Inconvenient truth in Britain – scepticism on the rise – only 26% believe climate change to be man-made

Climate scepticism ‘on the rise’, BBC poll shows

The number of British people who are sceptical about climate change is rising, a poll for BBC News suggests.

The Populus poll of 1,001 adults found 25% did not think global warming was happening, a rise of 8% since a similar poll was conducted in November.

The percentage of respondents who said climate change was a reality had fallen from 83% in November to 75% this month.

BBC graphic (Image: BBC)

And only 26% of those asked believed climate change was happening and “now established as largely man-made”.

The findings are based on interviews carried out on 3-4 February.

In November 2009, a similar poll by Populus – commissioned by the Times newspaper – showed that 41% agreed that climate change was happening and it was largely the result of human activities.

BBC graphic (Image: BBC)

“It is very unusual indeed to see such a dramatic shift in opinion in such a short period,” Populus managing director Michael Simmonds told BBC News.

“The British public are sceptical about man’s contribution to climate change – and becoming more so,” he added.

“More people are now doubters than firm believers.”

Read the complete story at the BBC

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The cold wind of change blowing up the Khyber Pass of the establishment.

Leon Brozyna

Trust is such a precarious thing.
If the science hadn’t been so corrupted just to push an agenda and the studies had been allowed to show doubts and the possibility of natural climate variation, the number might be the same as they are now — only, instead of falling, they might be rising in support of AGW. It would just have taken longer to convince people.
Now the trust has been betrayed.
Now, skeptics can say that there’s some AGW, but it’s too small to amount to much and natural climate variability is more powerful. And with open studies, they can be convinced. Of course, the true believers will never allow themselves to believe anything but that AGW is the be all and end all of the climate.
Now let’s wave bye-bye to those true believers as they ride off into the sunset…

Fear ye not, oh believers…Prophet Richard (Black) says it’s the fault of an inconstant public swayed by cold weather!!
Onwards and forwards, hoping in a warm summer!!

And the Guardian is still going strong.
Here is an editorial explaining the change of heart in the environmental reporting of the last week.
Climate science: Truth and tribalism
And here is an opinion article in the main news section:
Is climate change the new faith?
(note the euphemism ‘agnostic’ for sceptic – its like the way you yanks calling the ‘toilet’ a ‘bathroom’ – like, its not only smelly to be a sceptical in science these days but in journalism as well)

Richard Tyndall

This is generally good news. However strangely perhaps I am sorry to see that the numbers of people thinking warming is not happening has increased. One of the crimes of those promoting the AGW hypothesis is that they have managed to persuade people that the natural state of the climate is stability and that change is therefore the result of man. Most of us arguing against AGW know that this is not the case and one of the main planks of our argument is that the climate is continually changing as a result of natural causes.
If people are becoming convinced that we are not seeing warming – natural warming as a result of the move out of the last glacial period – then it actually makes the task of combating the AGW fraud all the harder. I am very pleased that people are more sceptical of man’s contribution but it would be far better if they were more aware of just how lucky we have been as a species to live in a period of relative climate stability and how quickly that might, quite naturally, change.


Scepticism on the rise but not at the (Australian) ABC. For more uncritical reporting of the coming doom follow this link…

Mike Spilligan

I’m a realist on climate change, and a sceptic on opinion polls, particularly regarding how the “sample population” was distributed. I know not one adult person who thinks that climate change is largely man-made.
What may be interesting is that in 11/09 only 4% had “no opinion” (presumably) and that has now reduced to a nominal 1%; which might indicate that it’s a matter of great interest which is all to the good.


OT- Electric Charge Can Change Freezing Point of Water.
Could this apply on a global scale?


Pew Environment Report reported on by Australian ABC available here for scrutiny. It seems it got the standard “mates” review we are accustomed to.


This was why I was on about the UAH data showing strong warming. Whatever the cause, it is clearly occurring over the last 30 years. So that 25% is denying some fairly clear empirical facts.


I predict another ‘Barbacue Summer’ and another MET office red face.

Andy Scrase

Will David Bellamy be back at the BBC soon then?

Colin Porter

The majority of people in the UK are still not aware of the issues, even though it has recently had a very limited airing in the national press and on television. It is surprising therefore that there has been even this modest amount of change in perceptions. Without the recent revelations, the publishers of the survey would have been looking forward to a trend the other way. The amount of propaganda leading up to Copenhagen was enormous, so people could have been forgiven for believing that there was some truth in it. Even now it is still business as usual, with the government still pumping out their misinformation adverts. Apparently, I will save the planet if I just drive 5 miles less per week.


It’s very easy to get the answer you want from a survey by tilting the question. The latest survey asking ‘Do you think climate change is taking place?’ is a pretty useless question without asking WHY. Even I would be compelled to answer yes because the climate is always changing. The November survey is much more illuminating. Only 26% believe ‘Climate change is happening and is now established as largely man made’.
The wheels are coming off the UK governments energy policies as well. Yesterday’s FT had a number of articles saying the numbers don’t add up.


interesting that the Beeb have gone with the headline figure (25% don’t believe global warning is occurring) rather than the more explosive number; only 26% think that GW is happening but not as a result of human behaviour!
That the UK government planning major changes to the economy or tax system based on something that nearly 74% of the population don’t believe in is frankly absurd.

Greg Cavanagh

Bit of an unfair question that, is climate change happening. Every answer should be yes. It should have been is Global Warming happening, or better yet is Globam Warming as expressed by Mr Gore happening.

O. Weinzierl

The first graph is very misleading, because it sums up poll data for the wrong question. The question is not wether there is global warming, but if man got anything to do with it. So it gives a false positive impression that the vast majority believes in man-made flobal warming.


I’d be surprised if there isn’t a bit of a recovery in AGW belief once the memory of what’s been one of the worst winters ever start to fade.
Given that by the law of averages we’re probably also due a decent summer then more people might start if not to believe again at least stop questioning whether it’s all just a big scam.
If so, we can then expect to see reports of unprecedented increases in belief in AGW and that something must be done.
Still, there has to be some long term damage resulting from the various -gates and as the IPCC’s and others many failings get more exposure hopefully even our politicians will start to listen.


The global warming agenda has suffered a loss of nearly half its believers in the last three months. If my job depended on taxpayer-funded grants and budgets, I would be worried, too.
To illustrate how unpopular the whole man-made global warming propaganda has become, this extract is from today’s Express:
The Met Office was last night accused of bring too heavily biased in support of arguments
February 6, 2010
Mark Reynolds
THE Met Office was last night accused of being too heavily biased in support of arguments suggesting global warming is man-made. Critics said the taxpayer- funded body had no right to enter such a politically charged arena in the wake of an on-going row embroiling climate change scientists at the University of East Anglia.
A leaked email scandal at the university, which suggested that data which did not support theories of man-made global warming had deliberately been withheld, prompted the Met Office to issue a statement in support of the global warming camp. It also called on scientists to sign up to a petition in support of the climate change science.
Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, who claims man-made climate change has been exaggerated, said the petition showed the Met Office was rattled. Dr Peiser said: “They have come out on one side and are paying the price. They have been far too heavily biased and have not been objective.”
Earlier this week Professor Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist at the Met Office, urged the public to believe the science supporting the theory that man is behind global warming. She stressed that carbon dioxide levels were rising and that the gas’s impact on temperature had been known about since the 19th century…
…There has been an increase in the number of British people who are sceptical about climate change, a poll commissioned by BBC News has suggested. It showed that 25% of those questioned did not think global warming was happening, an increase of 10% since November.


This is is completely OT but will surely knock a few million peoples faith in computer programmes.
Delete if you wish.


I think what you’ll see now is the steady ratcheting down of the rhetoric over climate change by the more savvy members of the warmist community who’ve realised that Doomsday scenarios just don’t play well in the public arena.
The real nutters, Like Prince “I talk to the plants” Charles, will still keep on with the end of the world stuff, but watch the more astute politicians gradually dial it down and eventually let it fade into the background as the world fails to go into catastrophe.

I would like to see the poll results by age group as I am sure that most of the firm believers are those who have been through our “school indoctrination system” in the last 20 years.
I don’t know anyone under forty who has swallowed the guff put about by the so called scientists.

UK Sceptic

I guess the British public aren’t as stupid as the Beeboids want to think we are. Will this sudden injection of cold reality shake the Beeb and our stupid politicians free of the AGW madness? I won’t hold my breath…


I’m amazed that this poll is showing showing such a high number (25%) of people who still believe in M-MGW ! I would like to have seen the exact questions asked by the people doing the survey – it is easy to get the answer you want to see depending on how things are phrased.
From my own experience of talking about this with relative, friends, acquaintances and the customers at my local pub over the last couple of months , only a handful of the rabid warmistas are left.
The remaining 90% think the whole thing is a joke, with the failed MSM ‘alarmist’ predictions, the last few cold years and finally the Met Office’s rubbish forecasts being given as the main reason for doubt. There has also been a breakdown of trust in the authority of government in the UK, due to vast amounts of tax being squandered on saving the banks and evidence that the majority of politicians have been lining their pockets at tax payers expense through expenses fraud.
With a general election coming up in a few months time, and the polls showing the possibility of a hung parliament, the politics of CAGW could rapidly change.
I’m really enjoying watching those greedy barstewards squirm 🙂


September 3, 2009
(former British high commissioner to Australia)
“It is a very difficult (question) to answer briefly and I have to say it’s one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had in Australia is to hear this challenge to the basic science of climate change. We had that debate 10, 15 years ago, and not just in Britain but in other parts of the world.”
abc QandA
But 7 days later:
September 10, 2009
UK climate scepticism more common
The British public has become more sceptical about climate change over the last five years, according to a survey.
Then the new British high commissioner arrived in Australia:
November 14, 2009
Baroness Valerie Amos, has expressed surprise that Australians are still debating whether humans cause climate change and says other nations have long since ”moved on”.
The Age
It looks like the British are moving on again.

A typical weasel-worded question from the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, to increase the number of ‘yes’ answers. They asked:
“”Do you think Global Warming is taking place””
Well, even many WUWTers would answer yes to that one. Over what time-scale, chum? And what was causing it, mate?
The un-biased question should have been:
“”Do you think Anthropogenic Global Warming is taking place””
On second thoughts, this is the British general public. So how about:
“”Do you think Man-made Global Warming is taking place””


Anthony and Steven et al having a collosal and positive impact for science. So proud of you guys.

Jack Hughes

The AGWers have Climate Munchhausen’s Syndrome – they want the climate to be ‘unwell’ to get attention for themselves.


Sorry to go off topic and at the risk of sounding rather stupid but what is the % of the earth’s surface that is populated by man.

Just in case there is any confusion here. The biased question in the first graph is from the Biased Broadcasting Corporation.
The more balanced questions in the second graph are from The Times newspaper.


Anyone here in the 25% percent who think the climate isn’t changing?
Also, it doesn’t have to be ‘doubters’ and ‘believers’. Just because you don’t ‘believe’ doesn’t mean you doubt. It might mean you don’t know.


When you consider the constant exposure that the British public have had to alarmist propaganda, it is very reassuring to think that only 26% of those polled believe that “Climate change is happening and is now established as largely man-made”.
I wonder if they live in East Anglia?

David Wells

When Roger Harrabin asked for comment from WUWT I sent him an email reminding him of his past comments including “climate change deniers”, extinction of Polar Bears, commercial Arctic expeditions (failed), sceptics being funded by Big Oil when America fund public research to the tune of $4bn and John Christy saying that even if America built 1000 nuclear reactors all functioning by 2020 it would only make 1/70th of a degree difference. Rogers reply was “some commentators have managed to avoid insult, you are now on the filter”. What else would you expect from an organisation that has become either by want, persuasion or demand a full time propaganda outlet for those who believe or want us to believe for whatever purpose that there is a proven connection between a rise in Co2 and warming and that climate change – whatever that general term describes – only happened during the last 157 years and anything that occurred prior to that date is inadmissable as evidence because it doesnt suit their argument. The question remains, why does anything want to whip up all of this hysteria, dont we have enough problems to cope with that really do exist and are not figments of some twerps obsessive desire for power and influence Al Gore for example.
David Wells

Recorded UK temperatures have oscillated, during last 400 years with a period of about 50+ years (synchronized with the NAO?). While in the long term winters’ temps have risen (0.4C/century), summers’ have hardly moved (0.05C/century).
This graph also shows that UK is currently entering the ‘next 50 year’ cooling period.
If so the government would do well to start concerning itself with reliability of its energy supplies rather than the nebulous CO2 saga. If CO2 indeed contributes to the warming, perhaps its time to build more coal burning power stations, increasing UK energy capacity and of course more CO2 the better.
More graphs at:


@ Jack Hughes (01:40:37) :
“The AGWers have Climate Munchhausen’s Syndrome”
Surely you meant Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy…


The BBC shows by that question that they are the “PRAVDA” of the UK.
Same as NRK in Norway. “Pravda” of Norway.


O/T They should try to re-engage the public by telling more positive stories about the benefits of a carbon-free economy.


I don’t think you’ve done a good job of selling how amazingly good those figures are for the sceptics.
73% of people in the UK think that either ‘climate change’ is not happening (sic, presumably they mean warming) or that it may be happening due to reasons other than man. Only 26% TWENTY SIX, now believe that AGW is now established as man-made.
Only a quarter of people believe the propaganda that the science is settled. That is about the number of people who would be inclined to believe so for other political reasons (I would say around 20-25% of the UK population are left-wing, pro-statists). Their propaganda has utterly failed, in a country where the government has been pushing this stuff like no other. Game over.

People get excitedly by the Himalayan Glaciers and Amazon forest boobs, by the IPCC.
A much bigger clanger is shown in the diagram ipcc_fig1-2.
In the diagram EM radiation is shown in and about the surface of the Earth.
In an effort to balance the energy from the Suns Radiative Balance with the Earth.
What they don’t seem to comprehend is that EM radiation has no fixed direction ,it can be reflected and refracted.
Going by their diagram the Sun provides 342 w/m2 to earths surface.
the same square metre provides 168+324 down and 350+40 up.
Remember that the photons do not worry about direction this means that the available energy just above the surface is 900w/m2 .
The energy moving around at the surface of the Earth is almost three times the input energy from the Sun.
Put another way a double sided solar panel raised say 2 metres above the ground could make use of this plentiful free energy.
Would it work? – well according to the IPCC, “the Physics is incontrovertible thousands of peer reviewed scientists…..zzzzz”

Lucy (01:42:25):
“…what is the % of the earth’s surface that is populated by man.”
I’ve been to the Isle of Man. It was OK, but I would have much preferred going to the Isle of Women.
I assume you meant the area of the planet covered by humans of all three sexes [Mrs Smokey is a Trisexual; she’ll try anything]. I don”t have the answer to that ready, but I do have some perspective on the false alarm that human activity is able to cause climate change:
6.7 billion humans in the world
Average mass of a human is approx 65kg (Wikipedia says that the mean for the UK and USA is around 75kg; I assume most of the world is lighter than us). The mean density of a person is 1g/cm3
So humans mass totals 6.7 billion people x 65kg/person = 4.355×10^11 kg
At 1g/cm3, this mass takes up 4.355×10^11 litres = 4.355×10^8 cubic meters
Now we plug this value into the formula linking the volume of a sphere with its radius:
Volume = 4/3 * radius^3
Radius^3 = Volume / ( (4/3) *pi)
Radius^3 = 4.355×10^8 / (1.3333333 x π [pi])
Radius^3 = 1.0397×10^8
Radius = 470.21 meters
Diameter = 940.43 meters
Therefore, all of humanity’s 6.7 billion bodies would fit into a sphere less than 1 km wide.
The rest of the world can be occupied by polar bears, and class is dismissed. Have a nice weekend.

John Hooper

Here’s another. You might like to vote:

Will Hudson

Our sole AGW proponent in the pub has just arrived back from a month in sunny Egypt with the astonishing news that “man-made global warming is proved. All the cold weather just proves that the actions following Kyoto have already had the effect of cooling the planet!”
We were all lost for an adequate answer.

Patrick Davis

“Lucy (01:42:25) :
Sorry to go off topic and at the risk of sounding rather stupid but what is the % of the earth’s surface that is populated by man.”
7/10th’s of the surface is water, so that’s a bit limiting. Large blobs of land are uninhabitalbe without special equipment, such as Antarctica. But then every single person on Earth could stand on the Isle of Wight, bit tight, but it could be done.
Insects account for more biomass on Earth than all other speicies combined.


“73% of people in the UK think that either ‘climate change’ is not happening (sic, presumably they mean warming) or that it may be happening due to reasons other than man. Only 26% TWENTY SIX, now believe that AGW is now established as man-made.”
Erm, no. Those possibilities were covered by other statements. 25% think it isn’t happening , presumably at all. Well, either that or they’re smart enough to understand the global AGW conspiracy but not smart enough to understand a 4 statement poll.

“Action is urgently needed,” Professor Watson warned. “We need the public to understand that climate change is serious so they will change their habits and help us move towards a low carbon economy” (from the BBC online article.)
Bob Watson, Ed Miliband, Lord Smith and all the others whose careers are predicated on the reality of AGW certainly “need” the public to go along with the charade in order to help keep them (and their ambitions) afloat. On the other hand, increasing numbers of us are deciding we do not “need” to change our habits (euphemism for embracing poverty) or move to a low carbon economy either (shorthand for embracing Third World conditions.) All the terrible urgency and the “need” for action has been channelled in one direction only, to enrich and empower those to whom the public fear of climate change has been manna from heaven – up until now.
So I understand the uncomfortable thought processes behind your sentences perfectly, my dear Watson. It’s elementary, you might say.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

If they wanted to base articles on surveys and polls they should go the whole hog. The numbers will reveal that more people believe in ghosts and UFOs than the neo-pagan religion of catastrophic manmade global warming.


OT: But not by much!
Sitting here with my 88 year old father having a coffee and a “debate” has just been on on Sky News about climategate. Dad’s response was:
[snip – sorry but that’s a little too hostile for this blog]
It’s just as well he has mellowed in his old age.

Peter Miller

A few days the Indian government were telling Pachi the facts of life. Now apparently he is a hero again.
A classic oriental stitch up over ‘face’ I suspect.


@Richard Tyndall
“If people are becoming convinced that we are not seeing warming – natural warming as a result of the move out of the last glacial period – then it actually makes the task of combating the AGW fraud all the harder. I am very pleased that people are more sceptical of man’s contribution but it would be far better if they were more aware of just how lucky we have been as a species to live in a period of relative climate stability and how quickly that might, quite naturally, change.”
I very much agree with you on this Richard. What strikes me most about populist warmist attitudes is that there seems to be this stunningly ignorant notion that climate does *not change unless the hand of man makes it do so. Instead of showing schoolkids Gore’s propaganda films, schools should actually be teaching their pupils that climate *is change and, as well, demonstrating that argument both through science teaching and also history teaching.
In Britain, this simply does not happen and, probably, might well result in those teaching in this way being silenced or sacked. Our public education system has become an agent of personal and political control. It no longer teaches our children to question but directs them to belief and acceptance, not scepticism. That is one of the most central problems we now face in achieving wider public understanding of the actual position. It is not surprising that Citizen Charles Windsor pours scorn on the Enlightenment. He and other warmists are the outriders for a new medievalism of dogma and control. We can only pray that they’re a forlorn hope, soon to be broken on the solid shieldwall of reason.
“Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself riding through green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled; for you are in natural variability…. “

Chris Wright

The question “Do you think global warming is taking place?” is very unclear. Like most people here, I believe that some amount of warming did occur in the last century. But I also believe that there has been no global warming over the last six or seven years, and that in fact there may have been a small amount of cooling over that period. So how do I answer that question?
Strictly speaking, my answer would have to be ‘no’, because I don’t believe global warming is happening right now. But that answer would be interpreted as a denial of all global warming, which would be nonsense.
Still, the results of the poll, which is consistent with others both in the US and the UK, is very encouraging. It means that on all the important climate change questions the sceptics are the main stream, and it is the Gores, Hansens and Manns of this world who are in the minority.
Hopefully next time the poll will make a distinction between 20th century warming and what’s happening right now.