestal as ‘evidence of a link’ while all other research was described as ‘the scientific community consensus’.

    This entirely media fuelled anti-science resulted in a sharp rise last year of Mumps cases, and has put children at risk of deadly illnesses.

    And now they’re at it again focusing on the ‘Controversy’ of AGW science. Because now the narrative has turned to “Those Scientists brining up these Threats are always Wrong!”. Ignoring that it was the Press who brought up these Threats in this way. And that the ‘Controversy’ is that of the amassed evidence of AGW, 5% of it was wrong, and that some grad-students in a research college spiced up their power-point presentations.

    And you know what, this isn’t the first time the Press has gone off and presented a phony science narrative on Climate Change. Back in the 60s-70s, the Press invented almost out of whole cloth the idea that Climatologists were worried about a new ice-age. This was almost 100% not true, but it didn’t stop millions of words being printed on the threat of the comming ice age. And it was all based on a single selective quote from a keynote speech at a science conference about looking into the new method of climate modelling, where the speaker said they may well find that a new ice age was coming *or* that the world was experiencing a man made period of global warming. And then *went on to say he thought the latter might be more likely*. Research from that point onward has agreed with him, and even during the hight of press articles and popular science magazines talking about “the new Ice Age”, almost all climatologists had concluded that Global Warming was happening, and identifying the greenhouse effect as it’s cause.

    ps. To all the above who’ve said “If you look at this supposed AGW science it’s all rubbish”. I call you out on that. I don’t think you actually have studied climate change at all. You’ve just read what other people have said about the science, maybe glanced over some of the reports they mention. But I’m pretty confident when I say that you haven’t a clue how the climate works.

  26. @ Peter:
    “by every day common sense the same common sense that most people use to evaluate science or politicians it just doesn’t add up”

    That is a pretty patronising opinion Peter.

    Most people do understand the shape of the planet-have done for some time now.
    It adds up -because it makes sense. A flat earth doesn’t make sense-there is evidence.The Moon’s a sphere too-we’ve seen the evidence.So is Mars-& other planets-we’ve seen the evidence.They say the Sun’s a sphere too-that probably makes sense-it all ties up. It adds up.

    Politicians?-they don’t make sense quite often. They don’t add up sometimes.That’s a common sense attitude.

    Climate Change?-it’s complicated-obviously -or long term weather forecasts would be easy & accurate. There are always floods,hurricaines, storms , somewhere or other-always have been. If you’re a gardener or interested in wildlife you know the seasons are changing in UK.-there’s evidence-it adds up.
    Scientists say it’s all down to us-how do you prove that?-does that add up?

    Thinking it might not be as simple as that seems like common sense-particularly when the Scientists saying it were so unsure themselves, they decided to ignore the “unhelpful” data.

    Does that add up?

  27. @JAYBLANC

    “Can I point out that AGW ecologists explicitly do *not* support Biofuels as a solution”

    So why don’t the IPCC tell world governments to stop doing it?

  28. JAYBLANC

    You might be interested in this from the Telegraph :-

    “Talk about having your oilcake and eating it. The European Commission wants to use a scandalous sleight of hand to justify felling tropical rainforests to make way for oil palm plantations that would produce biofuels.

    A leaked document from the Commission to ministers and the European Parliament proposes getting round measures to limit the use of biofuels from deforested land by classifying dense plantations as “forests”, thus pretending that no destruction has taken place. “This means,” it says frankly, “that a change from forest to oil farm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the [sustainability] criteria

    Though the document contains language about protecting biodiversity, this is remarkable sophistry even by the standards of Brussels.

    Research shows that well over half of the expansion of oil palm plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia has come at the expense of forests.”

    The EU -saviour of the planet!

    They still shoot migratory birds in millions , so asking them to respect Indonesian wildlife & habitat certainly doesn’t add up.

  29. @ Jay Blanc
    This is to some extent true when it come to the MMR. But I remember at the time the news’ (especially TV news) striving for balance, which basically came down to one man’s view against the vast majority of researchers. I am not saying that this is right or wrong just saying.

    @ Statto
    Completely agree that the media hone in always on the most dramatic scenario. A perfect example is a recent Express article written in just before the recent months’ cold spell that spoke of 60,000 people in the UK where to die over the winter. They compared it to the total UK civilian causalities in WWII. What I don’t understand is what goes through these readers minds when it turns out that 60,000 people didn’t die!

    @Colin
    Whilst this might be true, I have absolutely no respect for anything written in the telegraph now days, especially when it comes to the EU. I used to have some respect for the paper despite not having the same political views. Now days the Telegraph isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on

    My general view is in line with Wood’s. We just don’t know, but then science is very very rarely certain. I do believe the MMGW is happening but then that’s just my opinion on my (basic) reading of the evidence. Something is happening but people who say that it’s definitely happening because of man, or that’s its definitely not happening at all earn no respect from me.

    My as an aside is there any recent polling about the public’s trust in science/scientists?

  30. Like I said… Support for “Biofuels” comes more from industry and the cash-crop lobby. Which happens to include people like Shell who’re rebranding as a “green” company without having to bother with actually being less damaging or abusive.

    It has next to no support from those trying to combat AGW. Your newspaper article just shows that the Biofuel lobby is winning, and you’re helping them by blaming the ICC and environmentalists who have nothing to do with them.

    ps. All European commissioners are directly appointed by the national governments, there is no ‘rule from Brussels’. This kind of thing is just government negotiation, with the added bonus that they can blame unpopular stuff on Brussels even when their own commissioners proposed it.

  31. Polling on “public trust in scientists” is meaningless. About as worthwhile as polling on if you like having to go to the dentists, or if they appreciate the need for traffic lights.

    People say they distrust scientists, but they sure do buy a lot of computers, HD TVs, lawn fertilisers and washing up powder.

  32. @ Jay Blanc
    This is true! I was thinking less about the absolute numbers and more about the relative numbers i.e. has trust gone down?

  33. I personally do not think that man is contributing to the climate changes to any great degree. I believe we are in a cycle of change that we cannot effect. We as a society must adapt to live with it.

    I do believe however that our dependance on hydrocarbons for energy will cause the most horrendous problems in the not far distant future.The thought of future “energy” wars worry me even more. We have already had a taste of this with Russia’s bullying over gas supplies.

  34. @ Jack Cornish
    “Whilst this might be true, I have absolutely no respect for anything written in the telegraph ”

    Well I am more concerned about EU policy on this matter-& it’s effects-than where I read it.

    @ JAYBLANC
    “All European commissioners are directly appointed by the national governments, there is no ‘rule from Brussels’. This kind of thing is just government negotiation, with the added bonus that they can blame unpopular stuff on Brussels even when their own commissioners proposed it.”

    So that alright then!

  35. Colin,

    “Most people do understand the shape of the planet-have done for some time now. It adds up -because it makes sense.”

    But not “common” sense.

    People don’t believe the earth is round because they have worked out by looking at the moon and deducing it, they know it because they learned it at school.

    Its the difference between deduced and learned knowledge. with an issue like climate change until the science is established beyond doubt it is open to doubt and when common sense is the yard stick science is difficult to prove.

    As I said in contrast to public belief science isn’t black and white its about probability. The public look to science for certainties it can’t give and tend to blame science when it doesn’t.

    “Climate Change?-it’s complicated-obviously -or long term weather forecasts would be easy & accurate. ”

    No they wouldn’t because Climate and weather are too entirely different things;

    CLIMATE

    The meteorological conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind, that characteristically prevail in a particular region.

    WEATHER

    The state of the atmosphere at a given time and place, with respect to variables such as temperature, moisture, wind velocity, and barometric pressure.

    “Scientists say it’s all down to us-how do you prove that?-does that add up?”

    No it doesn’t. Science says mans activity is altering the global climate, what it doesn’t say is what else is also effecting it how much is down to us and the exact rate or effects. Again it gives us probabilities and ranges not yes or No.

    It’s a bit like water going to top a Dam. the reasons are it’s winter, it’s been raining, their is snow melt, the water table is high, the ground is saturated and we haven’t opened the sluice gate to let off excess water.

    We can’t say which of these factors is the biggest contributor to the problem but we can identify which we can do something about…. the sluice gate. We can’t actually say that opening the gate will work but we can say its all we can realistically do to try to save the dam.

    “Thinking it might not be as simple as that seems like common sense-particularly when the Scientists saying it were so unsure themselves, they decided to ignore the “unhelpful” data.”

    Again wrong. the scientists didn’t ignore the unhelpful data they made a judgement as to which data was valid and which wasn’t.

    When tree ring data didn’t fit with orbital and ground based global temperature readings the went with the primary data as tree rings is a secondary indicator not a direct measurement.

    In addition as tree growth is also more susceptible to a whole range of factors other than temperature, not least of which is CO2 levels which have been rising, then they decided on the balance of probability that the greater volume of direct measurement was probably more accurate than tree growth.

    Again its about judgement and probability.

    You have two options. A limited number of secondary data sources doesn’t fit with a far larger number of primary data sources so do we say;

    “We can’t give a definitive answer it could be either” or ” On balance their is far more evidence to support warming than not”.

    I know which I would go for.

    Peter.

  36. @ JAYBLANC

    “the Biofuel lobby is winning, and you’re helping them by blaming the ICC and environmentalists who have nothing to do with them.”

    I refer you to IPCC AR4 Mitigation Report.

    Ch 5, p379, 5.5.5 notes that “implementation of biofuels in the transport sector would
    generally have positive social, environmental…side effects.”

    In October 2007 concerned scientists wrote to Rajendra Pachauri ( he of the glaciers) about their concerns over AR4.

    This is what they said about IPCC’s recomendation quoted above :

    “This is a highly contentious claim in view of the widespread conversion of biodiverse tropical forests and grasslands into biofuel monocultures, associated human rights abuses, pollution from fertilizer run-off and plant residue burning, and more widely,
    reactive nitrogen emissions and potential stresses on water supplies, soils and mineral fertilizer sources.
    There are further dangers from biofuel crop plants acting as invasive species and from the escape of genetically modified higher yielding plants and organisms adapted for use in ligno-cellulosic technology.
    The rise in world food pricesvi increases food stress and hardship for the urban poor of
    the Global South, and is straining food aid budgets, though benefiting many farmers.
    More intense land use tends to reduce local iodiversity, and the spread of monocultures will overall impact negatively on tropical forests and other natural and semi-natural habitats, their resilience, ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling and
    climate moderationxvi, and the conservation of species.
    This is not to argue against all bioenergy, but present policies of the EU, US and elsewhere are leading to a huge range of adverse outcomes”

    Can you tell me how IPCC have responded to mitigate these adverse effects in EU/US policy?

  37. I don’t know enough science to have a properly informed opinion on AGW.

    What I do know is that most of the wealthy elite who deny it have the same commercial interests as those turned rivers into sewers & caused smog/ pollution that harmed millions of people.

    These ecological disasters had to be reversed by public & poltical effort; & public spending to clean up the mess.

    So I’d ‘vote’ on my historical knowledge of the behaviour of unfettered capitalists; if they are spending lots of effort & money rubbishing AGW, its probably true.

    That could be why some people are more convinced following the leaked e-mails & the glaciergate controversy. Huge efforts are being made to discredit anybody who thinks we should take better care of the planet.

  38. @ Peter Cairns

    “Again wrong. the scientists didn’t ignore the unhelpful data they made a judgement as to which data was valid and which wasn’t.”

    :-)

    “Science says mans activity is altering the global climate, what it doesn’t say is what else is also effecting it how much is down to us and the exact rate or effects. ”

    Absolutely-we are agreed.
    So how do we explain that to Governments?
    Maybe IPCC can help?

  39. Peter & Amber Star

    I think I’ll go with Peter on the science, and people’s reaction to it.

    I’ll go with Amber on the reactions of the elite, and the sensible approach being to distrust them at all times!

    But Amber – the planet will be fine whatever we do, that our “bacterial infection” of it is eliminated, won’t bother the planet!

  40. For what it’s worth, here’s my thoughts regarding the fall in believers from 83% to 75%.

    There was a lot of publicity about carbon credit trading & how it could make millions for carbon traders, bankers, hedgefunds etc.

    On a personal level, those with money would be able to carry on with their life as if nothing had changed; the rest of us might be continually trying to live within a carbon allowance.

    Because many people think this would be another burden on the ‘squeezed middle’ the simplest way to protest is to disbelieve the science & consider it all ‘a con’ being pushed by governments (who want to control & tax our behaviour) & bankers (who want to make millions by carbon trading).

    I believe a lot of the -8% is a vote against carbon trading & taxes, not against the science.

  41. “On balance their is far more evidence to support warming than not”.

    Not sure why you address this to me Peter.

    I agree…….as I have explained upthread in a post about the real problem-

    Which is indeed the degree of human contribution- and the mad mad policies being pursued in the mistaken belief that climate change can be “stopped” by wreaking further damage on the planet-and the failure to concentrate on the finite reserves of hydrocarbons.

  42. Hi Old Nat

    “But Amber – the planet will be fine whatever we do, that our “bacterial infection” of it is eliminated, won’t bother the planet!”

    I completely agree. The planet could not care less whether humans become extinct; nor does it care what messes we make. It just rolls with punches.

    We can save millions of lives by reducing smog in cities; then along comes a tsunami or earthquake & the equivalent number of lives are wiped out by natural forces.

    Yet, against this rational point of view, I intuitively feel it’s not a good idea to make a great big mess of the environment.

    As Cllr Peter so eloquently puts it, common sense is rarely rational ;-)

  43. This discussion will make me vote Green if it keeps up…

    It shows why preferential voting would be helpful–those of us who know it’s important could then vote Green to indicate our concern but then worry about who we want to more likely win when we decide how to order our preferences for the main three parties. Curren tly when we go to the ballot box we can either vote for a candidate or not. Preferential means you can vote and have a census on major issues at the same time

  44. Amber Star

    Oh, I agree. I’m biased in favour of our kind of bacteria!

  45. Is there a correlation between peoples’ political stance and their position re climate change.

    It seems like right wing euro sceptics deny it exists or if it does, it is not down to human behaviour.

    Green’s and lefties say that it’s worse than we think and the human race must change their ways.

  46. Colin,

    ““On balance their is far more evidence to support warming than not”.”

    It was one of the two possible answers science could give when faced with conflicting evidence either to say we don’t know or make a judgement.

    It was in direct response to your comments about scientists ignoring unhelpful data which I thought was a miss representation of the process.

    “Absolutely-we are agreed. So how do we explain that to Governments?”

    Well I’ve got it and so has my government but I am not sure about yours….

    Having said that I watched the Jim Devine C4 interview earlier via Iain Dales site and I doubt he would get it even if the water was over his head.

    Peter.

  47. @ AMBER STAR
    “I intuitively feel it’s not a good idea to make a great big mess of the environment.”

    I agree.

    @OLDNAT
    “I’ll go with Amber on the reactions of the elite, and the sensible approach being to distrust them at all times!”

    Perhaps you could explain to Amber then, which elites were responsible for the destruction wreaked upon the Menie Sand Dunes ecosystem in Aberdeenshire -for two golf courses, a hotel, 500 houses and 950 holiday homes.

    …or the 137-mile Beauly-Denny overhead power line of 600 pylons, 200ft high that will cut through some of Scotland’s finest scenery-because power companies won’t pay to bury it.

  48. Peter
    “the Jim Devine C4 interview ”

    Me too!
    Car crash.
    How did he get to be an MP ?

  49. @ VALERIE

    “euro sceptics deny it exists ”

    Sorry to spoil your neat & tidy pigeon holes for people.

    ;-)

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