Tom Nelson pointed this out this morning.
This year, for the first time, U.S. online searches for the term “fracking” became more popular than “climate change,” Google data showed. Fracking has doubled on Google’s popularity index since last year, and while “global warming” still draws more hits, the gap is narrowing.
Only one problem with this: much like many claims made by the media these days related to climate, the actual data doesn’t support the claim. It took me less than a minute to locate the most recent Google trend data and see that the claim made by By Joshua Schneyer and Edward McAllister, Reuters (republished in the Dickenson Press) isn’t true. See for yourself:
The two terms are six points apart (in global data) as of this month, and show no history of intersection.
The data shows “climate change” trending up from 2004, that we hit peak “climate change” right after Climategate, and it has never recovered.
They may intersect in the not too distant future, but unless Reuters has some inside track to Google data that others do not, the claim isn’t supported.
Note that “fracking” is also not as popular as “global warming” though both “global warming” and “Climate change are falling while “fracking” is on the rise.
“Fracking” is in blue, “climate change” is in reddish orange, and “global warming” is yellowish. Source: http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=fracking,%22climate%20change%22,%22global%20warming%22
Noting the time when “fracking” first came on the scene, one wonders that in the wake of “climategate” on November 19th 2009, if the environmental movement may have decided that “climate change” was a dying issue and moved onto “fracking” as the next exploitable call to action. The data certainly suggests it.
All graphs from Google, and you can replicate them yourself here: http://www.google.com/trends/explore
UPDATE: My initial claim wasn’t fully correct. The Global data doesn’t support the claim, the USA data does:
I’ve updated the headline to reflect this data difference. Thanks to Roger Knights for pointing out the distinction in the story. – Anthony