Changing Americans' Minds on Climate Change … The American Association for the Advancement of Science is trying to awaken more Americans to the dangers of climate change, with a report today that focuses on a clear and accessible explanation of the evidence. It's a commendable and necessary effort, but what if the problem goes deeper than language? The available polling data suggests Americans' views on climate change increasingly have more to do with politics than science. – Bloomberg
Dominant Social Theme: Global warming is the theme of the land.
Free-Market Analysis: Should we be concerned that US individuals don't care about global warming/climate change? Bloomberg thinks so.
This ill-written editorial attempts to figure out why Republicans in particular discount manmade climate change. It is almost laughable to read an editorial that adopts such a puzzled tone about why somebody would disagree with such an "obvious" event.
The author finally decides that the reason Republicans (it has to be Republicans) don't believe in climate change has to do with a larger distrust of government.
The article concludes, therefore, and rather darkly, that somehow Republicans would have to be made more trusting of government before they became more amenable to the reality of manmade climate change.
As I wrote in December, Republicans and Democrats used to agree about the need for stricter laws to protect the environment: More than 90 percent of respondents from both parties supported the idea in 1992. Two decades later, the share of Democrats who said they support stricter environmental protections was still above 90 percent.
But the share of Republicans who said the same had dropped by half, to 47 percent. The Pew Research Center, which performed the survey, called environmental protection arguably "the most pointed area of polarization" over that period.
What's interesting about that change is that whatever you think about the strength of the scientific consensus on climate in 2012, it was leagues stronger than in 1992. So even as the science was becoming clearer, Republican support for doing anything about it was plummeting.
Polling data released this month by the Gallup Organization … found that 36 percent of Democrats cited climate change as something they worry about, compared with just 10 percent of Republicans.
The only area that showed a bigger partisan gap was the size and power of the federal government, along with its corollary, federal spending and the deficit. Gallup found an even larger gap when it asked about the effects of climate change. When asked whether global warming had already started, 73 percent of Democrats said yes, compared with just 36 percent of Republicans.
Fifty-six percent of Democrats called it a serious threat to their way of life, compared with only 19 percent of Republicans. Fully one-third of Republicans said global warming would never happen, something just 3 percent of Democrats agreed with.
… The gaps picked up by Gallup suggest some deeper division. … political preferences have leaked into the perception of fact. Republicans may conflate the existence of climate change with the need for more government — more federal research, more federal programs, more intervention in the economy, and more taxes to pay for all of it. Rather than relax their objection to government, maybe it's easier to look for reasons to think that climate change isn't happening, or isn't serious.
If this new effort by climate scientists makes it harder for that kind of self-deception to continue, kudos to them. But the human capacity to believe whatever suits you is close to endless. Maybe easing Republicans' resistance to the idea of climate change will require easing their resistance to the idea of government as an occasional force for good.
Exactly how Republicans' "resistance to climate change" will be eased by easing their "resistance to government" is never explained. Perhaps this is merely an observational conclusion as opposed to an action-oriented one.
The most notable element of this editorial is its patronizing tone. There is an absolute oozing certainty that manmade climate change is factual and anyone who doesn't recognize it is somehow deficient.
Reasons are sought, emotional or otherwise. It never occurs to the author, nor to Bloomberg apparently, that there might be GOOD reasons not to believe. Or that there is an increasing number of individuals that find manmade climate change incompatible with common sense …
Yet we have this, the statement of a Greenpeace co-founder, speaking out against manmade climate change at a recent US House Hearing:
February 25, 2014
Chairman Whitehouse, Ranking Member Inhofe, and members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify at today's hearing.
In 1971, as a PhD student in ecology I joined an activist group in a church basement in Vancouver Canada and sailed on a small boat across the Pacific to protest US Hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We became Greenpeace.
After 15 years in the top committee I had to leave as Greenpeace took a sharp turn to the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific perspective. Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it certainly is now.
… There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth's atmosphere over the past 100 years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century." (My emphasis)
"Extremely likely" is not a scientific term but rather a judgment, as in a court of law. The IPCC defines "extremely likely" as a "95-100% probability". But upon further examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical calculation or statistical analysis. They have been "invented" as a construct within the IPCC report to express "expert judgment", as determined by the IPCC contributors.
Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore doesn't believe in the modern religion of climate change. He doesn't fall in with a "scientific consensus" regarding climate change because there is none. He knows that science is not a popularity contest, in any case.
Manmade climate change is a fundamental dominant social theme. But it is noteworthy that academics such as Dr. Moore remain unintimidated and are even willing to speak up in public forums against it.
After two decades, the meme remains contentious and unconvincing. This is a significant event and one that likely would not have taken place in the 20th century. It is further evidence that the power elite is losing its narrative grip.