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

The Skeptics Handbook

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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Half the world is immune to “expert consensus” they don’t think scientists know what they are talking about

The headline here is that nearly half the population don’t think climate scientists know what they are talking about. Effectively thse people are immune to the 97% consensus figure. Who cares if most “experts” agree, if the blind are leading the blind?  The most skeptical of environmental scientists were the people of China, Japan, and Germany. Two thirds of Swedes, on the other hand, still trust environmental scientists.

Ipsos Mori  conducted this massive survey. Though, like many international multi-lingual endevours, there are confounding conflicts in the answers. All up, 16,000 online adults based in 20 countries were asked some interesting questions, and sometimes their answers made sense, but unfortunately we just can’t be sure when. In China 75% of respondents think scientists don’t know what they are talking about; 51% think that current climate change is natural, but 93% think it is also largely man-made. So 42% think that it’s our fault but it’s also natural. I suspect there is a language barrier. The Chinese were simultaneously the most paranoid cynics and the most dutiful recyclers. They were the third most skeptical nation while being the single most fervent believers and both simultaneously. Perhaps someone who knows more about China [...]

Are Australians more concerned about climate — or are Lowy polls loaded and misleading?

The new Lowy Poll has got some commentators arguing that climate fear is rising in Australia. What the survey actually shows is that 55% of Australian don’t want to spend money fighting climate change. The Lowy poll asked loaded questions, didn’t ask people to rank their concerns, and showed nearly everyone was critically worried about nearly everything. Was there a point?

Predictably, one small uptick is portrayed to pretend the climate religion is gaining momentum again.

The SMH leaps to say the climate of dread is heating up (they wish):

“In a striking shift in public opinion, 45% of Australians now see global warming as a ‘serious and pressing problem’, up 5 points since 2013 and 9 points since 2012. 63% of Australians say the government ‘should take a leadership role on reducing emissions’, while only 28% say ‘it should wait for an international consensus before acting’.” — Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald.

How important is a 5 point shift? The survey was of 1,000 adults in Feb 2014. The margin of error is 3.1%.

Peter Hannam doesn’t mention that the level of concern is 22 points down on the high that was recorded in 2006 when 68% of [...]

Only 3% of Americans name “environment” as top issue.

The Gallup poll results for May show the environment is not the most important issue for 97% of Americans.  Golly, but those naming the environment as the top concern tripled from 1% – 3% from April to May. It’s a blip up in a long term trend that’s falling. H/t to

How many times do people need to tell politicians that being a skeptic isn’t  the vote killer that some commentators would like you to believe? Even people who believe in man-made global warming just aren’t as concerned about the environment as they are about jobs, corruption, and the economy.

Which politician will make cleaning out corruption their trademark policy?

Where’s the balance?

According to some the media doesn’t report on climate often enough. But where’s the “balance” — if 97% of the public are more concerned about something else, perhaps the message should be something else?

For those all-knowing super intelligent beings who protest that the public won’t worry about the right things if you don’t tell them, we can only ask if 20 years of non-stop campaigns, reports, advertising, documentaries, and Nobel Prize winning (flawed) documentaries are enough?


Public are terminally bored with climate. Anderegg denies devastating Climategate damage

The big news from this new study is no news — the public are more bored with climate change than ever, and the trend is down. The fever peaked in 2007, and the last great spike of interest was in late 2009 when ClimateGate finished it off. Though that’s not the way Anderegg sees it.

Anderegg infamously published the blacklist of scientists in PNAS, so we know he struggles with the scientific method. Here, flawed assumptions render the conclusions a wishful fantasy. Anderegg argues that ClimateGate was not a big deal, didn’t affect opinions much, and (yawn) climate scientists need to do better communication. He’s wrong. His study misses the major damage — by assuming that the public are a uniform block his research could never uncover that the real effects of ClimateGate were devastating and irreversible. The scandal changed the opinions that matter — those of the smart engaged thinkers and leaders. I noted at the time that ClimateGate had put a rocket under the layer of influential busy achievers like never before. Suddenly people who hadn’t taken much interest in the debate were fired into action by the fraud. The nodes of influence shifted – as I said [...]

Australia: more skeptics than believers, and few really care about “Climate change”

First up, despite the endless repetition in the media that the science is settled and the evidence is overwhelming, the latest CSIRO survey shows 53% of the Australian population don’t agree that “humans are causing climate change”. When the ABC gives 50% of its climate budget and time to skeptical arguments we will know it is fulfilling its charter. Right now, the ABC serves less than half the population. Secondly, even with 47% of the population agreeing that humans are “largely” causing climate change, many of these people still don’t think climate change will be that bad. The issue “Climate Change” ranks 14 out of 16 general concerns, and among environmental concerns a pathetic 7th out of 8. It seems a large section of the 47% think the warming will be minor, or even beneficial. The CSIRO has done another clumsy survey, the fourth in a series, still not learning that inaccurate survey terms make the results of most questions meaningless. The unmistakable bottom line from this is that only a minority of Australians think that humans are changing the climate in an important way. Most Australians are more concerned about their health, their income, their job, water shortages, or [...]

UK poll: 62% don’t believe in man-made climate. Educated high income classes more skeptical than unskilled

Last week a new ComRes/ITV poll came out in the UK. The poll of 2,047 people from across the country shows that the population is split roughly into thirds. A third are skeptics, a third are believers, a third don’t know. Overall about 60% of UK citizens are not convinced that humans are changing the weather.

What was also really interesting but unreported about this study is that the wealthiest and most educated are more skeptical and those with the lowest income or shortest education were more likely to believe that humans are affecting the climate. In the upper middle class 36% think the floods are due to human activity, and virtually the same percentage — 35% are skeptics. In the manual worker and less skilled social bracket 44% think humans are to blame, and only 28% are skeptics. The skeptic message is winning over the upper class, better educated bracket. Presumably the rest will follow.

Firstly, most people think the weather is getting worse (red bar) — 65% of all the population. This belief is most common in the lowest income and less educated bracket.

Figure 1: Results from the question “Weather in the UK seems to get [...]

Australian skeptics outnumber believers say OECD. Globally, 63% don’t want their dollars spent on the environment…

The bottom line is that a third of people are concerned enough to be willing to act, a third say they are concerned but are only paying it lip service, and a third are openly skeptical.

What matters is that 63% of people around the world don’t want their governments to take any money from them to address environmental issues.

There is constant media spin that skeptics are a tiny fringe minority. (See Al Gore deny a third of the population. See the BBC call them mavericks and say they give too much weight to “fringe views”.) The marketeers pushing the meme know that many people are swayed away from “extreme” views and towards the dominant paradigm. Life is just “easier” if you follow the herd, so the big-scare campaign scores a free kick if the public believe that skeptics are rare. If the media reported the situation accurately, more people would be happy to sit in the “skeptical” camp as it would be perceived as equally valid.

As usual, those who believe in man-made global warming use every deceptive trick to push their policy, while skeptics simply benefit if the truth is told.

While skeptics just outnumber believers in [...]

Most Geoscientists and Engineers are Global Warming skeptics

When researchers Lianne M. Lefsrud and Renate E. Meyer asked geoscientists and engineers their opinion about global warming, they discovered that two thirds of them think that the current warming is mostly due to nature.

They also found out that skeptics are scientifically informed and in positions of power and influence. What they didn’t figure out is why this is bleedingly obvious once you start with correct assumptions. Even though the skepticism of well respected scientists matches the skepticism of meteorologists (think about that) the researchers assume the skeptics are “deniers”.

Of course, polls of scientists are not evidence about our climate. But it is evidence that one of the main forms of argument “97% of climate scientists say man-made warming is real” is not just meaningless, but misleading. It’s PR, not science. The endorsement of “science associations” is one of the main points of “evidence” offered by pro-carbon-market activists. But few of those associations ever asked their members, their endorsement is usually just a committee pronouncement from six networking types on the “climate policy” committee. And few researchers even ask “most scientists” what they think. The one large survey was done by volunteers (and done twice) and they found [...]

Another pointless poll – 2% of Canadians are “deniers”? Not so. But 32% think natural cycles have stopped!

 It’s another useless question written in a another pointless poll.

Define “climate change”: does it mean the climate doesn’t stay the same year after year, or is it code for “man-made global warming”? The term is so overused, so cliched, it is a meaningless part of any survey. Since “partially” means any number greater than zero, technically I’d have to answer that climate change is partly natural and party man-made. So the survey finds that many dedicated skeptics hold the majority opinion, but that’s not the way it’s being reported. With vague questions, this survey is not designed to find out what the population really thinks, it’s there to support media headlines and the propaganda push. A cheap trick to try to convince politicians that “carbon action” is a vote winner, and a ploy to try to demoralize skeptics into thinking they are a small and shrinking part of the community.

It shows, as do many other studies, that only a third of the population believe the IPCC message that all the recent warming is due to man-made emissions. 65% of the population know there is natural component to the way our climate changes, the question that matters is “how [...]

Local weather affects about 1% of people in polls on Global Warming

For every three degrees F warmer (or cooler), about 1 % of respondents in surveys think there is more (or less) evidence that the Earth has been getting warmer (3 F = 1.6 C).

Alarmists will use this survey to tell us how dumb the punters are, but remember that even if temperatures are 10 degrees C hotter or colder than normal that still means 94% of people answering the survey have not changed their position, and that the question itself largely misses the point. The important factor is whether human emissions caused the warming, and if so, what percentage of the increase was due to man-made effects.

Local Weather Patterns Affect Beliefs about Global Warming, NYU and Temple Researchers Find

Local weather patterns temporarily influence people’s beliefs about evidence for global warming, according to research by political scientists at New York University and Temple University. Their study, which appears in the Journal of Politics, found that those living in places experiencing warmer-than-normal temperatures at the time they were surveyed were significantly more likely than others to say there is evidence for global warming.


Climate Institute Poll finds we are all stupid, confused. Gillard must sell The Carbon Pox better!

We know the answer is always that they are smart, and that if we don’t “get their vision” they just need to explain it better.

“Australians have limited understanding of climate change, Climate Institute finds”

A new survey by the Climate Institute on attitudes to climate change shows the majority are concerned for the environment, but confusion reigns supreme.

After years of vigorous and at times toxic debate, more than 1000 people surveyed gave an amazing array of answers …. Sixty-nine per cent thought humans were causing it. But when asked to explain the Gillard Government’s carbon pricing scheme, focus groups returned blank stares.

The reality is of course that climate scientists have a limited understanding of our climate, and that most Australians are suspicious that a tax can change the weather.

Try not to throw up reading the actual report: Climate of The Nation. For starters, the low contrast colors in baby blue and penitentiary-grey-brown are designed not to be read, but to be absorbed. The layout and feel is very much the style of a baby formula brochure. Bask in the “atmosphere” as you scan, but bring out your magnifying glass if you [...]

This is why they want to stop skeptics speaking – Monckton swings 9%

Christopher Monckton had no slides, no graphs, and only part of one hour, and was faced with tough questions from seasoned journalists, 100 stacked seats of activists who hate him, and yet in that time 9% of the people who saw the debate and thought we needed to act on CO2, changed their mind.

This ladies and gentlemen tells you what a thin veneer it all is. We are one good prime time documentary away from a mass exodus from the Act!-now!-or!-Fry! camp. It’s so finely balanced that only a frenetic campaign of denigration, silence and assiduous denial will keep the public from “getting” it.

“Lord Monckton wins Press Club debate and persuaded 9% more Australians to his view that ‘Concerns about Global Warming are exaggerated’”

Roy Morgan Research

As far as believers of Global Warming are concerned, it’s absolutely rational to bully, namecall, whip up smear campaigns, and mock the skeptics. When they don’t have any good answers to the basic questions: Where’s the evidence, and Can we change the Weather?  They don’t have any choice.

Please gentlefolk, can we have a moments silence for the impending death [...]

Labor sets new record in Unpopularity – worst result since World War II

The latest Morgan Poll:

In the first Australia-wide voting intention poll conducted since Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the details of the Carbon Tax the latest telephone Morgan Poll conducted over the last two nights, July 13/14, 2011 shows the L-NP 60.5% with a record winning lead over the ALP 39.5% – the worst Two-Party preferred voting result for Labor since the first Roy Morgan Gallup Poll conducted in May 1942.

The L-NP primary vote is 52.5%, nearly double the ALP 27.5%. Support for the minor parties shows the Greens 10.5% and Others/ Independents 9.5%.

Stephen Harper, estimates that if this were repeated uniformly across all electorates at a general federal election and writes to me that  “Labor would be reduced to a rump of just 29 seats. ..and if things get  two percent worse  (62.5/37.5 2PP) Labor would be reduced to just 17 seats out of 150.”


Survey shows skeptics are smarter

I kid you not. Chris Mooney at Desmog has got the data that shows skeptics were more literate and numerate than believers, and he wants to share it.

Last week, an intriguing study emerged from Dan Kahan and his colleagues at Yale and elsewhere–finding that knowing more about science, and being better at mathematical reasoning, was related to more climate science skepticism and denial–rather than less.

When faced with the news that smarter more mathematical people were skeptical of man-made global warming, it’s a sure bet that as a Desmogger, he would fail to reach the obvious conclusion.  Are believers gullible fools who can’t see the flaws in the reasoning? No. Skeptics are more literate and numerate about everything else, except for climate science, when they become dangerously overconfident and seek only to use their intellect to punch holes in the theory. Its not like these bright types have anything else to do is it? Of course.

This is bad, bad news for anyone who thinks that better math and science education will help us solve our problems on climate change. But it’s also something else. To me, it provides a kind of uber-explanation for climate skeptic and denier behavior [...]

Skeptics rule online polls

Either there are a lot more skeptics than believers, or the skeptics are more likely to be on the net.

Some polls you may want to take part in (which are registering around 3 out 4 votes for skeptics).

The Greens are running scared.


Latest Morgan Poll: Govt popularity falls to 30%. But half still think we need to “do something” about the climate.


The latest telephone Morgan Poll conducted over the last three nights, May 31 — June 2, 2011, shows the L-NP (59%) with its biggest winning lead over the ALP (41%) since the Morgan Poll began recording Two-Party preferred results in early 1993.

A clear majority of Australian electors (53%, down 1% since March 2011) oppose the Gillard Government’s plan to introduce a carbon tax, 37% (down 1%) support the proposed carbon tax and 10% (up 2%) can’t say.

Although most oppose the carbon tax Australians are concerned about Global Warming. When asked for their view of Global Warming most Australians (50%, down 4% since January 2010) say that ‘If we don’t act now it will be too late’ and a further 15% (up 3%) say ‘It is already too late,’ only 32% (up 1%) believe that ‘Concerns are exaggerated,’ and 3% (unchanged) can’t say.


A Sign of the Times — Warmenist makes urban dictionary

The struggles for believers of the theory-with-no-observations are getting worse. Once upon a time they used to just ignore skeptics. Now they’re coming to terms with their fall from hallowed “untouchable” status.

The Climate Spectator posted an article  Wish I wasn’t a warmenist last week discussing the new urban terminology:

Here’s how the online Urban Dictionary defines a warmenist: “Gullible, scientificially (sic) illiterate, unthinking acolyte and zombie-fired propagandist of the Religion of Anthropogenic Global Warming.”

One in the eye, one supposes, for all those academies of science which have declared they accept the science of global warming and man’s role in it. But the definition goes on: “One who takes direct orders from High Priest King of Idiocy, Albert J. Gore. One who puts the “mental” in environmentalism. Historical inheritors of those who believed that King Canute could hold back the tides and that the wolf would eat the moon unless their first-born daughter’s virginity was sacrificed to the local shaman.”

They are even thinking of tossing out Tim Flannery (as gently as possible): “Given the level of national debate, maybe Tim Flannery wasn’t the ideal choice to champion the need to do something about climate change.” As usual when [...]

Carbon — demonized by climate propaganda

The PR machine has spent twenty years pretending to be scientific while they push poll the phrase “carbon is pollution”  (Don’t you want to stop pollution?) But turn the polling inside out and the nonsense is exposed. Stephen Harper takes the PR team’s theme to its logical conclusion and uses it against them.


Forget plate tectonics and continental drift. A trace gas in the atmosphere can reshape the Earth, at least, that’s apparently how many people see it. A new survey shows that over a third of the population think that climate change induces not just tsunamis, but even volcanic eruptions. Worse, 37% of people are so convinced carbon is pollution that they think it would be a worthwhile aim to reduce the carbon content of their body. (The ultimate diet, you might say).

About a quarter of the population are so plum-confused about what carbon is, they would rather not eat food with carbon in it. (Crikey!) The numbers taken in by the mass delusion are shocking. Nearly half the population think food would be safer without carbon.

This is the unscientific bias of our national bureaucracies, [...]

Nearly 80% of Chinese people are skeptics*: world wide poll

Gallup has done a world wide poll, about whether people believe the theory of man-made global warming. Though don’t stake too much money on the results, they only interviewed “approximately 1000 people” (what’s an approximate person?).

*So we’re talking about a survey of about 10 people per country.

The headlines are outrageously ambitious , “most of the human race”, yet having surveyed 111 countries it’s sort of  half-way believable (with caveats). What’s striking is that the great man-made global warming theory has left no corner of the globe untouched… 10% of Somaliland believes it fergoodnesssake. (Well OK, so one person said “yes”.)

But it begs a few questions — like how do you phone poll accurately in countries where there are not many phones, and hardly anyone speaks English?

The China statistic is interesting. For all the talk that the world’s largest emitter of CO2 is “speeding to take up renewable energy” it ranks 105th out of 111 countries. “79%” of Chinese people are skeptics (well, more or less).


Poll Wars: Lying with loaded questions

The Carbon Tax is melting down Australian politics. The spin is running wild and the falsity of “carbon pollution” (sic) preys on yet another political leader.

Two polls met head to head today, one showing 59% of Australians don’t want the tax, and other saying that 72% of Australians want government to negotiate with Greens on the carbon levy. It’s a PR war out there, and, humans being gregarious creatures, every side wants to be in the majority — it’s a critical mass type of thing.

It’s easy to figure out which poll is closer to the truth.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) poll asked 550 adults the simple question:  “Thinking about the carbon tax. Are you in favour or against the introduction of a carbon tax in Australia?”. 59% were against, 13% didn’t know. Making it 72% who are not for it.

Meanwhile, proving that you can get almost any result you want on a poll if you ask the right questions, Galaxy Research asked 1036 people, the complex, loaded double whammy:

Thinking now about some federal issues. All sides of Australian politics agree that there is a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions [...]