JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Archives

Despite propaganda, 30% of Australians aren’t fooled

Graph: poll online opinon australians carbon climate
The Question: Do increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere pose an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic change in earth’s temperature in the future?

Of 1022 people polled, 55% agreed and 31% opposed (including the 19% who strongly opposed). Nearly half, or 45% are not convinced a catastrophe is on the way due to carbon dioxide. Source: OnlineOpinion

My sense is that the curve of opinion on this complex science is the inverse of what you would expect. Normally on a complex scientific topic,  the most common answer would be neither agree nor disagree (or don’t know), and the strong opinions would taper off like a bell curve with few people being sure either way. Instead opinions are polarized. “Catastrophic” is strong language. One side here is passionately wrong.

46 % of Australians surveyed believe the Emissions Trading Scheme should be delayed.

With 3000 times as much funding supporting the side with professional PR teams, the endless repetition of the assumption that man-made carbon dioxide causes warming is becoming a liability in itself. The more the advocates for action whitewash, the more people grow suspicious. They more they bully, the more people get a gut feeling that things are not right. The harder the activists push, the stronger the opposition becomes. The only thing that would rescue the case for Cap N trade or an ETS  is good scientific evidence. James Hansen and Al Gore can hardly claim they can’t get their message across in the media, so we wonder why they keep the evidence a secret?

US belief in a climate change crisis is plummeting

Pew poll opion climate change USA

Results from US polls show that they are even more skeptical and attitudes are changing fast. In results out today the Pew Poll shows that belief in man-made global warming is declining faster than ever and across all voter profiles (See graphic, left). Only 36% of people agreed that human activities warm the planet, down from 47% last year. (Warming the planet is a much weaker claim than the catastrophic one above). Curiously Republican voters convictions started falling in 2007, and Independent voters in 2008. Are Democrat voters next?

Careers and Incomes

In Australia, predictably but disappointingly the group of workers who were the most likely to see the risk of catastrophe as unacceptable were educators (75%). Meanwhile income and disagreement was a U-shaped curve. Those with low incomes and high incomes were like to disagree. Those earning between $25,000 and $75,000 were more likely to believe. For what it’s worth, my unsubstantiated speculation is that the high earning – highly educated, hard nosed business managers are unimpressed with the explanations. The well educated middle class have been exposed to a large amount of the propaganda, but possibly don’t have the tools, the time, or the contacts to understand why it’s wrong (yet). The lower income people don’t need to understand the details of the science to recognize when someone is being rude, dodging the question, or bullying instead of reasoning. They have a street sense that someone is trying to put one over them.

There was a small sample of scientists of which 70% still think that the risk is unacceptable but we have no information on the spread of their specialties. Other surveys of scientists have produced wildly different results — and positions on the potential for catastrophe vary widely from specialty to specialty. For example, 90% of geoscientists at the 2008 Japan Geoscience Union Symposium do not believe the IPCC report. [Source.]

“Dr Maruyama said many scientists were doubtful about man-made climate-change theory, but did not want to risk their funding from the government or bad publicity from the mass media, which he said was leading society in the wrong direction.”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
Despite propaganda, 30% of Australians aren't fooled, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/2g8552p

29 comments to Despite propaganda, 30% of Australians aren’t fooled

  • #
    Bruce

    Even Obama is starting to lose interest in climate change!

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6888165.ece

    00

  • #
    Denny

    Bruce,

    Even Obama is starting to lose interest in climate change!

    I hope you are correct! I read this article but find it a little hard to believe…The saying goes, “I’ll believe it when I see it” is my belief at this time.. He’s so “gun hoa” on the issue of AGW, that he doesn’t want to even try to keep an open mind…He wants control like Socialists strive for in Office..Thanks for the article!

    Joanne, keep them coming! You are great in what you do and present to the “Common Folk”!

    00

  • #
    S.T.Beare

    The public will eventually pick up on the con,
    Chairman Rudd and his Central Commitee will be the eventual
    loosers.

    00

  • #
    co2isnotevil

    We are starting to see this here as well. This AP story was in the paper yesterday.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091022/ap_on_re_us/us_climate_poll;_ylt=AnOvonMD3P2SYceM3YnF6lZ0fNdF

    George

    00

  • #
    Steve Schapel

    This truly is remarkable. I expect that the proportion of people exposed to mainly pro-AGW indoctrination would be pretty high, and one would normally expect public opinion to reflect that.

    Joanne, I liked your surmise about the U-curve of income/disagreement. Probably pretty right. If so, let’s hope the “yet” is the most important word in this sentence:
    “The well educated middle class have been exposed to a large amount of the propaganda, but possibly don’t have the tools, the time, or the contacts to understand why it’s wrong (yet).”

    00

  • #
  • #
    eilert

    Nice to see the numbers come done, but come on ’34% strongly agree’ – Whou! I think sceptics have a huge task still ahead.

    00

  • #
  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    Meanwhile, back at the University, Clive Hamilton and friends are desperately working to besmirch the reputations of skeptical scientists – or ”denialists” – even going as far as rewriting the history of climate scepticism:

    http://www.themonthly.com.au/climate-change-denialism-clive-hamilton-and-andrew-glikson-2006

    ”The Monthly” is an Australian left-wing magazine, Robert Manne is its editor and Clive Hamilton is a self-described ‘public intellectual’ (whatever that is …) and, rather worryingly under the circumstances, professor of Public Ethics (!) at Charles Sturt University.

    There are three parts, watch them all if you have time! It’s all so incredibly smug and self-satisfied. Prof. Glikson in his section comes up with a bizarre set of slides purportedly depicting the kinds of claims made by ‘denialists’. I’ve been following the controversies of global warming/climate change now for nigh on 2 years and this is the first time I’ve seen any of it. It is simply made up.

    But the audience of the faithful seem to lap it all up as gospel …

    00

  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    Apparently, Clive Hamilton is standing for the Green Party in the upcoming by-election for Higgins (Peter Costello’s newly vacated seat).

    The horrible prospect is that he may just win: Peter Costello boasted a high proportion of personal (as opposed to “party”) votes, and Labor are not running a candidate.

    Senator Bob Brown (leader of the Greens) has said that Hamilton “will raise the level of debate on climate change and other national issues to a higher level in the House of Representatives”.

    Watch the segment above, then you be the judge of that.

    00

  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    It looks like my comment before is ‘awaiting moderation’ – I’ve never seen that on Joanne’s blog before … I’m going to try posting it again, and my last sentence above: “Watch the segment above …” becomes “Watch the segment below …”

    —–

    Meanwhile, back at the University, Clive Hamilton and friends are desperately working to besmirch the reputations of skeptical scientists – or ”denialists” – even going as far as rewriting the history of climate scepticism:

    http://www.themonthly.com.au/climate-change-denialism-clive-hamilton-and-andrew-glikson-2006

    ”The Monthly” is an Australian left-wing magazine, Robert Manne is its editor and Clive Hamilton is a self-described ‘public intellectual’ (whatever that is …) and, rather worryingly under the circumstances, professor of Public Ethics (!) at Charles Sturt University.

    There are three parts, watch them all if you have time! It’s all so incredibly smug and self-satisfied. Prof. Glikson in his section comes up with a bizarre set of slides purportedly depicting the kinds of claims made by ‘denialists’. I’ve been following the controversies of global warming/climate change now for nigh on 2 years and this is the first time I’ve seen any of it. It is simply made up.

    But the audience of the faithful seem to lap it all up as gospel …

    00

  • #

    Anne, thanks for those links. Sorry I put “deniers” in the moderation watchlist temporarily. Something recently brought in about 4 new bullies, and I wanted to slow them down. Your message got picked up as collateral…

    I don’t think the unskeptical scientists realize how damaging their shorthand derogatory term is, — to their own heads. As long as they think we are not human they don’t have to listen. It stops them being rational.

    Thanks for the Clive Hamilton link and Greens update. Will be an interesting by-election.

    00

  • #
    co2isnotevil

    I think several things are happening. First, people are becoming more skeptical of politicians and climate change is an issue that has definitely been subverted by politicians. Second, none of the doom and gloom that’s been forecasted over the last decade seems to be coming to pass. Polar bears don’t seem to be going anywhere and here in the US, we’ve had an unusually cool summer and winter seems to be starting early. Third, FOX news has been pushing against cap&trade very hard lately. Their emphasis has been on the flawed economics of it all, which is easier for people to understand than the science, although several notable science skeptics have been on recently. Most of the rest of the media still pushes the AGW party line, as they tend to get criticized by the left when they deviate from the script. It seems that FOX actually relishes criticism from the left.

    Here in the SF Bay Area, the media is very left leaning. There’s a lot of scientific competence in the region which might explain why the article I pointed to earlier appeared on page 2, rather than being buried with the obituaries.

    George

    00

  • #
    co2isnotevil

    Joanne, re#11

    Maybe there needs to be a ‘honeypot’ thread (a technique used to catch spammers and hackers) where AGW zealots can rant to their hearts content. Frequently, they tend to hang themselves with their own words and always do so with their behavior. We can keep them engaged with a high road, teflon like approach, just to keep the pot stirred.

    George

    00

  • #
    Denny

    co2isnotevil:
    October 25th, 2009 at 3:15 am

    Third, FOX news has been pushing against cap&trade very hard lately.

    Yes, George, and it’s about time in my book. This is the kind of coverage “Realists” need to create more cracks in this AGW befogle! Didn’t Glenn Beck go there??? I’m thinking he did and He’s “very” vocal against the Alarmists and I think He’s a “True” American..I hope Fox will help even get some Scientists like Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, Endlich, Pielke Jr. and Sr., Browning, Singer just to name a few! This scientists do see the other side..Steve McIntyre should be on Fox also..He used to be on the IPCC..He did a great job on the latest Movie “Not Evil Just Wrong”… I hope Fox hangs in there and tells “both” sides to people who are just getting started into investigating AGW…I’m finding people almost weeking coming by GWH.com and asking about what is really going on…It seems like People in general don’t want to “tackle” this issue. If they only knew the results of “not” opening their eyes…In doing a posting on an article the other day this thought came across! “Achievement Precludes Advancement!” Wow, it’s amazing how these thoughts just pop! Right Lionell Griffith???

    00

  • #
    bill-tb

    Since every shred of truth has now leaked out about the hoax, you should ask the hoaxers to “prove it”.

    00

  • #
    Scott

    I have just watched the 3rd part of the Clive Hamilton link from Anne-Kit at #9 above, the Questions session. OMG, are these people real ? Clive wants people who question what he believes run out of their professions and for media to remove balance from its reporting, etc ,etc. This should actually be shown to responsible people in main stream media to bring this sort of lunacy and thought control BS out into the open so that people can see just what sort idealogy is behind this whole madness. I just forwarded the link amongst the trading room I work in, (we are all electricity and carbon traders and if this ETS BS comes in we stand to gain as much as anyone from it)and everyone is just flabbergasted to believe this sort of language can come from ‘rational’ people in Australia.
    Jo – some of the statements are surely worth their own headined posts for wider comment ? I can’t stop shaking my head………

    00

  • #

    Scott you are right. I am snowed under this week but Hamilton deserved to be exposed. It’s a shocker. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to do that soon.

    Thanks for your comment.
    It’s so apt.

    Trader eh? I’ve been a gold trader myself, so I know where you are coming from. The fools out there who don’t realize where the big money is are the patsies at the poker game.
    Naive greens cavort with sharks.

    00

  • #
    Scott

    haaa, yep a few ‘naive greens’, ie, solar installers, are finding out the hard way at the moment with the sharks engineering and making the most of the collapse in Renewable Energy Certificate prices over the last couple of months – expect some even uglier situations somewhere down the track with the ETS. I think the percentages of people inclined to believe in the need for an ETS will continue to fall as the cost impacts across all parts of our lives becomes more and more apparent.

    00

  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    “Baptists and bootleggers”

    The phrase “Baptists and bootleggers” describes how special interest groups with opposing views can come to support the same government policy.

    The classic example is Prohibition in America, applauded by Baptists because they thought alcohol was evil, while bootleggers supported it because it eliminated most of the competition (i.e, legitimate liquor companies). This alliance was enough for the politicians to impose prohibition on the public. They were able to use the arguments of the Baptists to support a policy that ensured them the bribes of the bootleggers, who stood to make money from Prohibition.

    In today’s climate change vaudeville show, the Baptists are of course played by the environmentalists and the bootleggers are bankers, politicians, carbon traders and everyone else who stand to make lots of money or otherwise benefit greatly from carbon regulation.

    “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” (Edmund Burke)

    00

  • #

    The blog associated with this survey has a comment from Andrew Glickson. I replied…
    http://ambit-gambit.nationalforum.com.au/archives/003593.html

    Andrew, please, since the planet’s health depends on it, let’s leave no stone unturned. Demand immediately that all global data used at the East Anglia CRU be made available – so the results can be checked and verified; that Nature uphold it’s own standards of free access to data; that the IPCC consider all the evidence; that someone somewhere finds THAT mystery paper which has empirical evidence that carbon dioxide causes a major change to our climate.

    $79 billion in funding for climate related science and technology ought to have produced ONE paper in support. Where is it?

    Simulations of the climate are not The Climate. Models are based on assumptions and estimates and raised to the power of a good guess. Models are extraordinary, but their task is huge. They are unverified, and there are gaping holes in their predictions.

    We are simply talking about the life support system of science… that science is based on observation, not opinion, not authority, and not on hidden data, hidden adjustments, or “simulations”. We are talking about the right of citizens to expect their governments and government scientists to make decisions based on logic and reason.

    With major financial institutions standing to make billions in profits from a carbon market ought not the citizens of Australia have the right to be protected from exaggerated claims?
    Carbon trading world wide in 2008 was $126 billion. The forecasts suggest it will become THE largest “commodity” traded. All the more amazing since it isn’t a commodity, but a government “permit”. http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/climate_money.pdf

    Our very democracy is at risk. We hand over control of our economy to an unaudited unelected committee in Geneva.

    JoNova

    00

  • #
    Tel

    There’s an easy way to refute Clive Hamilton — consistency. If you skip past his hand-waving, and pay close attention to the content, you discover that he refutes himself.

    http://www.latrobe.edu.au/news/articles/2009/podcasts/climate-change-politics-with-clive-hamilton/transcript

    Matt Smith: Like they put their fingers in their ears and yell very loudly over the top of everyone else sometimes.

    Clive Hamilton: There’s a strong element of that. But here you’ve got people who sometimes are well educated who develop these often bizarre reasons for repudiating the scientific evidence. And you think, “Why? What do they get out of denying the science?” Frequently, they claim they are denying the science because they’re more intelligent and rational than everyone else. And they need an explanation for why the vast majority of scientists and particularly those who study the issue take a very different view. So, they have to come up with bizarre notions about how all of these scientists are in some conspiracy to inflate their incomes or advance their own careers or they just get caught up in herd behavior.

    Now, anyone who knows the scientific community knows that any scientist who could come up with a believable, sustainable case which undermined one or more of the main elements of climate change signs would have his or her reputation made. I mean, they’d probably get the Nobel Prize for it. So, there’s a strong incentive to find evidence against it, but no one has come up with anything persuasive.

    So, it really is a very puzzling phenomenon, but it’s a dangerous phenomenon because, of course, those in government and industry who want not to act or to act slowly feed off their arguments even though the arguments have no scientific credibility.

    … then later on, out comes the other side of the coin …

    Matt Smith: You’re insinuating pressure from corporations?

    Clive Hamilton: Absolutely. The fossil fuel lobby in Australia, they call themselves the Greenhouse Mafia, is an extremely powerful political lobby and I think the most powerful industry lobby that we’ve ever seen in Australia. And with the election of the Rudd government, some of those corporations that previously funded and promoted climate science denial shifted their strategy when they knew that some policy was going to be introduced to try to water down the policy.

    … and again later …

    Matt Smith: Is he as a politician being influenced by outside organizations with other agendas, do you think?

    Clive Hamilton: Well, political leaders have an endless strain of lobbyists through their doors. In fact, there’s a whole industry in Canberra whose job can be summarized as opening doors into politicians’ offices. That’s what they do. They use their contacts, they use their connections, and they get paid very well in order to open those doors. And one of those doors is Peter Garrett’s. And so, he has inevitably influenced by the sorts of lobbying that he gets day in day out from corporations who want to try to avoid or water down environmental regulations. And many people had expected that with the labor government environment organizations would have a greater influence in Canberra. And they undoubtedly do have some more influence compared to the Howard government. But I think some environment organization leaders have been dismayed with the extent to which they appended to but not really listening to.

    So in summary: people who agree with Clive are honest, forthright and incorruptible. People who disagree with Clive are sneaky, suspicious, clearly corrupt. Those (like Peter Garratt) who basically do agree with Clive but are not sufficiently extreme to satisfy Clive’s personal taste are compromised and “inevitably influenced”.

    00

  • #
    pineappledanaloupe

    There was a piece on Talk of the Nation on NPR this morning analyzing the PEW poll.
    Their conclusions were much different than your because they discussed ALL of the questions asked in the poll, which were posed alongside the one about global warming. They concluded that it was not that people are not believing the science anymore, but that they are more concerned about the economy. Money trumps all. Always has, always will.

    http://people-press.org/report/485/economy-top-policy-priority

    Who cares what the people think, it is the science that matters. And that consensus hasn’t changed.

    00

  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    “They concluded that it was not that people are not believing the science anymore,”

    Well, if National Public Radio concluded that, who are we to argue with them? ;-)

    “Who cares what people think?”

    Would you have said that if the poll had come out with figures more to your liking, Ray?

    “it is the science that matters. And that consensus hasn’t changed.”

    Oh? Did the world’s scientists take a vote recently? Did we miss it?

    00

  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    Oh, silly me, I should have addressed pineapple, not Ray – they have a rather similar style of arguing …

    00

  • #
    allen mcmahon

    pine etc:

    … it is the science that matters.

    Could not agree more observable evidence has falsified AGW theory.

    And that consensus hasn’t changed.

    Since when has consensus had anything to do with science. Apart from alarmists who cares what a bunch of scientists playing with faulty computer models agree upon. The “its worse that we thought” predictions are becoming a joke.
    Seen the polls lately, consensus like AGW theory will soon be “worse that we thought” for alarmists.

    Public perception shapes political action and on that basis AGW will soon be past it’s tipping point, although I expect that you and your ilk will continue to avoid the obvious.

    Hiding behind a pseudonym is for those lacking the courage to identify with their convictions.

    00

  • #
    Brian G Valentine

    Australian neighbours and friends, can’t you see that this “climate change” nonsense is nothing but a ticket to meet some political (and taxation) objectives of your PM and a few of your less than wholly objective Senators?

    Failiure in Copenhagen equates to a big win for the free world.

    Give your Government no reason to smile at the Copenhagen love-in, wherein Capitalist countries are expected to protrate themselves before UN criminal syndicates and gangsters (for no good reason whatsoever)

    00

  • #
    Jeff

    There is a nice simple counter to the latest bit of alarmism coming from the Climate Change Minister, the Environment Minister and the PM, who are all hell bent on frightening coastal landholders and dwellers about “Rising Sea Levels” with various 6m, 7m, 20m and 67m rises, resulting in land values dropping and insurance rates rising. Also compulsory aquisition of land has been mentioned in some cases.

    If you Google Earth, Dubai, you will see the development of man made islands, marina and canal developments, all at a level not very far above sea level.
    These developments are only recent (Palm Jumierah was started in 2001 and residents started moving in late 2005), and with the most recent pictures on Google Earth of Dubai, shows massive building developments and massive infrastructure such as highways, and a mono-rail system. Trump International Hotel and Tower are on the entry to the Palm Island.

    The project also includes 300 man made islands, further up the coast to the East, dredged from the sea floor to form another part of the development titled “The World”. At this stage there is a large resort on one of these islands.

    I would consider that the Arab engineers, planners, developers and financiers of these projects are not incompetent, and sea level,sea surge and “Global Warming ? ” would have been taken into account.
    Dubai is on a similar latitude to India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, which according to the Gore, will be inundated.
    Al Gore hosted a conference in Dubai recently on finance and carbon trading, presumably because of all that Arab oil money. From the reports I have read, there was no mention of alarming sea level rise.

    00

  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    Check the front page of the Weekend Australian today:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/science-is-in-on-climate-change-sea-level-rise-17mm/story-e6frg6nf-1225795202916

    Shame you can’t see the position and size of photos to really appreciate the significance of this kind of story in the MSM!!

    00