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65% of US population are skeptical that each flood drought or heatwave is mostly “man-made”

Posted By Joanne Nova On November 25, 2014 @ 8:54 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

How big is the Green B-lobby? So big, whole research projects are devoted to better ways to push propaganda onto voters. In this case, it turns out that despite an international PR blitz to unscientifically link your car exhaust to extreme floods in Bangladesh (etc and so forth), 65% of the US public just aren’t buying it. Instead the study finds that people are actually not too bad at judging whether a season was warmer than usual. (Was anyone surprised at this after 500 million years of evolution?). Disappointingly, though, for those pushing the climate propaganda, the meme that man-made global warming is to blame for all heatwaves, snowfalls, floods, hurricanes, and reckless fish is not working.

“Only 35 percent of U.S. citizens believe global warming was the main cause of the abnormally high temperatures during the winter of 2012″

This is a cruel blow to climate change activists. They had pinned their hopes on generating fear among voters by trying to associate every storm and bad-hair day to man-made global warming. But two-thirds of the public are not fooled. Even when they “personally experience” abnormally warm winters, or even hear news of a whole series of severe events, 65% of people don’t believe it was man-made.

The abnormally warm winter was just one in an ongoing series of severe weather events — including the 2010 Russian heat wave, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines — that many believed would help start convincing global warming skeptics.

“There’s been a lot of talk among climate scientists, politicians and journalists that warmer winters like this would change people’s minds,” McCright said. “That the more people are exposed to climate change, the more they’ll be convinced. This study suggests this is not the case.”

Perhaps the population is growing more propaganda-weary?

This study further finds that state-level mean temperature anomalies do not influence whether or not people attribute warmer- than-normal local winter temperatures to global warming.

Naturally, when you struggle with cause-and-effect in the climate, you also struggle with cause-and-effect in psychology. Does political orientation influence climate belief, or does climate belief influence political orientation? That is not a question McCright asks.

Given the politicization of climate science and political polarization on climate change beliefs in the US, it is not surprising that attribution of warmer-than-usual winter temperatures to global warming is filtered through partisan and ideological lenses.

Or maybe people’s voting habits are filtered through logical-lenses and they turned away from parties which pushed stupid ideas? How about that hypothesis?

[Science Daily]

Global warming skeptics unmoved by extreme weather

What will it take to convince skeptics of global warming that the phenomenon is real? Surely, many scientists believe, enough droughts, floods and heat waves will begin to change minds.

But a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar throws cold water on that theory.

Only 35 percent of U.S. citizens believe global warming was the main cause of the abnormally high temperatures during the winter of 2012, Aaron M. McCright and colleagues report in a paper published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Many people already had their minds made up about global warming and this extreme weather was not going to change that,” said McCright, associate professor in MSU’s Lyman Briggs College and Department of Sociology.

Winter 2012 was the fourth warmest winter in the United States dating back to at least 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some 80 percent of U.S. citizens reported winter temperatures in their local area were warmer than usual.

The researchers analyzed March 2012 Gallup Poll data of more than 1,000 people and examined how individuals’ responses related to actual temperatures in their home states. Perceptions of warmer winter temperatures seemed to track with observed temperatures.

“Those results are promising because we do hope that people accurately perceive the reality that’s around them so they can adapt accordingly to the weather,” McCright said.

But when it came to attributing the abnormally warm weather to global warming, respondents largely held fast to their existing beliefs and were not influenced by actual temperatures.

As this study and McCright’s past research shows, political party identification plays a significant role in determining global warming beliefs. People who identify as Republican tend to doubt the existence of global warming, while Democrats generally believe in it.

The abnormally warm winter was just one in an ongoing series of severe weather events — including the 2010 Russian heat wave, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines — that many believed would help start convincing global warming skeptics.

“There’s been a lot of talk among climate scientists, politicians and journalists that warmer winters like this would change people’s minds,” McCright said. “That the more people are exposed to climate change, the more they’ll be convinced. This study suggests this is not the case.”

 

h/t to Robbo. Thanks.

REFERENCE

Aaron M. McCright, Riley E. Dunlap, Chenyang Xiao. The impacts of temperature anomalies and political orientation on perceived winter warming. Nature Climate Change, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2443

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