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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.”

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