I like data from tracking polls. There is often no “correct” way of asking about a subject and answers can come down to how you word a question, but if you ask a question in the same way over a long period of time then – all things being equal – any significant change you see should reflect a genuine change in public opinion. For that reason I am always very loathe to change the wording of tracking questions, as you are throwing away all that past data and any change you see is as likely to be due to different wording as it is to changing opinion. However, there comes a time when the vocabulary used in the public debate changes, and the wording you’ve used in the past really isn’t the wording you’d use if designing a question today.

In past years YouGov has asked about public opinion towards climate change using this question:

On the subject of climate change do you think:
The world is becoming warmer as a result of human activity
The world is becoming warmer but NOT because of human activity
The world is NOT becoming warmer
Not sure

  • In 2008, 55% thought human activity was making the world warmer, 25% thought the world was getting warmer, but not because of humanity, 7% thought the world was NOT getting warmer. 13% weren’t sure.
  • In 2010, 39% thought human activity was making the world warmer, 27% thought the world was getting warmer, but not because of humanity, 18% thought the world was NOT getting warmer. 16% weren’t sure.
  • In 2012 43% thought human activity was making the world warmer, 22% thought the world was getting warmer, but not because of humanity, 15% thought the world was NOT getting warmer. 20% weren’t sure.
  • Now 39% think human activity was making the world warmer, 16% think the world is getting warmer, but not because of humanity, 28% thought the world was NOT getting warmer. 17% weren’t sure.

For what its worth the percentage of people thinking that human activity is making the world warmer fell between 2008 and 2010, but has been pretty constant for the last 3 years. However, the proportion of people who think the world isn’t getting warmer at all has markedly increased – from just 7% in 2008 to 28% now. This isn’t really surprising given some of the weather we’ve had of late (before anyone points it out, localised weather is Britain is clearly not necessarily reflective of global temperatures… but that doesn’t mean it won’t have an impact on public opinion!).

However since 2008 the debate has also changed, and has often concentrated upon wider impacts of climate change, on weather patterns, on making weather more extreme or unpredictable and so on, rather than just the narrower issue of rising global temperatures. You can imagine this may have a significant impact on someone’s answers – there may well be people who think that climate change is happening… but not in the sense of increasing global temperatures. This month YouGov asked two questions in parallel, on two separate samples – one asking about the world getting warmer, the other asking about the world’s climate changing. It produces very different results.

39% of people think human activity is making the world warmer. 53% of people think human activity is changing the world’s climate.
16% think the world is getting warmer, but not because of human activity. 26% think the climate is changing, but NOT because of human activity
28% think the world is NOT getting warmer. 6% think the climate is not changing.


119 Responses to ““Global Warming” or “Climate Change””

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  1. @ ToH

    You aren’t very sceptical about fiscal orthodoxy though (smilies).

  2. I should habe added that Global temperatures have not actually risen for the last 18years anyway.

  3. Neil A/Tony Dean
    Disagree with your assessment on the politics of global warming acceptance/denial.
    Most of the denial seems to come from corporatist/free-market capitalists, not necessarily small-staters.

    So it’s not so much about state intervention (“suspicious of anything done by governments”) but state intervention which may impact corporate liberty, i.e “suspicious of anything, that may impact wealth accumulation, done by governments”.
    And there’s an important distinction there.

  4. @LASZLO

    If my view that we need to reduce our state spending to no more than 30-35% is fiscal orthodoxy then I would be delighted if it were true but I’m sceptical about that (smiles likewise)

  5. @ Tingedfringe

    Since the governments are blamed for failing in taking us out from the recession (somewhat unjustly but then the governments take credit for good times), it undermines the trust in formal institutions in general (among them science).

  6. TOH
    The thing about global temperatures, like polls, is that it’s about trends –
    And the trend has been rising global temperatures up until about 2003 – so 9 years (since we lack this years data) of relatively flat global land-air-sea temperatures, not 18.

    But the trend over longer periods of time is clear – as is the correlation to greenhouse gases, which has been known since the 1800s – hardly a vast new ‘green’ conspiracy.

  7. @Tinged Fringe

    As i understand it there have been similar or greater increases in greenhouse gases during the earth’s history which cannot be explained by man made activity since he had not evolved at that time or if he had there was no industrialisation.

    For me I just don’t know whether or not man is mainly responsible for current climate change I am not convinced either way. However I don’t want us beggaring our economy for the reasons given above.

  8. TOH
    But I’m not going to get in to this debate – I’m sick to death of it.
    Let’s just say that we agree to disagree.

    Laszlo
    I agree – and this is a problem with the whole movement of the revolution of rising expectations. People expect things to get better far more rapidly than anybody can realistically promise and it turns to cynicism when it doesn’t materialise. Which leads to people accepting the psychology opposite – that things have ‘really gone downhill lately’ and if we ‘just return to how things were’ everything will ‘be better’.

  9. @TingedFringe

    I agree, lets just agree to disagree. Have a good evening, I’m off to watch the Rugby.

  10. I’m not convinced by all this, the world’s getting warmer, the climates changing because of man etc.

    BUT, that doesn’t mean I’m not Green, just because I don’t believe the theories above, doesn’t mean I want to live in a polluted planet, I want clean air to breathe, parks and other green spaces protected, resources used and re-used wisely etc.

  11. Maninthe middle

    The clean air act of 1956 has made the air much cleaner than it used to be (I’m old enough to remember walking to school in smog) and there is plenty of botanical and lichen evidence to confirm that.
    Having had the prvilage of visiting most of the planets rainforests I share your desire to protect our environment, its just that we don’t have to beggar our economy to contribute in a meaningful way. For example i purchased acres of rainforest in South American and donated to a developing reserve.

  12. MANINTHEMIDDLE
    Whether you believe in anthropomorphic causes or not, you can’t deny the actual temperature changes of the past 100 or so years.
    See: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/monitoring/climate/surface-temperature

  13. from the NASA web site:

    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence

    not much to debate really.

  14. @Cheesewolf

    In earth’s history 650,000 years is minute time period. So you were saying…………………….

  15. splendid try for Wade of Wasps!

    Have a good evening all.

  16. you are utterly correct – 650,000 years is but a tiny fraction of a speck in our many billion year history.

    Your point being? Its relevance to the startlingly obvious fact that CO2 levels have risen beyond anything in recordable time, without there being a commensurate rise in any other factor than human in the past 100 years, being?

    As I -er sorry, NASA (etc etc) – say, not much to debate. Your counter facts are what exactly? That the Earth is old. Well done.

    Now, if this is an issue – that’s a debate. What to do about it (if anything) – that’s a debate. Are there bigger issues – that’s a debate. Black being white is not; the earth being flat is not; up being down is not.

  17. Cheesewolf:
    Try zooming in on the vertical line you’re so fond of from the NASA site, say down to the last 16 years or so and the vetical line becomes horizontal. Or try zooming out to the last 4.5 billion years and the same veritical line becomes a dot.

    Doh

  18. @ Amber Star and Valerie

    Wanted to get some of your thoughts on sexism/gender issues (I know it’s way ot from the subject matter of this entry).

    First this news item:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/04/obama-kamala-harris_n_3017210.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl4%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D293938

    Curious to get your thoughts. I don’t think what the President said was sexist. Just true. But many people do.

    h ttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/obama-kamala-harris-apology_n_3022372.html

    He apologized today apparently but I don’t think he needed to. She didn’t have any problem with it. Frankly, I think it was a wake up call to Nino Scalia and other conservative Supreme Court Justices who kept referring to her as a “he” at last week’s oral arguments. I found that sexist.

    Then there’s this:

    h ttp://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/01/opinion/la-oe-newton-column-women-in-los-angeles-politics-20130401

    We could be without a woman in local office for the first time since 1968 apparently. It’s something I find bizarre and altogether troubling. Of course, I’m not supporting the female candidate in the mayoral race (although I voted for her 4 years ago to be City Controller) so I’m not helping add to the number of women in office either.

    Funny thing too about the woman elected in 1953 mentioned in the article. She’s still around, still active, still raising money, and is still with it enough (both mentally and physically) where I actually think she’s capable of coming back and handling her old duties just fine. But that district has not elected a woman since she was defeated for reelection in 1965 despite a number of women candidates, including some incredibly favored women candidates in races since.

  19. As ex UN environmental official I know that the science supporting man-made climate change is probably sound but not certain. Trends can change. I also know that the current climate change treaty is a colossal fraud invented by economists who believe we will solve the problem by closing 1 coal fired power station in Europe for every 5 new ones that China or India construct, allowing North America to sulk in its tent but ignore the treaty, and bridging the gap or, rather, chasm, by selling “carbon credits” to each other. Bonkers. The only way to stop climate change from getting worse is a pretty draconian and centralist global regulation against excess emissions, and the certainty of immediate trade sanctions for offenders. If we are not prepared to agree that then sadly I am on the side of those who say that unilateral action in the EU is a waste of time (as well as damaging to our own economies). We should focus on environmental protection that is actually attainable such as conserving sufficient wild habitats and woods, and 100% recycling. The failed climate change treaty is a threat to all environmental protection because it discredits a good cause. Ditch it ?

  20. There is only two certain known things on this: (1) the world is warmer than it was 50 (or 300) years ago (simple fact gathering exercise), and (2) the world is warmer than it would have been without man’s intervention (simple chemistry of greenhouse gases).

    Beyond that, we know next to nothing. It MAY be that the world is warming anyway, and we are accelerating the process. Equally, it MAY be that the world is cooling, and our intervention is staving off the next ice age.

    Weather is still beyond our ability to model (though the models are vastly improved on how they were in my youth). Climate is so far beyond our modelling ability that it’s probably farther away technologically than controlled nuclear fusion. We’re talking chaotic systems here: huge endpoint divergences from infinitessimally different initial conditions. On a world scale. Reflecting the chaotic and interacting atmospheric and oceanic fluid systems. As the americans say: go figure,.

    We know, historically, that climate (at least in western Europe) was markedly warmer 1200 years ago than it is now, and markedly cooler 400 years ago than now. We can’t explain why. Milankovich cycles, sunspot activity, etc, explain some of it, but by no means all.

    In the whole are of climate science, the most important thing to know is that WE DON’T KNOW! All assertions of certain knowledge are to be treated as politically motivated, not scientifically based.

  21. Interesting results. I say so because the climate is always changing, so the 6% who think it isn’t would be fun to meet. Also I’d be very surprised if the climate didn’t change differently if humans weren’t around, so even though I’m sceptical of the AGW argument I’d have to answer with the 53%

  22. Lots of interesting comments, and quite a few bits of nonsense.

    Fascinating to see the changes in the polling, especially around 2008 – 2010. I did wonder if that was something to do with the economy. in good times, people think about the environment, in bad times, they think about their wallets.

    I also find it interesting to see talk by more sceptical posters about the scientific orthodoxy and ‘suppression’ of countervailing views. The completely misunderstands the development of climate change theory and the way science is presented.

    While man made climate change was first put forward as a theory (based on laboratory experiments) in 1907, it was widely ignored until the 1950s. It was still a fringe issue in science for a long time after that (and no, the majority of climate scientists were not predicting an ice age in the 1970’s – that was also a fringe view) but in the late 1970’s and 80’s it became a more supported hypothesis.

    This wasn’t due to some leftie pinko seizure of the brains of science, but a simple fact of observation and research. Increasingly robust empirical measurement data was being backed up by mechanistic findings, so we could not only register a series of linked observations, but also postulate the mechanisms to explain them. This is why man made climate change has become an increasingly mainstream view amongst climate scientists – because this is where the evidence has led.

    Arguments about how varied the climate has been over the millennia miss the point – at no point in the history of the earth have we ever had 7 billion humans to care for, so climate change matters now, like it has never mattered to mankind before. Previous climate change events have led to great population movements, extinctions and all manner of change in the biosphere – if you are happy about mass starvation, or to see Africa march to Europe, talk about how the climate has changed in the past.

    The really interesting question is about why climate change views alter to the left and right of the spectrum. I could argue that left leaning thinkers have bigger brains than right leaning people. This is scientifically true, but I don’t think is very relevant.

    I suspect it is probably because coping with or combating climate change means social and economic change. The right largely exists to protect what there currently is – think Conservative (the clue is in the name). The left accepts or demands change, so will naturally be more willing to seek solutions that require large scale changes. Also, such changes tend not to be delivered by the markets, pushing the issue more into the sphere of the left. I think this notion of change also frightens the right, so those with most to lose become defensive, and in that mindset it is a small step to then attempt to deny the crisis.

    I think it was @Colin that pointed to the issue of mitigation or adaptation, and I think this is the key. For what it’s worth, I think we’ve lost the battle, and I see no realistic prospect of reversing carbon emissions. There are around 2 billion people who rely on water from coastal aquifers that are likely to become salinated from a sea level rise of just 20cm, and this is just one example of the massive adaptations that will be required.

    In 3 billion years or so this entire planet will be engulfed by an expanding sun, and all evidence of humanity will be erased. Before we get there, it would be nice to think that we could work out a set of reasonable solutions for this particular problem, but we first need to understand and accept the issue.

  23. @Tony Dean
    ” I was “romantically” attached to the believers in man-made climate change until someone at work quite out of the blue explained that “one good volcanic eruption puts as much carbon into the atmosphere as 10 years worth of man’s exhaust fumes” ”

    It’s not true. Humans put 30 BILLION tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Which is several orders of magnitude greater than volcanic eruptions. http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm

    @The Other Howard
    “It is equally true if my memory serves me right that 30 years ago or some the majority of earth scientists believed we were about to enter a period of global cooling associated with a new ice age.”

    Not true. 62% of scientific papers on the subject in the 70s predicted global warming, compared to 10% predicting global cooling. The mainstream press, however, chose to report the cooling stories rather than the warming ones.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm

    The site I linked to explains the actual truth behind all of the claims made by the sceptical/denialist side of the debate, and gives you resources to go to for more information.

  24. @Steve Coberman – “Weather is still beyond our ability to model…”

    I just need to point out that this is entirely incorrect – we are actually very good at modelling weather. Forecasts for 48 hours are really incredibly accurate, weekly forecasts are also very good, and the Met Office record on monthly forecasts has been excellent for general trends. They got pretty much every week bang on this winter from a month out, with the exception of the second week in January, where they got the timing of a cold snap around a week out. Seasonal forecasts are accurate around 75% of the time.

  25. Perhaps the poll should have ask if you believe Scientology, Creationism, or were members of The Flat Earth Society. we could have then seen if there is some kind of link.

  26. @ SoCal

    It was a ridiculous thing for President Obama to say but not sexist per se. Had Hilary been president & made the same comment about a male attorney general, I’d have found it equally silly.

    I think it was right that he did apologise to the attorney general; & right that people know he apologised to her.

  27. Just to let you all know, I’m not going to post until the next poll and then possibly not again until the release of the next poll after that – I’d just end up getting in to the global warming debate and I don’t think it’d be wise to encourage it.

  28. As a climate scientist I feel compelled to write. TOH stats there has been no global warming in the past 18 years, this is factually incorrect, there has been. There have been decadel upon decadel increases for the past 30 years. The trend Is clear. And yes in deed there have been periods in earths history hereby greenhouse gas emissions have warmed the planet and we know exactly the reasons for that, ice melt after ice ages releasing methane and other gases from permafrost.

    There is a very precise correlation between the last odd 100 years of warming and co2 emissions, we also know the co2 is human produced produced because it carries isotope markers which mean it couldnt be anything else.

    As for the ‘new ice age’ stories of the early 70s there was no concensus on this supposed development and very litte published. It went big in the media though.

    Steve comberman trashes climate models without explaining why. The modelling we’ve run ove the past 20 years has shown to be remarkably accurate, if anything we’ve underestimated the amount of global warming that has occurred.

    Steve also misrepresents science which never claims absolute knowledge just degrees of certainty. In terms of the science of climate change we have confidense in the high 90s.

    Opponents of co2 produced climate change need to produce the science as a counter thesis. So far they haven’t been able to. A noble prize awaits. I suspect we’ll be waiting a long time….

  29. @Alec

    I’m not sure that I agree wi your somewhat Popperian view of scientific progress (even if I agree with you about the validity of climate science). May I be the first to say ‘paradigm’ in this thread?

    @TOH

    True, the last 200 years is a negligible part of 4.5 B years, but it is almost 3.4% of the earth’s actual 6000 years since creation… (Smiley oh you know)

  30. ALEC

    @”Arguments about how varied the climate has been over the millennia miss the point – at no point in the history of the earth have we ever had 7 billion humans to care for, so climate change matters now, like it has never mattered to mankind before. Previous climate change events have led to great population movements, extinctions and all manner of change in the biosphere – if you are happy about mass starvation, or to see Africa march to Europe, talk about how the climate has changed in the past.”

    Anthropocentricity.

    Adapting & evolving is what all other species will do.

    If our technology can’t help us, we will just have to fall back on the natural selection which pre-dated it.

  31. Leinster beat Wasps in a game full of excellent rugby, very pleasant match to watch.

    As for the climate change debate the most meaningful post for me was from Welsh Borderer. I thought he cut through all the political cr?p beautifully and I fully support his conclusion though to be fair he comes to it from a somewhat different reasoning to my own.

    Weather beautiful down here, not posting today as i am off for a walk with my wife and then more rugby to watch. Have a good day all.

  32. Talking of climate change, the Telegraph is reporting expectations of a big increase in projected UK shale gas reserves when the BGS reports shortly. The article says-

    “Dr Nick Riley, of the BGS, said: “We are sitting on potentially a massive resource, but whether we are able to extract it we do not know. We have to do the exploration and then we have to get the consent of the people.”

    In the Budget last week George Osborne, the Chancellor, signalled the go-ahead for shale gas by promising tax breaks and bribes for communities that allow drilling in their back yard. ”

    This is going to be a very interesting issue, with competing environmental pressures that need to be resolved, as well as the obvious economic and energy security issues.

    I personally don’t feel it is anywhere near as straightforward as some environmentalists assume. If the projections are accurate and the geology appears favourable, then we could well be sitting on a pile of relatively low carbon fuel that will last for generations. While it won’t be cheap, it would buffer the UK against general energy price rises. I would have more confidence that we could extract this resource more cleanly and with less environmental damage than in the US or China, but there remain concerns and areas of uncertainty.

    In the wider context, if the UK was to develop this resource to it’s full potential, it could allow a range of other choices to be made. We may well be able to reduce and withdraw our extensive military presence in areas like the gulf, for example, releasing large sums of tax income to be spent on climate change mitigation strategies to counter balance the use of shale gas.

    Our diplomatic policies towards rather unpleasant former Soviet republics and Russia itself could be freed up, if we are no longer dependent on them for natural gas. We could take decisions not to open the seas around Rockall to oil exploration and the environmental risks that brings. And we could use the shale gas revenues to establish a proper program of energy efficiency and future green energy research in a way we have never done before.

    I am also tickled by the Telegrah use of the word ‘bribe’. There is absolutely nothing wrong with local communities receiving a share or the profits for local developments, and I would personally like to see much more of this – with communities actually becoming the main developer in the energy industry if possible. It is funny, however, that the Telegraph describes this as bribery, whereas banks paying interest or share holders receiving a dividend is just plain old business.

  33. you are utterly correct – 650,000 years is but a tiny fraction of a speck in our many billion year history.

    -Well Homo Sapien has only been around for about 200,000 Years and “History ” as in the recording of the passage of events has only occurred for the last 7,000 Years so while I am glad you take the long view it seems long enough to me.

  34. a photo of more than a dozen unemployed jobseekers from the government’s work experience programme, captioned, “Would 750 hours with no payroll costs benefit YOUR store?” was produced by company staff for an internal discussion.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/apr/06/homebase-criticised-work-experience-claims

    you just have to smile… of course we dont mean it that way…

  35. @academic

    As an expert in this field can you say a) how much of the current global warming can reasonably be attributed to human activity b) what kind of measures would be needed to stop or reverse it c) whether in your opinion these are measures that are politically feasible.

    I realise that c) is probably not a question on which you would claim special expertise and that b) is unduly vague. But I think anything that you would have to say that’s relevant to the above would be valuable.

  36. @tojim

    I almost always have a laugh when i have an occasional read of the Guardian.

    @ACADEMIC
    Very interesting , thank you for your obviously informed views. However it continues to be my view that we should not damage our economy while the big polluters pay lip service only and continue to pollute. I’m also with Colin that population growth is a bigger and more immediate problem.

  37. The other howard

    Yes indeed, the rest of us rotfl when we read the mail

  38. As someone who prides themselves on being in the middle neither left nor right, I must say it was interesting to watch one part of the left I despise turn on a left wing President I like.
    Yet again their is a dark side on the left that are offended by anything.

    I first came across the headline about Obama making a “sexist” remark and immediately clicked thinking he had said something truly insulting, I was picturing a dig at Hillary or Sarah Palin.
    And what was it? He had said an old friend was “beautiful”.

    Of all the crimes to commit, a compliment really?

    When people act petty like this, it just damages the cause, their is still sexism out there, but when they cause a row over something like this, which most people won’t find sexist at all, apart from a few on the left, it really does diminish the fight against real sexism.

  39. @RiN

    Quite agree, I see the Guardian as the Lefts equivalent to the Daily Mail which often amuses me, especially Littlejohn who so often hits the nail on the head.

  40. Oh dear, how unfortunate. Also have the long queues outside health centres for jabs, not taught us about polemicists and populist politics, especially via daytime TV that is watched by great numbers of less well educated or informed people?

    I am of course thinking back to the scaremonger on MMR who was given great support in the tabloids and daytime TV. We now see the unfortunate consequences.

    It’s the same with polemicists, I am afraid. I do expect a shift in VI post Philpott. The interest is whether it lasts, or fizzles, as the others did.

  41. I think what is interesting about this article is how the wording of a question can have a huge influence on the results.

    Climate Change is become a bit of a bogeyman for the ‘Right’ and I don’t want to go into all the arguments (though as someone who has studied Environmental Science at degree level, I’ve found some of the comments made so far to be risible, even laughable in their ignorance).

    I suggest you read the IPCC summary and make your own judgement.

    However, I’d have to disagree strongly that pushing for renewables will ‘beggar the economy’. I actually think it is a golden opportunity for manufacturing and industry.

    Germany are leading the way at the moment and not only do they have the ambitious target to produce 80% of their electricity by renewables by 2050, they are also grabbing the lion’s share of the manufacturing and profits from this new technology. The UK should really be doing something similar.

  42. hi SoCal
    I can’t think of many people who would object to being described as ‘good-looking’. I thought it was just an off-the-cuff comment. To me, it made Obama seem more human.

  43. I’ve been spending a bit of time on Facebook recently, hobnobbing with my fellow OU students. Quite refreshing to come back to more austere climes!

  44. @NorthernStar

    I am very pro making and selling things, especially as exports,as part of a gradual rebalencing of our economy so happy to see us try and take business from the Germans. However if we push up the price of our own energy requirements compared with the likes of China with its ever increasing coal fired power stations that is bound to have an adverse effect on our economy.

    In terms of polling on the subject AW has made the point many times that how you phrase the question can have a dramatic effect on the resultant answer. What do you feel about population growth? Is it not a bigger problem?

  45. @ ToH

    Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that he hits the nail with his head. But anyway.

    The UK has lots of expertise in marine energy and some in wind and solar. The last market is closed: China is taking it (they are the largest spenders on renewable energy research and now perhaps installation too). However the UK cannot use much of this expertise because all the regulations of renewable energy has centred on pleasing the City – Labour government included.

    Funding in research and installation would not hurt the economy, but encouraging speculation on secondary renewable energy markets and making the customers pay for future investment (that may not happen) to support speculation in energy companies’ shares hurt the sector.

    Indeed the UK could learn from Germany and from Denmark.

  46. @howard – I was also thinking the link between climate change and the Swansea measles outbreak, and I think the MMR experience is a valuable lesson to those who still choose to doubt current climate science.

    The scandal of the MMR reporting a decade ago – led by the Mail nationally but interestingly strongly backed by the Swansea local paper – was based on an inability to understand science and a willingness to believe someone who was well intentioned but ultimately unqualified to make the assertions he proposed. Sections of the media chose to represent his views as accurate while ignoring the 99% of qualified medical experts who disagreed.

    We have a very similar situation with climate change, where elements of the press take unsubstantiated counter views and inflate them into a level of parity with established science, and then go further in claiming that this somehow proves that ‘the establishment’ is covering something up.

    With MMR, it has led to sickness and death amongst children. With climate change it will be far worse. I don’t believe the Daily Mail has yet apologised for its catastrophic misjudgement on MMR, and I don’t expect any similar comment in relation to climate change science from any doubters either.

  47. Yes, China uses a lot of coal (and petrol), yet energy rationing is a daily occurrence, but as I mentioned they are also a leading force in renewable energy. India is more problematic in this respect. A British company has technology to upgrade old powers stations at a reasonable cost. They fell victim of the first round of revisions of state loans and guarantees after the elections. Since then they have sold the technology to a French company. Sad story.

  48. @ Alec

    It was a strange time. The Private Eye explicitly refused to apologise, though they were worse than the DM in this sad saga (though less impact I suppose). But it belongs to the same phenomenon of loss of trust in formal institutions (now including big pharma) and the unholy alliance of lack of trust + radical evangelism + C-list celebrities + Oprah (media) + academic fraud fuelled also by the organisation of academia.

  49. @Laszlo
    We won’t get into Littlejohn anymore I appreciate he is hated by the left for obvious reasons. On climate change you are obviously more interested in the subject and know more about it than I do and I am very happy for the UK to learn from the Germans, Danes and anybody else so long as it is to our economic advantage as a nation.
    @Alec
    I understand the point you are making but in my case you miss the target completely. I was furious with the Daily Mail and all those who backed its campaign on MMR and predicted a future major outbreak of measles at the time. Indeed I would have stopped taking it but for my wife who actually likes it, mainly for the female pages. I am certainly not an apologist for that paper and in particular its science reporting. I get really cross when they persist in calling bacteria viruses and visa versa for example. They have some sort of health scare weekly.
    The point that nobody apart from Colin seems to pick up is that population growth is a bigger threat. I am also old enough and therefore cynical enough to believe that neither climate change nor population increase will be dealt with other than as Colin says by adapting, and evolving via natural selection. If we cannot do that then I expect the human species to die out.
    Off now to watch more rugby.

  50. @ Amber Star

    “It was a ridiculous thing for President Obama to say but not sexist per se. Had Hilary been president & made the same comment about a male attorney general, I’d have found it equally silly.”

    Well it sort of reminds me of conversations with my brother where we start discussing the physical attributes of politicians because he’ll start talking about how a woman is “beautiful” but “had bad skin” and “has a really large ass” and then I start talking about a male colleague by saying “I’m surprised he doesn’t have a great ass. I mean, it’s not bad but it’s nothing to right home about.” It’s not sexist, it’s just plain perverted! And also silly.

    A good friend of mine a the Convention was telling me how much the CA AG was his idea of a beautiful woman. So recently, when I saw a photo of her with a young Congressman who I find rather attractive, I sent him the photo saying “You and I should go on a double date.” :) Yeah, it’s silly.

    “I think it was right that he did apologise to the attorney general; & right that people know he apologised to her.”

    Well I don’t think she was offended. But I think he’s going to make the best looking Attorney General the best looking Supreme Court Justice if he gets the opportunity. A distraction isn’t necessary.

    @ Valerie

    “I can’t think of many people who would object to being described as ‘good-looking’. I thought it was just an off-the-cuff comment. To me, it made Obama seem more human.”

    :) My feeling was, if he had only said that, the comment would have been sexist (or at least in the vicinity of being sexist). But taken in context with the other complimentary comments about her that were more substantive, it wasn’t sexist.

    Forgetting who’s goodlooking, it worries me that the second largest city in the United States could wind up without any women in elected office. These offices are important and there needs to be more gender balance. It’s also odd in light of the Congressional Delegation and representation in the State Legislature.

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