Another survey shows public opinion on global warming is in decline

From a press release by George Mason University:

American Opinion Cools on Global Warming

FAIRFAX, Va., January 27, 2010—Public concern about global warming has dropped sharply since the fall of 2008, according to the results of a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

The survey found:

•    Only 50 percent of Americans now say they are “somewhat” or “very worried” about global warming, a 13-point decrease.

•    The percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening has declined 14 points, to 57 percent.

•    The percentage of Americans who think global warming is caused mostly by human activities dropped 10 points, to 47 percent.

In line with these shifting beliefs, there has been an increase in the number of Americans who think global warming will never harm people in the United States or elsewhere or other species.

“Despite growing scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide, public opinion is moving in the opposite direction,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change. “Over the past year the United States has experienced rising unemployment, public frustration with Washington and a divisive health care debate, largely pushing climate change out of the news. Meanwhile, a set of emails stolen from climate scientists and used by critics to allege scientific misconduct may have contributed to an erosion of public trust in climate science.”

The survey also found lower public trust in a variety of institutions and leaders, including scientists. For example, Americans’ trust in the mainstream news media as a reliable source of information about global warming declined by 11 percentage points, television weather reporters by 10 points and scientists by 8 points. They also distrust leaders on both sides of the political fence. Sixty-five percent distrust Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Palin as sources of information, while 53 percent distrust former Democratic Vice President Al Gore and 49 percent distrust President Barack Obama.

Finally, Americans who believe that most scientists think global warming is happening decreased 13 points, to 34 percent, while 40 percent of the public now believes there is a lot of disagreement among scientists over whether global warming is happening or not.

“The scientific evidence is clear that climate change is real, human-caused and a serious threat to communities across America,” said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. “The erosion in both public concern and public trust about global warming should be a clarion call for people and organizations trying to educate the public about this important issue.”

The results come from a nationally representative survey of 1,001 American adults, age 18 and older. The sample was weighted to correspond with U.S. Census Bureau parameters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percent, with 95 percent confidence. The survey was designed by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities and conducted from December 23, 2009, to January 3, 2010 by Knowledge Networks using an online research panel of American adults.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from:

http://www.climatechangecommunication.org/images/files/CC_in_the_American_Mind_Jan_2010.pdf

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Ray

CO2 is only dangerous when you put a plastic bag on your head.

… but the science is “settled” .. like solids in a cesspool

Michael In Sydney

Ahhh, it’s a new day in the culture wars.
How refreshing to read the online front page of the Australian this morning. Editorial suggesting the IPCC has run its course, Bjorn Lomborg suggesting the same and that Rudd drop his ETS, The British Chief Scientist critical of the whole process and 64% of 5000 respondents to a poll stating that they do not believe in climate science at all!
it doesn’t get much better but it looks like it probably will 🙂
Cheers
Michael

Manfred

“Despite growing scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide, public opinion is moving in the opposite direction,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate.
despite an obvious bias in the project director’s opinion, public opinion is moving in the other direction.

At the rate the IPCC is imploding, the progressives better get cracking on the scam … It’s freezing right before our eyes.

Henry chance

It will officially be over when Ruddles gives up.

stun

Director of Center for Climate Change Communication
Director, Yale Project for Climate Change
Wow. Bonfire of the Quangos required. Still both adopting the science is settled riposte, I see. Mind you, over here, we have outreach climate change diversity officers, of course, all on $75k a year.
\rant over

Daniel H

“Finally, Americans who believe that most scientists think global warming is happening decreased 13 points, to 34 percent, while 40 percent of the public now believes there is a lot of disagreement among scientists over whether global warming is happening or not.”
Fantastic! Now I have a new retort for the “scientific consensus” zealots:
The consensus among American citizens is that there is no scientific consensus on AGW. Since a larger consensus always trumps a smaller consensus, your alleged scientific consensus has been effectively smacked down.

rbateman

The world has grown up: 11th Century dogmatic edicts won’t do anymore.
Neo (11:31:09) :
… but the science is “settled” .. like solids in a cesspool

and despite the loudspeaker blaring “Come on in, the water’s fine”, the public isn’t buying it.
Ya think it could be the smell of rotting scam?

They are correct on one point: The public should be educated on this very important issue.
Somehow, watching the poll numbers drop, I think that is happening.

Steve Schapel

“53 percent distrust former Democratic Vice President Al Gore”. Wow, that means 47% trust him? Yikes, that’s amazing.

Steve Schapel

“The scientific evidence is clear that climate change is real, human-caused and a serious threat to communities across America”. Has anybody here seen such clear evidence, or have any idea what specifically this guy is talking about?

Pete

The opinion of the government in India is shifting as well.
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_pachauri-unlikely-to-head-pm-s-solar-mission_1340055
New Delhi: RK Pachauri became the head of the United Nations’ intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) in 2002 after India put him up as its official candidate. But after seven years and many bloopers by the IPCC, New Delhi now seems to be distancing itself from its once favourite climate ambassador.
Sources say that the embarrassment over Pachauri is so acute in Delhi’s power corridors that he is no more on the list of hopefuls likely to head the prime minister’s national solar mission. Until a few weeks ago, government sources say, Pachauri was leading the race to head the mission to produce 20,000 MW electricity by 2022.
What is assured for now is the fact that the Centre is formally distancing itself from Pachauri. The government of India had nominated Pachauri’s name for the post of IPCC chairman in March 2002 through its permanent mission in the US. But now, the government is not ready to comment on the recent controversies that have surrounded the climate expert.
Environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh said: “I was dismissed for peddling voodoo science, but the ministry was right on the report on Himalayan glaciers. The claims of IPCC don’t have an iota of scientific evidence.” Ramesh, however, said the government was not demanding Pachauri’s resignation.

debreuil

All the people who were saying Global Warming was going to catastrophically disrupt lives and livelihoods (aka the media, the ‘scientists’, and the politicians) were telling the truth.
Its just that it’s disrupting their lives and livelihoods, not ours.

That survey was completed early January. Surely opinion has shifted considerably since then.

Sören

Great, but this is also the nation which allegedly hardly believes in evulution. How do we know it’s not kidding this time too?

The most important fact for the scientific community:
“The survey also found lower public trust in a variety of institutions and leaders, including scientists.”
That’s my opinion,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA PI for Apollo

Sam the Skeptic

“Despite growing scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide”
Just exactly where is this evidence, please, Mr Leiserowitz? They just can’t let go, can they?

It looks like the UN is ready to give up its campaign to get big bucks from a global transaction tax to improve the global climate. Now the UN has started a campaign to get big bucks from a global transaction tax to improve global health.
That’s different right? I know that the same people are to be taxed the same way by the same corrupt organization, but if we won’t save the climate surely we will save the children.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,583127,00.html
They could call the new group the Intergovernmental Panel for Children’s Change and reuse the old stationary.

etudiant

Folk wisdom: Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas
After institutional science, as represented by the AAAS, the APS and publications such as Science, Nature
or, on a more popular plane New Scientist and Scientific American chose to drink the AGW Kool Aid,
it should not expect any continued special status or deference from the general public it has helped mislead.
This is probably a tragedy for everyone, because science is still the best tool we have to ensure a decent future for mankind.

RichieP

@Michael In Sydney
“it doesn’t get much better but it looks like it probably will :)”
I’m afraid I’m not so sure, though there’s undoubtedly plenty of room for optimism at the moment. I have several highly intelligent, long-term friends, who from time to time I try to cajole to become more sceptical about AGW. It’s a deeply demoralising experience most of the time. Any attempt to get them seriously to consider the science or the financial and political ramifications of the problem seems well-nigh impossible. Their usual response tends to be: sceptics are all in the pay of big bad businesses; what they tell you is lies; what we have been told by the experts is true and it’s truth that matters, so you must realise how wrong you are; you’ve fallen for the right-wing propaganda etc. etc.. I’m sure so many of you will know the routine so I shan’t go on at length on that point.
They would be horrified to be told that they are unthinking believers; they are decent men who think and read and talk about the environment, politics and the world (though not usually in that order). They would see themselves as, and they emphatically are, serious men who seek knowledge and enlightenment. However, they seem unable to see that AGW is diverting so many resources away from making the world a nicer place to be just through good stewardship and housekeeping and, besides, has the clear hallmarks of an Extraordinary Popular Delusion stamped all over it, a perfect time for sociopaths and the power-hungry to take even more to themselves.
I don’t actually differ from them on many social and “straight” environmental issues, seeing no contradiction between being sceptical of the AGW dogma and its flawed scientific basis and having an interest in the overall welfare of the planet and its inhabitants.
I realise that this reminds me greatly of being 14, the only professed atheist in the class (a long time ago now) – and the amusement, anxiety and patronising disdain that that would generate. Most people simply thought I was a bit touched to be bothering about such things and ought to spend more time playing rugby or some other useful, preferably physical, occupation. But these are my oldest friends and I wouldn’t want to lose them through becoming importunate. A dilemma and sometimes a cause for self-questioning as to my own views and how I try to communicate them.
Sorry for the length – WUWT, I think you’ve become my agony aunt for tonight. Thanks for that and also for doing such important work. I envy you your courage and tenacity.

Tom G(ologist)

Soren:
So true! What I fear, and I tried warning such sanctimonious bloggers as PG mYers about several years ago, is that by linking evolution deniers to climate ‘deniers’ they are setting themselves up for a fall when the climate house of cards collapses. I have been composing my not too arrogant “I warned you” e-mail to send him as soon as I feel our momentum is irrevocable and I see the first links from the Discovery INstitute stating that scientists as a class can’t be trusted and evolution is just more fabricated nonsense.

JonesII

Too many believers yet. AGW church still considering “Al Baby” as their Saint.

kwik

debreuil (12:01:47) :
“All the people who were saying Global Warming was going to catastrophically disrupt lives and livelihoods were telling the truth.
Its just that it’s disrupting their lives and livelihoods, not ours.”
Sorry, but I had to laugh! hehe.
And that “Carbon Dioxide Information Agency” ? Or what was it?
Will it change its name?
-Nitrogen Information Agency? NIA?
-Methane Information Agency ? MIA?
-Soot Information Agency ? SIA?
-Gas Information Agency? GIA?
-Baloney Information Agency? BIA?
No, I got it!
-Plant Food Information Agency ! PFIA.

I hope I’m not alone, but I keep getting a feeling that the whole AGW schtick is a “happy face” painted on an otherwise unhappy scenario. Sure, fossil fuels will run out one day, global oil production will (or has) peak(ed), and we are sending bucket loads of cash overseas to countries that don’t like us, but if this is the underlying story why can’t policymakers be square with us ?

Higgins: It’s simple economics. Today it’s oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then? Joe Turner: Ask them? Higgins: Not now – then! Ask ’em when they’re running out. Ask ’em when there’s no heat in their homes and they’re cold. Ask ’em when their engines stop. Ask ’em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won’t want us to ask ’em. They’ll just want us to get it for ’em!

Did the 1975 film, “Three Days of the Condor” so scare policymakers that they believe that they can’t level with the American people, or is it that their current strategy requires fooling the current OPEC countries until they exhaust their supplies ? The latter would explain the failure to develop domestic oil sources and concentrate on “renewables” like bio-fuels, that are carbon based and would add to AGW sources (an AGW paradox).
Or is this all merely a plot by politicians to raise taxes out of thin air ?

higley7

What I love is these authoritative academicians who love to say that the evidence is overwhelming regarding GW and we are either not warming at all or even cooling.
Do these guys ever brush up on their general knowledge of the subject or do they just spout mindlessly the same drivel year after year? They must simply watch AIT for a review once a year and toast Al Gore.

rbateman

Lucy Skywalker (12:02:33) :
Very much so, Lucy. Global Warming jokes are all the rage now.
“Cold enough for ya?”

nigel jones

Sören (12:02:36) :
“Great, but this is also the nation which allegedly hardly believes in evulution. How do we know it’s not kidding this time too?”
Because not believing in evolution doesn’t cost very much?

mtnrat

That study was conducted Dec 24 2009 to Jan 3 2010. I would hazard a guess that there is now a greater decline and growing.

Scarlet Pumpernickel

Results: Climate science
Thanks for voting!
How much do you trust scientific projections concerning global warming?
* Completely 8.45% (491 votes)
* Somewhat 12% (697 votes)
* A little 15.1% (877 votes)
* Not at all 64.45% (3744 votes)
Total votes: 5809
Source The Australian Newspaper

rbateman

Oliver K. Manuel (12:06:03) :
On the other hand, the public is studying with a lot more intensity what science is saying. That means they are now scrutinizing instead of simply parroting what they have previously been spoon-fed.
I would hope that the pretenders are blown off sooner rather than later.
And more importantly, they might put some pressure on an Administration that seems bent on funding poly-research at the expense of all other.

Allan M

“The scientific evidence is clear that climate change is real, human-caused and a serious threat to communities across America,” said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. “The erosion in both public concern and public trust about global warming should be a clarion call for people and organizations trying to educate the public about this important issue.”
Just another parrot, though more vocal than the Norwegian Grey.
————
Henry chance (11:38:48) :
It will officially be over when Ruddles gives up.
You are causing serious confusion here in a Brit. Ruddles, from Rutland (the smallest county in England) make rather good beer, to our tastes anyway. We would hate to think of them giving up. Now you wouldn’t want to put a fellow sceptic off his beer, would you?
Whatever happened to KRudd747?

Dr A Burns

I wonder if the 47% who believe in man caused global warming is the same group (50%) who believe in alien abductions ?
http://www.cnn.com/US/9706/15/ufo.poll/
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that 50% of the population is below average intelligence ! (Median is almost identical to mean for IQ).

kadaka

Neo (11:31:09) :
… but the science is “settled” .. like solids in a cesspool

That is not a Snickers bar.

JonesII

Maurice Garoutte (12:17:08) :
That UN new tax money would go directly not to children but to pharmaceutical companies which will deliver dubious drugs for imaginary/invented diseases like the AH1N1 virus flue vaccine (recently found being made from active bird flu virus and not from its attenuated form)
http://www.masterjules.net/baxter.htm
Most probably the eventual beneficiaries from the Climate Change scam are the same ones and owners of these labs.

Paddy

kwik (12:32:03) :
How about Ministry of Scientific Truth (MOST)?

Steve Goddard

The last two years have been cold in the US and Europe, and people have figured out that they are being misled.

Ray

I really hate to say this but G.W. Bush was right… even though this guy and his family deserve their day in court for their many sins…
Q: What about global warming?
BUSH: It’s an issue that we need to take very seriously. I don’t think we know the solution to global warming yet and I don’t think we’ve got all the facts before we make decisions.
GORE: But I disagree that we don’t know the cause of global warming. I think that we do. It’s pollution, carbon dioxide and other chemicals that are even more potent. Look, the world’s temperatures going up, weather patterns are changing, storms are getting more violent and unpredictable. And what are we going to tell our children?
BUSH: Yeah, I agree. Some of the scientists, I believe, haven’t they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming? There’s a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think it’s best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what’s taking place.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

MB

Don’t the respondents know that the debate is over? Didn’t they get the memo?

FergalR

Even “Nature” is less worried:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8483722.stm
“The most alarming forecasts of natural systems amplifying the human-induced greenhouse effect may be too high, according to a new report.
The study in Nature confirms that as the planet warms, oceans and forests will absorb proportionally less CO2.
It says this will increase the effects of man-made warming – but much less than recent research has suggested.
The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises.
Further, they say their concern about man-made climate change remains high. ”
I’m pretty sure their level of concern was hysterical until recently.

pat

global warming causes global warming! what a convoluted piece this is.
27 Jan: Reuters: Alister Doyle: Global warming to trigger more warming-study
Mankind’s climate change frees CO2 from nature-study
Slightly reinforces global warming
But feedback less than in some recent studies
“We are confirming that the feedback exists and is positive. That’s bad news,” lead author David Frank of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL said of the study in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature.
“But if we compare our results with some recent estimates (showing a bigger feedback effect) then it’s good news,” Frank, an American citizen, told Reuters of the report with other experts in Switzerland and Germany.
The data, based on natural swings in temperatures from 1050-1800, indicated that a rise of one degree Celsius (1.6 degree Fahrenheit) would increase carbon dioxide concentrations by about 7.7 parts per million in the atmosphere.
That is far below recent estimates of 40 ppm that would be a much stronger boost to feared climate changes such as floods, desertification, wildfires, rising sea levels and more powerful storm, they said.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have already risen to about 390 ppm from about 280 ppm before the Industrial Revolution. Only some models in the last major U.N. climate report, in 2007, included assessments of carbon cycle feedbacks.
Frank said the new study marks an advance by quantifying feedback over the past 1,000 years and will help refine computer models for predicting future temperatures…
“In a warmer climate, we should not expect pleasant surprises in the form of more efficient uptake of carbon by oceans and land,” Hugues Goosse of the Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, wrote in a comment in Nature.
The experts made 220,000 comparisons of carbon dioxide levels — trapped in tiny bubbles in annual layers of Antarctic ice — against temperatures inferred from natural sources such as tree rings or lake sediments over the years 1050-1800.
Goosse said the study refined a general view that rising temperatures amplify warming from nature even though some impacts are likely to suck carbon dioxide from the air.
Carbon might be freed to the air by a projected shift to drier conditions in some areas, for instance in the east Amazon rainforest. But that could be partly offset if temperatures rise in the Arctic, allowing more plants to grow.
Warmer soils might accelerate the respiration of tiny organisms, releasing extra carbon dioxide to the air. Wetlands or oceans may also release carbon if temperatures rise.
Frank said it was hard to say how the new findings might have altered estimates in a report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 that world temperatures could rise by between 1.1 and 6.4 Celsius by 2100.
“Of the models that did include the carbon cycle, our results suggests that those with slightly below average feedbacks might be more accurate,” he said. “But we can’t now say exactly what sort of temperature range that would imply.”
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE60Q261.htm

Sören

Tom G(ologist): Makes me wonder if the evolution-deniers is basically the same or the other crowd?
nigel jones: but then AGW-skepticism is a cheaper choice too!

JonesII

Hey guys! Have you already forgotten we’re in a Maunder like minimum?
As told by many real scientists (not from Hollywood Boulevard) temps will keep getting lower until reaching a bottom around 2030-2050.

Steve Keohane

Ray (11:28:42) : CO2 is only dangerous when you put a plastic bag on your head. Should be Quote of the Week Great Ray, very funny!

ecowho

Hi,
unrelated i know but look at
http://www.africancontent.com/?p=247
“MSU researchers study climate change, food production in East Africa”
Isn’t Africa a place that they cannot account for AGW in? On the surface it looks genuine but sure if it warrants closer attention.

Phillip Bratby

The BBC’s alarmist Roger Harrabin is still denying reality. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8483722.stm
Baised quote from UEA. No balance to the article.

matt v.

“The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises.”
The average global warming trend per least square trends for the past 150 years according to the[HADCRUT 3gl] data was 0.004/ year. The MET -OFFICE prediction is 0.08 /year [ based on 4C BY 2060]. This is 20 times faster than in the past 150 years. With a possible cooling spell coming over the next 20-30 years[ or until 2030/2040 ], the warming rate would have now have to rise to 0.2C/year between 2040 and 2060 or 50 times the past rate. Unless we get at least a couple more suns , the warming biased agw climate predictions have little credibilty in my judgement and continue to be an exaggeration to brainwash and falsely pressure the public for more research money.

Dave Wendt

I think it’s time for a poll question that really gets to the heart of the matter. I suggest the following
Do you believe that climate science knows enough about future changes in the global climate and exactly how detrimental they will be, that your government should be able to force you to surrender your personal freedom and thousands of dollars of yours and your children’s financial assets to them, to be dispersed to various kleptocrat Third World dictators, UN bureaucrats, and fatcat carbon traders, in a very likely futile effort to change that future?

Tom

Those polls guys should have used the “Nature Trick”.
(Sorry, couldn’t resist…)

James F. Evans

It’s going down, down, down.
Knowledge is power.