- JoNova - https://joannenova.com.au -

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 than I do can explain that contradiction?

The four most skeptical nations were respectively, the US, Great Britain, Australia and Russia. A recent large and detailed poll of the UK with full demographic information showed 62% of the UK (or GB, as it is listed below) were skeptical and didn’t believe the recent floods in the UK were “man-made” through climate change. That detailed poll was more internally consistent than this international one. It also showed there was a higher proportion of skeptics among the well educated, and the largest contingent of believers was left in the unskilled worker category.

Ipsos Mori did the survey and their website has all the percentages on every bar as well. Their data is available here.

Environmental scientists don’t know what they are talking about:

Total 48% agree. 42% disagree.

q3 Even the scientists don’t really know what they are talking about on environmental issues.

58% of Germans agree that environmental scientists are guessing what goes on. 54% in India (they are quite skeptical overall). Around 43% of people from Britain, the US and Australia agree.

Look out! Disaster coming.

But what kind of disaster? Other studies show people worry about smog, litter and other stuff before they worry about the climate. And people generally worry about everything else — like the economy and jobs, before they worry about the environment. Only 3% of Americans named “The Environment/Pollution” as the top issue. The question: “We are headed for an environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly” is the loaded motherhood type question that doesn’t ask people to rank different fears or put a dollar value on their fears.  A CSIRO survey showed 80% of Australians chose not to voluntarily pay money for “the environment”.

q1 We are headed for an environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly.

Governments just want your money:

Europe leads the pack. Fittingly, the Spanish lead the pack that leads the pack.

q2 The government is just using environmental issues as an excuse to raise taxes.

How corrupt and self-serving is that profit hungry company?

Pretty much everyone agrees that companies don’t do enough for the environment. Notably, people in the US were more comfortable with the free market than everyone else except Japan, which was the standout in corporate faith. It’s either a nation of competitive free market libertarians, or it has better behaved companies or both. I think general levels of corruption and the mafia have something to do with the order on this list.

Q5: Companies do not pay enough attention to the environment.

It’s natural!

Total 41% say Yes. Slightly more, 49% say No.

Actually, this is a strangely worded question. “The climate change we are currently seeing is a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.” The “happens from time to time” is wholly unnecessary, and implies natural climate change is not happening all the time.

Q6 The climate change we are currently seeing is a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.

It’s unnatural!

76% say its largely “unnatural”. So a  quarter of the worlds population thinks it IS natural but largely man-made. Perhaps, some people think man-is-natural therefore both can be true.  I expect it’s a mish-mash of people misreading either question. Perhaps feeling sure that the weather we seeing really is natural, but at the same time worry that weather will get worse. Note the last question here: The climate change we are seeing is largely a result of human activity. What does that mean exactly? Is that the climate we see out the window (which appears to be natural) or do they mean the “Climate” which fills our TV screens (which we keep being told is man-made).

q8 The climate change we are seeing now is largely a result of human activity


Ipsos notes that the data on developing countries only represents the more affluent internet-connected part of the populus.

” In the US and Canada respondents are aged 18-64, and 16-64 in all other countries. Approximately 1000+ individuals were surveyed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, Great Britain and the United States of America. Approximately 500+ individuals were surveyed in Argentina, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey. In developed countries where internet access is high, this can be taken as representative of the general working age population. However, in developing nations the results should be viewed as representative of a more affluent and “connected” population.”

H/t goes to Lewis Page of The Register who wrote the article, “Climate: ‘An excuse for tax hikes’, scientists ‘don’t know what they’re talking about'” July 23rd.


9.2 out of 10 based on 72 ratings