A new BBC poll shows a major shift in public opinion in the UK since just last November. Look at the swing. Of the 41% of people who then said the cause of climate change was “well established,” more than 1 in 4 have switched sides. These people made up the major base of the active support, yet they are now questioning the assumption that man-made gases are driving the change.
Only 26% of people think “climate change is happening, and is now established as largely man-made”; on the other hand, 25% are so skeptical, they don’t believe climate change is happening at all.
We need a longer survey with more sophisticated questions to really find out what people think, but this poll makes it clear: Those sympathetic to urgent calls for major action on the climate now constitute only about one quarter of the population.
From the BBC site:
“It is very unusual indeed to see such a dramatic shift in opinion in such a short period,” Populus managing director Michael Simmonds told BBC News.
“The British public are sceptical about man’s contribution to climate change – and becoming more so,” he added.
“More people are now doubters than firm believers.”
The number of people who felt the risks of climate change had been understated dropped from 38% in November to 25% in the latest poll.
Things could move very fast from here. Studies show some people (possibly many) will adjust their opinions to fit in with the crowd. And just as this time-saving mental shortcut worked against skeptics for years, it’s now beginning to swing with us. The critical mass is at a tipping point.