JoNova

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


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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Big lesson for Australia from US voters. Climate change is over as an election issue.

Remember how we were told people everywhere are “waking up to the threat of climate change”? Welcome to 2014. In Charles Krauthammers words “The National Weather Service has upgraded the election from tropical storm to tsunami, especially the results of the governorships. If you look at the bluest states in the country, Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, all gone Republican.”

Australians may have missed what happened this week in the US (especially if they only watch the ABC). Climate Change is over as a voting issue.  Will Australian Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, get the message? Just last month he pledged to put carbon trading on the next election agenda (again). The conservatives across the nation must be cheering.

In the US, Tom Steyer threw $74 million into a campaign to convince voters to be very afraid and vote out the Republicans. Nearly all of Steyers favourite candidates failed. It was no accidental issue. The NextGen Climate Action Super Pac took Steyers money, and spent it all (and more) to push President Obama’s green agenda, specifically targeting coal “for extinction”. The Republicans supported energy of all kinds from coal to oil, fracked gas, and more pipelines.

This was the “biggest investment the environmental [...]

Gallup poll: Voters rank “climate change” last

Despite rallies in New York, despite the relentless propaganda, the people just don’t seem to be scared anymore. In the latest Gallup Poll, Climate Change is ranked 13th out of 13 issues. As the strident messages of doom roll out, 60% of the public simply don’t believe what the professors are telling them. Science has lost a lot of its aura and credibility.

The US midterm elections are nearly here, yet the poll shows that Democrats have clear advantages in areas that … not many people care about. A victim perhaps of their success in adopting the smug concerns of inner city university graduates?

Items to the right are considered more important.

[...]

46% of 70,000 Australians say they don’t believe humans cause global warming

Ninemsn (major network news in Australia) held a small poll on it’s home page on Friday, asking Do you believe global warming is man-made?

The ratio stayed roughly the same from start to finish. (Here, early on, it was 44% skeptical).

Matty  in Perth kept track of the tally, and while the poll seems to have disappeared off the home page (can anyone find an archive?) at last count it was 39,899 yes and 33,960 no which was 46% skeptic of a total of 73,859 votes.

Of course, these are unrepresentative, self selecting polls. It underestimates the number of skeptics. The latest CSIRO survey shows 53% of the Australian population don’t agree that “humans are causing climate change”. Nonetheless, we trust Nine news notices the large response of its own audience. There will be some major ratings wins out there for whichever commercial news service notices that almost everything they broadcast on climate change is a bore and a turn-off for half their audience.

And as far as the ABC goes, as I’ve said before, when it gives 50% of its climate budget and time to skeptical arguments we will know it is fulfilling its charter.

Image thanks to [...]

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 Brietbart.com.

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 [...]