Eye roller study: ‘Climate-change skeptics are more ambivalent than we thought’

I have three thoughts on this. 1. Like Lewandowsky, they didn’t bother to get opinions from the most central collection of climate skeptics in the world, WUWT. But reading the article, I think they really mean ‘people are more ambivalent than we thought’, which is what many public surveys have shown us about climate change opinion.  2. As our detractors are fond of pointing out with paleo and surface temperature studies, one country (Norway) is not representative of the world. 3. The picture provided of the researchers, oozes ambivalence. At least it’s not these clowns.

Professor Kjersti Fløttum, University of Bergen, and Senior Researcher Endre Tvinnereim, Uni Research, have asked 2,000 Norwegians open questions about climate change. Image: Ingvild Festervoll Melien

Professor Kjersti Fløttum, University of Bergen, and Senior Researcher Endre Tvinnereim, Uni Research, have asked 2,000 Norwegians open questions about climate change. Image: Ingvild Festervoll Melien

Using a brand new survey method, researchers in Bergen have asked a broad spectrum of people in Norway about their thoughts on climate change. The answers are quite surprising.

Some 2,000 Norwegians have been asked about what they think when they hear or read the words “climate change”. There were no pre-set answers or “choose the statement that best describes your view” options. Instead the respondents had to formulate their views on climate change in their own words. The answers have provided striking new insight into what the average person on the street in Norway thinks about climate change.

“The way we formulate the questions ensures that the respondents give more nuanced answers. We see, for example, that many of the people who might otherwise have stated they doubt that climate change is due to human activity make provisos and say that some changes probably are caused by human activity when they are given the opportunity to respond in their own words. Climate-change sceptics are thus more ambivalent than has been suggested in previous surveys,” says Endre Tvinnereim, a researcher at Uni Research Rokkan Centre.

Language analysis

The respondents were drawn from the Norwegian Citizen Panel, and the survey is part of the LINGCLIM project at the University of Bergen. This project is looking at the language used and the interpretations that prevail in the climate-change debate.

The survey was carried out in 2013 as an online questionnaire. This kept the costs down, making it possible to collect data from a sample pool of respondents.

Published in Nature

The researchers analysed the results, and the study has now been published in the highly respected journal Nature Climate Change. Very few researchers in the social sciences and humanities manage to get their research published there. However, the study by researcher Tvinnereim and Professor Kjersti Fløttum at the University of Bergen is arousing interest.

The researchers divided the answers they received into four categories using the text analysis method Structural Topic Modelling (STM). These are the four main topics that Norwegians associate with climate change:

  1. Weather and ice
    Focus on the physical consequences of climate change such as unstable weather and melting ice
  2. The future and consequences for man
    For example, risks and challenges that will affect their children and grandchildren
  3. Money and consumption
    References to negative effects of the consumer society, the need to help poor countries, statements related to politics, issues related to economic motives behind climate policy
  4. Causes
    What is causing climate change? The impact of human activity.

Views are often balanced in that the participants believe that both nature and human activities affect the climate

A single respondent could give answers that belong to several categories. The researchers got the most responses in the category “weather and ice”. In second place came the “the future and consequences”, followed by “money and consumption” and finally “causes”.

Gender differences

Slightly more women responded that they thought about things related to “weather and ice” than men. Otherwise, there were no differences between the sexes.

Nor were there significant differences in the responses between people with different educational backgrounds.

“Previous studies have shown that people with lower education are more sceptical about climate change than people with higher education. We did not observe any such correlation in our survey. Education had little impact on what people chose to attach importance to,” says Tvinnereim.

Major differences related to age

One aspect where we did find major differences was the respondents’ age. The older the respondent was, the less concerned he/she was about the “future and consequences”; the younger respondents tended to have a large proportion of their answers in the category “future and consequences”.

“We see that the older respondents write more about weather and ice and are less focused on the future in their responses,” says Tvinnereim. This may be because climatology focused more on physical aspects in the past, whereas now there is more talk about solutions and consequences for society. It may also be because older people do not have so much time left and are therefore less worried about the future, apart from when they think about their children and grandchildren.

“From the perspective of the LINGCLIM project, this study draws a representative picture of the diversity of opinions and attitudes that exist among people regarding climate change. The study clearly shows how the language used in the climate debate affects public opinion and how language is interpreted and reproduced by the general public in Norway. Our results thus provide important contributions to the knowledge base needed to make relevant decisions on actions,” says Professor Kjersti Fløttum at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Bergen.

New questions

The researchers now want to use this same method in other projects in order to obtain more in-depth knowledge about what people really think and believe.

“It will be interesting and important to use this method to investigate new issues and in more countries. For me as a linguist, it will also be important to analyse the material we have in greater depth and investigate variations in the freely formulated answers provided by the respondents. Climate change appears to be associated with everything from physical realities to people’s subjective attitudes, values and interests,” says Fløttum.

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141 thoughts on “Eye roller study: ‘Climate-change skeptics are more ambivalent than we thought’

  1. There’s nothing new about this survey method and responses subject to interpretation that is influenced by the researcher’s biases. Use the results with caution.

    • Gary: I agree. I spent most of my professional life analyzing survey and interview data. I have not read their paper yet, but their method based on the above description is very problematic in that they provide such a broad-based stimulus that you really need to control for the situation within which individuals respond to the question. It is very likely that situational factors influenced responses. For example, are people likely to respond differently during a snowstorm or on an unseasonably hot day? Prior research on this type of technique shows that modest levels of stimulation/arousal from alcohol or a movie or a relevant article can change the way people respond to these types of questions. In addition, while I am all for individuals providing open ended responses, I would rather not have the researcher be the primary interpreter of the responses. For example, it is quite easy in an online survey to combine open and closed ended questions. One final point, asking random people who vary enormously on what Yale’s Daniel Kahan calls “Ordinary Science Intelligence” is primarily useful if you want to manipulate public perceptions. It is like asking somebody’s opinion of a movie that they have not seen.

    • Spot on, Gary. It works like this : In a multiple choice survey where people have a wide range of opinions, options A and B get 50% each. But these surveyors detect the nuances and can claim that 97% of respondents agreed with B to some extent. Now, with 97% support for B, what is the support for A?

  2. “Some 2,000 Norwegians have been asked about what they think when they hear or read the words “climate change”. ”

    I’m ambivalent, sometimes i think it’s a scam and sometimes i think it’s mass delusion.

    • Given that Norway is the Kuwait of Europe, and that its wealth rests upon the very substances that the purveyors of Calamity are most alarmed about, it seems odd to be addressing this survey to Norwegians in the first place ?

      If it reveals anything at all, that which is revealed may be more indicative of cognitive dissonance, than ambivalence :)

  3. Younger people being ‘more concerned’ is likely an artifact of the propaganda they are / were getting in school.

    • Young People…….may not even know how to spell climate? I seriously doubt with what I’ve seen and heard coming out of our indoctrinated University systems – they couldn’t define climate…”in their own words”.

      • Young people have also lived through less changes in climate. I remember sitting on the floor watching Hansen give his testimony. My dad was calling bull**** because he lived through the dust bowl.

      • In my experience many young people know or think climate change is bs however as you guys may remember young people, well young men in particular are interested in gaining romantic interest from the other server by almost any means necessary. That and such diaolouge is simply not allowed in American Universities.

      • “they couldn’t define climate…”in their own words”.”

        Please… nobody can define “climate” as a sound universal scientific concept. Climate is at some scale (temporal and geographic) but then if some findings are bad for the Cause, the scale is wrong.

        You have a sound scientific definition when the scope doesn’t depends on arbitrary choices.

        A scientific result is robust against small changes in the arbitrary parameters. Biomed “findings” with many “significant” results, where most results are significant at p<.05 but not at <.04 are probably fraudulent or implicitly fraudulent (ie the researchers didn't tried to fool YOU, they only tried and fooled THEMSELVES).

        Worship of a particular totally arbitrary value like an "acceptable" (for who? in which situation?) risk of false positive by chance alone of 1/20 is the sure sign of lack of science.

        Since when is a climate defined by 30 years?

        I can define tide, you can define tide, our definition may not match exactly on criterias used but I am pretty sure we will agree on what tide is, and if we draw the tide over time graph our pictures will almost perfectly match. Nobody thinks a wave counts as tide because tide is well defined experimentally.

        When reasonable people argue on what climate is, it shows climate is not a useful concept at all.

    • As Winston Churchill said, if you aren’t a liberal at twenty you have no heart. If you aren’t a conservative at forty you have no head.

  4. I’m not sure what I think about this article. I suppose I’m just ambivalent about the conclusions drawn by the authors of the study.

    • Well it has nothing to do with Climate change and everything to do with politics. It is all about opinion that is probably the most important aspect for the Alarmists right now because all indications are that despite a massive effort and backing of most of the media, they’re losing the PR war. Because they are losing in the public domain, and they can’t get action in the legislature, and so they have been limited trying to advance their agenda unilaterally through the executive branch and trying to move what they can in civil court proceedings. And now the call for the prosecution of “Deniers” using the Rico statute increasing.

      There is a distinctive impression of real desperation on the part of the Alarmists as the summit in Paris approaches.

      • rah:

        ‘There is a distinctive impression of real desperation on the part of the Alarmists as the summit in Paris approaches.’

        d’accord. Hans

    • I thought I was interested in this article, but then became ambivalent after the first sentence.

      • You may be right. The Norwegians have the largest Sovereign Wealth Fund in the world (from good old fossil fuels) and they have to spend it somewhere. Hence this stuff I suppose.

    • But it was published in the highly respected journal Nature Climate Change.

      Although I confess I do not know this journal.
      I know the laughable comic Nature Climate Change but this must be something new.

      So some 2,000 Norwegians can describe the general attitudes of those affected by the global climate. Obviously.

      • I’ve heard of some trees in Yamal that had similar abilities concerning global climate, itself.
        Amazing, huh?

  5. Anthony, This is actually not a bad thing (can’t say how it will be spun though). They are saying what we knew all along:
    1. That it is not just an argument between those who say humans have no effect and those who believe the “science”.

    2. That skeptics have a much more nuanced view and know that humans and natural climate change occur.

    3. Even the part about older people makes sense if they are wiser than the youngsters.

    • Along with the sacred truth that capitalism is the greatest evil in all of history, it is held as equally true that no older person is ever wiser than a younger person. To think otherwise is to risk angering the great Gaia.

  6. For those who deny climate change is real, all you have to do is consider that the settlement of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde became abandoned when a pervasive drought destroyed farming in that area about 1300 AD, long before Al Gore sounded the alarm.

    I am awaiting sound research showing the optimum climate for our present biosphere. But most “research” is really an attempt to secure the optimum level of government intrusion in our lives.

    It is no surprise that almost every demand made by advocates of global warming converges on bigger government, higher taxes, less freedom and more restrictions on how we choose to live our lives. That tells me all I need to know about this massive fraud.

    • Buck, thanks. Yes, when someone wants to control someone else and do bad things to them by big government, less freedom, less wealth, less energy, and ultimately less people, you can be sure that they 1) do not include themselves in those that will be eliminated, 2) They are radical leftists who want communism, or crony socialism. I will believe their “save the planet” nonsense when they lead by example in subjecting themselves to these things before asking others to do them

    • I think maybe with food science (i.e., GMO, etc.) but few other sciences are as politicized.

  7. Maybe I don’t get the problem here. Skeptics are skeptical of CAGW. I dont know many who think humans make 0 impact on our world. Most ‘skeptics’ just don’t believe the overblown hype and panic that tags along (at least in my experience).

  8. Recent UK paper summarizes surveys:
    and shows the public are much more nuanced.

    Q6. Which, if any, of the following best describes your opinion about the causes of climate
    change?

    2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
    It is entirely caused by natural processes 6% 8% 4% 5% 4%
    It is mainly caused by natural processes 12% 12% 12% 12% 9%
    It is partly natural causes & partly human activity 47% 46% 48% 46% 48%
    It is mainly caused by human activity 24% 22% 28% 22% 29%
    It is entirely caused by human activity 7% 6% 4% 6% 7%
    There is no such thing as climate change 2% 2% 2% 2% 1%
    Don’t know 3% 3% 2% 7% 2%

    http://c3wales.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/URG-15-01-Flood-Climate-report-final2.pdf

    • These percentages suggest the propaganda is working in the UK with about 5% slipping from natural activity to human activity caused between 2010 and 2014. Interestingly the largest group, both human and natural activity has grown by 1%.

      Not that it matters to science, science is not based on surveys but on evidence. Politics are based on surveys and polls. Unfortunately climate science and climate politics are indistinguishable.

      2010
      18% mostly natural process
      47% both
      31% mostly human activity

      2014
      13% mostly natural process
      48% both
      36% mostly human activity

      • But what it actually shows is that the percentage of people that have the correct Idea has increased from 47% to 48%

      • It’s probably +/- 2% or more for each response so most
        of the differences or not meaningful.

    • I think I would have answered “There is no such thing as climate change”.

      Because to me, these words are a political campaign slogan, and the memes behind the slogan are all badly wrong.

      If you’re talking 10 years of weather = climate, then “It is partly natural causes & partly human activity”. Otherwise they can go jump.

      • The climate is always changing. Constant change is the status quo. For the climate to change it would have to stop changing. That, clearly is not the case, so there has been no change in the climate – it is still changing, just like always.

  9. Where’s category #5, it’s total BS? It hilarious that so many people in Scandinavia and Canada worry about warmer weather that isn’t even happening.

    • ‘tabnumlock
      June 3, 2015 at 6:10 am
      Where’s category #5, it’s total BS? It hilarious that so many people in Scandinavia and Canada worry about warmer weather that isn’t even happening.’

      says it all, tabnumlock.

      Regards – Hans

  10. ““We see that the older respondents write more about weather and ice and are less focused on the future in their responses,” says Tvinnereim. This may be because climatology focused more on physical aspects in the past, whereas now there is more talk about solutions and consequences for society. It may also be because older people do not have so much time left and are therefore less worried about the future, apart from when they think about their children and grandchildren.”

    Or it could be that older people have not noticed a great deal of change in the climate or weather (I haven’t in the last 60 years). If I thought CAGW was a threat I would be shouting from the opposite camp, but anyone with knowledge and logical thought is much more capable of arriving at a correct conclusion than someone driven by belief and emotion.

    • It might also be that older people remember the temperature from previous events earlier in their lives and know that the data has been doctored to scale back temperature records from the past

    • This whole ordeal has been very distasteful to say the least. As one who was the introduced to “Weather Forecasting” by the Dean of Philadelphia Meteorologists, Dr. Francis Davis. One of Drexel University’s finest who kept a diary of his 92% accuracy. He was the Military’s forecaster for the Enola Gay’s 6Aug45 historic flight. One of his favorite quotes is that ” forecasting the weather was always dry even when it was wet.” A true professional, I don’t think he had a published opinion on the nonsense of today. He was a pioneer at WFIL for years. I wonder what his view of the succulent female forecasters that paint on their outfits before each newscast. I suggest you read https:broadcastpioneers.com/francisdavis/http to get a history of this first Philly PhD in Meteorology with BS in Physics and Mathematics.

  11. Surprise surprise, skeptics are more nuanced in their opinions than the warmists believed.
    I’ve seen this many times with the trolls who drop by here from time to time.
    They are convinced that the skeptics are absolutists who hold dogmatic belief that man has no influence on the climate at all. Even when you tell them otherwise, they still refuse to believe it.
    It’s similar to how they ignore any data that does not confirm their belief in CAGW.

    • “They are convinced that the skeptics are absolutists who hold dogmatic belief…”

      Psychological projection because that’s how they themselves think. Or maybe because that’s what’s been asserted and reinforced so often in the shame stream press.

    • It’s standard vilification. They are so enamoured of Us vs Them that they fail to reailze that we aren’t monsters.

      Be careful, though Mark, that villification works both ways. Remember, “Not Evil, Just Wrong”

      • Ben – A question came to mind upon reading your comment: At what point does being wrong, after understanding the “wrong-ness” of your stance and not changing that wrong-ness into “right-ness” (I.E., repeating the warmumista mantra) become evil?

  12. I can’t say I rolled my eyes much.

    But I notice it didn’t occur to the authors that older respondents’ lower concern about the future may have arisen from the greater experience they have with doomsayers and scientists.

  13. older respondents write more about weather and ice
    ===============
    because they have seen it all before and know that “saving the world” in reality means “taking your money”.

    • Will, science might appear to be a ghost, but as long as it’s spirit lives in some of us it is not gone. Just as the spirits of Feynman and Sagan live on in the minds of those they’ve mentored (even posthumously).
      cheers, Steve L

    • Here is a rough draft poem I just jotted down from your inspiration, Will Penn.

      Climate, Politics And Fear

      The man we elected as President now calls me a denier;
      He says those who follow him should “put my feet to the fire”!
      Engaging in other-isms, ridicule and vicious mirth,
      Proposing that “doubters live on a flat earth”.
      Twisting and inflating every climate fact he’s learned
      Until truth from fiction cannot be discerned.

      Authoring my verse I wonder how long it might be
      Before men in black suits come to visit me?
      Even though I admit carbon dioxide’s effect,
      The Sagan in me has come to suspect
      That there’s more to climate than reradiated infrared,
      And larger feedbacks and forcings remain yet unsaid.

      The panicked legislation is hard to surmise
      After this many years with no temperature rise.
      The models are more incoherent each year,
      Yet a consensus tells us we’ve so much to fear!
      I can only suspect governmental centralization
      And non-elected leaders of a new world-wide nation.

  14. Breaking news: pollsters “discover” polls are often biased to reflect views of pollsters. They then conduct their own, still-biased poll. Film at 11.

  15. it is easy to fool a young person that the climate is changing because they have no first hand knowledge of past climate.

    old folks are harder to fool about climate change, because after having lived through the ice ages they look forward to global warming.

    • Apparently it is quite easy to fool the president of the United States too ;-)
      Perhaps that should read fool and / or bribe!

    • Part of Obama’s motivation to talk about CAGW is the state of the US economy, race relations, and foreign policy. Partly as a distraction and partly as a scapegoat.

      • His term is up soon, so he must look elsewhere to satisfy the lust for power. The only upward position is world leadership appointment. Selling the emergency of climate change places him in favor for a UN appointment.
        If this vehicle is disabled for him he will have little else to propel him to world power and have to regroup with little real accomplishment to stand on.

      • Dawtgtmis – my first thought was that perhaps Obama was positioning himself to lead the IPCC once out of office, but I think his real desire is to host a late night TV show. He loves to hear himself talk and to rub elbows with the Hollywood elite. Likely, better golf couses in CA, too.

  16. Many theoretical scientists used to shuffle bits of paper, nowadays bash at the keyboard instead, far removed from the reality.
    Sceptics need to engage the ‘theoreticians’ of the AGW FataMorgana.
    Engineers have different perspective on things. Someone who never hooked an oscilloscope probe to a peace of electronics could say for THIS : “and so what?”
    The aim is to use accepted data, analyse it and point out the inconsistencies with the AGW hypothesis. Most may dismiss it, but if one or two of the less feeble mind, at least enquire ‘how come?’, than the effort was worthwhile.

  17. The researchers analysed the results, and the study has now been published in the highly respected journal Nature Climate Change. Very few researchers in the social sciences and humanities manage to get their research published there.

    As Jose Duarte has recently pointed out, getting your results published in the wrong genre of publication almost certainly means that the ‘peer review’ was carried out by people who are not competent in the field.

  18. Language analysis: If I was asked what I think when I hear the words ‘climate change’, I would immediately ask whether the question relates to Global Warming Climate Change or Natural Climate Change.

    • “immediately ask whether the question relates to Global Warming Climate Change or Natural Climate Change.”

      So you equate Global Warming Climate Change as caused Man and our CO2? The MSM built that, quite successfully. They don’t even have to mention Man’s input at all. So when they say something like “Global Warming caused the ice to melt”, are they wrong?

      • Paul – yes, they are wrong cuz they have no proof or means to determine the proof of what caused the ice to melt in percentage terms of natural variability or the CO2 monster.

      • “Paul – yes, they are wrong cuz…”

        No, their hypothetical statement was “Global Warming caused the ice to melt”. They didn’t say it was man-made or Nature, that’s up to the reader to decide. Since most equate “Global Warming Climate Change” to mean Man-made CO2, the don’t have to point out the source. They are correct no matter what the source or cause of the warming turns out to be.

        BTW, I agree with what you’re saying. My point was the connection has been established between Global Warming and Man’s CO2. The connection is: Global Warming = Man’s CO2 NOT Global Warming = (Nature + ~Man’s CO2). Most are led to believe that ANY warming = Man, ANY change = Man.

      • “So when they say Global Warming caused the ice to melt are they wrong?”

        Nope. Warm melts ice. Cold creates ice (if you have water). Almost everyone knows this.

        It is a “book opening” as in chess. He makes a move to which you must say “yes”. I say yes. His next move presumes I will habitually say “yes” now that I have been conditioned. But don’t bet on it.

  19. ..Previous studies have shown that people with lower education are more sceptical about climate change than people with higher education. We did not observe any such correlation in our survey…..

    Let me change that for you. “Previous smears have claimed that people with lower education are more sceptical about climate change than people with higher education. We did not observe any such correlation in our survey.”

    There. Fixed….

  20. The article is here:
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nclimate2663.pdf

    The authors included some references to studies by Leiserowitz at Yale that seem to be important. Leiserowitz carried out four studies of between 1000 and 2000 survey respondents between 203 and 2010. One of his conclusions regarded the rise of skepticism from 10% to 20% between 2002 and 2010:

    “Several significant trends in Americans’ associations
    with “global warming” over time were identified.
    Perhaps most notable was the large increase in
    the proportion of naysayer images (e.g., “hoax”). The
    proportion of naysayer images rose from less than
    10% in 2002 to over 20% of total responses in 2010
    (χ2 (3) = 84.65, p < 0.001)".–Source: Smith and Leiserowitz, 2012, Risk Analysis

    Also notable is that the Norwegian authors used the term "naysayer" rather than the big D word, as did Leiserowitz. In their review of previous studies, they somehow missed the definitive contributions of one Lewandosky.

  21. I’m not surprised. The group commonly referred to as climate change skeptics is a large group with many opinions on climate change. Ranging from it doesn’t exist to it exists but it’s nothing to worry about. Some think made-made CO2 has no effect and some think it has a minor effect. But the one common opinion is that there is no catastrophic global warming.

  22. In a nice departure from the usual level of climate studies, the authors have made available not only the data but also the code:

    Data deposition. A replication data set with R code has been deposited at the
    Harvard Dataverse Network: E.T.; K.F., 2015, `Replication data for: Explaining topic
    prevalence in answers to open-ended survey questions about climate change’,
    http://dx.doi.org/10.7910/DVN/28689 Harvard Dataverse Network [Distributor]
    V2 [Version].
    The full data set is available from the Norwegian Social Science Data Services
    (NSD): http://www.nsd.uib.no/nsddata/serier/norsk_medborgerpanel.html

  23. They are getting warmer at least, but they need to dig a lot deeper. Then they would find that skeptics/climate realists are not “ambivalent”, but rather more knowledgable about climate and about the issue of manmade climate.

    • I am “ambivalent” but lack adequate information to become monovalent. Where I am skeptical is that I doubt anyone else has that information.

      • Monovalent? Containing only one kind of antibody? I hope you meant malevolent..as that would be far more clever/appropriate. :)

      • PeterinMD

        June 3, 2015 at 9:58 am
        The only man made climate I’m aware of is in actual greenhouses!
        ———————————————————————————————————-

        Seems your typical HVAC system is referred to as “Climate Control”, no?

  24. have asked a broad spectrum of people in Norway about their thoughts on climate change…..
    …..The study clearly shows how the language used in the climate debate affects public opinion

    and asking questions about “climate change” somehow doesn’t bias the answers

    The dumbing down of academia

  25. “[. . .] Climate change appears to be associated with everything from physical realities to people’s subjective attitudes, values and interests,” says Fløttum [in the final sentence of the article posted at WUWT].

    Yes. It appears so.

    That it might surprise many climate change crusaders is surprising; it does not surprise many independent critical thinkers engaged in applied reasoning.

    John

  26. Norway is rich because of fossil fuels.

    Along with the fossil fuel riches came the limousine liberal disease called “hypocrisy.”

  27. Look at how they try to shape their depictions of their political rivals. So, skeptics don’t say that its all one thing, like Co2, as the warmists’ do. We recognize that there are more factors than just one gas. That makes us “ambivalent?” Our uncertainty is based upon the knowledge that we don’t know everything about climate like the true believers in CAGW. We have minds that can see more than one side of an issue. Thank you for pointing that out.

  28. The study does have flaws and questionable methodology. However it’s fundamentally flaw is that it assumes climate changing is inevitably catastrophic. The study is inherently biased, it’s like asking someone, “When did you stop beating your wife”. Or in this case suggesting, “How do you feel about humanity and/or nature destroying climate, the earth and you?”

    Whats funny is out of the four categories, the category that received the least response was “causes”. This suggests a lack of confidence in specifying the cause of climate change. In this light the public shows more common sense than climate scientists.

    • Alx, you’ve misunderstood, I believe. The study did not suggest the categories, nor ask a biased question. The categories come from analysis of the responses.

    • As Steveta said, it was a blank form. I think what this shows is that laypersons are not well educated about causes. Even I would have a hard time doing more than handwaving over the dozens of overlaying cycles before coming down hard on the small amount predicted and its trivial effects.

  29. They receive money for this.

    When I have used that sentence in the past it had a question mark and an exclamation mark at the end. Sometimes I would write “WTF??!!” after it. As I come across more and more of these kinds of studies I am no longer incredulous. The sentence is now just a depressing statement of fact.

  30. Climate change appears to be associated with everything from physical realities to people’s subjective attitudes, values and interests,” says Fløttum.

    OK, now we see where they are coming from. What is interesting is that they are allowing natural factors to come into the debate, which they has not done before. We could be cynical and say that they are trying to pull more support for the warmist position allowing 10%, or 25% man-made. Such a counting up could be useful politically, I suppose. But all of this is just an assertion about motives, best to be careful.

    But there is a much larger point to be made here. Consider this post, which appeared here several days ago.
    Claim: Data does not prove that climate models are wrong
    The commenters missed on this one big-time. The central claim was that the climate models cannot be proved wrong because natural variability was swamping out the anthropogenic effect.
    Exactly:
    It was not long ago that making the claim of significant natural effects is just exactly what got so many of us the label Denier in the first place. The authors then used one of the sceptics fundamental positions in support of the models. The paper is heresy, the authors are heretics.

    Now we see this, natural variability explicitly included in a study and the study makes it into Nature Climate Change, a bastion of the warmists. There is a sea-change happening in the terms of the debate. Possibly the warmists, after denying natural variability for so long, are attempting to co-opt it for their own use.

  31. Thanks, Anthony.
    I’m guessing this study wants to show the lack of conviction, the skepticism of skeptics about our own position.
    Some of us are skeptics because we are scientific-minded, some just reject imposed thinking. We know that the only “settled science” is bad science.

  32. I take it they conclude that there are in fact very few “Deniers”out there (at least in Norway) and that most people have something of an each way bet on account of they are a bit like dogs watching tennis and know something is happening but it is not that clear what. Obviously the CAGW crowd do not seem to be making such an impact. Most people these days are well aware of the smell and sound of spin and while aware it is there don’t afford it much credit. Since there is much more CAGW spin out there than skeptical stuff let aalone genuine denierism it seems the CAGW lot are not really being listened to.

  33. ‘It may also be because older people do not have so much time left and are therefore less worried about the future …’

    I think not. I think maybe, just maybe, it’s because older people have seen all this nonsense before in their lives.

    • More likely their concerns stem from how ice and/or flooding might affect them personally in the near future. Physical injuries and things that might restrict access to food, medical care etc. become top priorities for the elderly. Falling on ice or being trapped by flood waters ARE catastrophic to old people, and clearly more likely than their grandchildren suffering from imaginary catastrophic warming of some kind.

  34. definitions are critical.
    “Climate change” is, by intention, dishonest term intended to deceive.

    • When one makes the decision to “find the right balance between honesty and effectiveness”, that marks you as a scheming liar, and nothing else you say can be viewed as untainted.

  35. Reading through this, I dont see anything wrong with the conclusions. I suspect if you renamed the subject to climate change alarmism, you would get the identical results. The study seems to produce nothing at all new or unexpected. I just dont see why it was worthy of study to discover that when people actually think about something rather than react viscerally there thoughts are a little more nuanced.

  36. “Previous studies have shown that people with lower education are more sceptical about climate change than people with higher education.”

    What studies? The only study I know of that addressed that topic found that skeptics are more educated about climate science.

    Kahan, Dan (2015) Expressive Rationality and Cultural Polarization: Theory and Evidence, Advances in Political Psychology, Vol 2,

  37. Paywalled

    “Nature Climate Change | Letter
    Explaining topic prevalence in answers to open-ended survey questions about climate change”

    “…Citizens’ opinions are crucial for action on climate change, but are, owing to the complexity of the issue, diverse and potentially unformed¹. We contribute to the understanding of public views on climate change and to knowledge needed by decision-makers by using a new approach to analyse(sic) answers to the open survey question ‘what comes to mind when you hear the words ‘climate change’?’. We apply automated text analysis, specifically structural topic modelling (sic)…”

    New models preying on common colloquial language; forcing into climate researcher thinking contraints.

    “…Finally, the sharp distinction between scepticism(sic) and acceptance of conventional climate science, often seen in previous studies, blurs in many textual responses as scepticism frequently turns into ambivalence…”

    News Flash!
    Only skeptics can be ambivalent… According to the new word models. Alarmists are always, er, solid believers.

    Sloppy science.
    Soggy project structure.
    Confirmation bias.

    News announcements without any real science practiced.
    Nature did not publish a research paper, they published someone’s idea of a soft social science high school project.

      • Lance Wallace published links to the data, not the letter published in Nature.

        Seeing the data is nice, but it’s just data without their conclusions and alleged rationale.

    • Addendum to my comment above:

      “…Data Collection Mode:

      The survey is based on a online questionnaire with postal recruitment. Panel members were recruited in multiple steps.

      First, letters were sent to everyone in the sample (24 928 individuals before the recruitment process started). The letters contained the following information: a) a description of the project, b) the Citizen Panel’s policy on privacy and measures taken to protect the anonymity of the participants, c) the time-frame of the project, d) the participants’ rights to opt of the panel at any time in the future, e) contact information for the people responsible for the project, f) a unique log-in id and the web address to the panel’s web site and g) the estimated time required to complete the survey (20 minutes).

      In order to maximize the response rate, an incentive in the form of a travel gift card is included in the project. The value of the gift card is 25 000 NOK. To enter the lottery respondents were required to join the panel and provide their email addresses. Respondents were asked to register on the panel’s web site and log into the survey using the unique ID-code provided in their personal letter. Information on the lottery was included in all correspondence with respondents.

      The letter was posted 13th of October 2014. A reminder post card was sent on the 23rd of October 2014 to those respondents who a) had not logged into the survey, or b) had neither completed the survey nor provided their email address. Respondents were encouraged to join the panel, with reference to the invitation letter. The unique log-in ID provided in the original letter was also included in the post card. Thereafter, respondent that had not responded to the survey received a text message 13th of November. The log-in ID was given in the text message.

      The final step reached out to a subsample of 2 000 individuals with registered phone number. The sample was contacted by phone. The respondents were informed of the Norwegian Citizen Panel and encouraged to opt in. Those who responded positively had the opportunity to receive log-in credentials by email.

      943 respondents were contacted in total. 649 did not want to opt in. 103 wanted to opt in, but did not want to receive email with log-in credentials. 191 respondents wanted to participate, and received an email.
      In addition, 144 respondents refused to answer questions asked by interviewer. Interviewer could not have a conversation with 59 respondents due to either age, sickness, or communication problems.
      For various reasons the interviewer did not make contact with the remaining respondents…”

      Looks to be an instructional on how not to achieve a proper fully representative sample.

      “…Weighting

      To compensate for the observed bias, a set of weights has been calculated. The weights equal the relation between a given strata in the population and the total population, divided by the relation between a given strata in the net sample and the total net sample. This procedure returns values around 1, but above 0. Respondents who are underrepresented will receive a weight above 1 and respondents who are overrepresented a weight below 1. The weights of the different stratums are listed in the documentation report (table 8 in the appendix).

      When calculating the weights, the information regarding the respondent’s geographical location, gender and age are based on registry data. These attributes were included in the sample file we received from the Norwegian Population Register. Information regarding the level of education is provided by the respondents when answering the questionnaire. Approximately 9 percent of the net sample did not answer this question. Because of this, two different weights have been calculated:

      – Weight 1 based on demographic variables (age, gender and geography)
      – Weight 2 combining the demographic variables with education. Respondents with missing data on the education variable are only weighted on demography (the education component of the weight is set to 1 in these cases).

      When applied, both weights will provide a weighted N equal to the number of cases in the dataset. We will strongly recommend using weight 2 in any statistical analysis, as this weight provides the most accurate compensation for the various sources of bias in the net sample. An illustration of this is provided in table 5 which shows the effect of weight 2 on the distribution of self-reported level of education in the net sample:
      …”

      What’s a blender full of weighting amongst friends.

      From the combined waves 1-3.

      “…Sampling Procedure
      Members of the Norwegian Citizen Panel have been recruited in two waves, wave 1 and wave 3.
      In wave 1 4,870 panel members were recruited (see documentation from wave 1).
      In wave 3 5,623 members are recruited. …”

      Combined waves 1 & 2 were listed as having 69% response. Given that they started with a potential sample size of 25,000 people, 69% response ratio is optimistic.

      “…We apply automated text analysis, specifically structural topic modelling2, which induces
      distinct topics based on the relative frequencies of the words used in 2,115 responses. …”

      Variables defined for where responses fit:

      “…Variable(s) 1529 …”

      “…Among the textual responses, the median response length was four words and the mean length was 10.1 words (62.7 characters); the longest response had 310 words. The total corpus contained
      21,470 words …”

      Dissect 21,470 words from 10,510 people into 1,529 variables as weighted results; and only skeptics are ambivalent?
      Smells like confirmation bias.

  38. Rather off piste, but my tourist brother Andrew’s postcard from Bergen arrived this morning in which he reports they’ve had ‘the worst May for many years’.

  39. Open ended questions, whether in climate science or any other political area, tends to produce more nuanced answers. The answers reflect a mulling over in one’s mind, the question. There are more caveats to the answer.

    The fall down in most analysis of the answers lies in the ascribing motivations for an answer. That is, young people’s: “the younger respondents tended to have a large proportion of their answers in the category “future and consequences”. To establish that the motivations of younger people regarding climate change are more than what younger people already have as a future oriented perspective would need to be established. That is, younger people’s concern for the future as it relates to climate change is Greater Than their usual concern about the future. As it is, young people are busy preparing for the future through education, skills acquisition, having families, etc. Having a future orientation is the expected norm. How much more concerned about the future are young people regarding climate change? This is open to interpretation in this study.

    For the elderly: “We see that the older respondents write more about weather and ice and are less focused on the future in their responses,” says Tvinnereim. This may be because climatology focused more on physical aspects in the past, whereas now there is more talk about solutions and consequences for society.” I am afraid that Mr. Tvinnereim misses the obvious. The elderly are concerned about the practicality of weather and not climate change. Do I need to wear a rain coat? Is the ice cleared from the sidewalk? The elderly have lived long enough to know that the climate will be whatever the climate will be and one has to adapt to the immediacy of the weather.

    The next questionnaire should look at motivation; i.e., why do you say what you said? as well as giving a scale to the answer: are you concerned more about climate change than about getting that new job? The motivation questions provide context to the answers on climate change; unless of course, you don’t really want to know that climate change is not really on your mind most of the time, if at all.

  40. ‘highly respected journal Nature Climate Change.’

    A journal whose very existence depends in CAGW , and therefore respect is by no means a given.

    And your left with the feeling that any who do not running around like chicken little screaming about ‘climate doom ‘ are consider “ambivalent” where as it more likley they consider that after consideration there is simply no good reason to in the first place.

  41. “This may be because climatology focused more on physical aspects in the past, whereas now there is more talk about solutions and consequences for society. It may also be because older people do not have so much time left and are therefore less worried about the future, apart from when they think about their children and grandchildren.”

    Amazing that they never addressed the fact that older people can actually remember when the weather/climate was as bad or worse than during recent events that are being called “unprecedented”.

    Superstorm Sandy in 2012 for instance. Any old codger living in that area that remembers 1954, knows this same type of storm happened in Oct 1954. They may not have understood the reasons but the atmospheric set up was the same with Hurricane Hazel

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Hazel

    In 1954, this came after 2 cat. 3 hurricanes had hit the same general region in the previous 2 months.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_Atlantic_hurricane_season

    You’d have to be well into your 80’s to actually remember the Dust Bowl Decade in the 1930’s but the more time that passes since it occurred, the less it will be remembered. Without a doubt the oldest generation can tell you much more about it than the younger ones.

    Very people form opinions on climate change based on being experts on atmospheric science. Very few people are experts on science to the extent that they would be able to understand enough about climate science to have the correct scientific opinion……………..heck, I’ve been an operational meteorologist for 33 years, observing the atmosphere all day long and studying weather and climate constantly but some of my views are much different than what is represented as the mainstream climate science view.

    For most people, on many issues, including climate science they interpret new information based on a combination of things that include their belief system. Their belief system has slowly been carved out over the years based on experiences, memories, education and learning experiences.

    Older people have acquired far more of the above. Of course this can mean that they are not giving proper weighting to the last 2 decades because they grew up forming opinions about climate/weather during a long time ago. ………they can remember the global cooling scare in the 1970’s for instance.

    However, as a 60 year old meteorologist that was not born yet in 1954, let alone the 1930’s but can tell you every detail about all the weather in all those years………………because I have weather records at my fingertip, I can appreciate the perspective of our oldest generation that was there or can remember the weather over the past 80 years.

    Fact is, the past 3 decades have featured the best weather and climate on this planet in almost 1,000 years, since the Medieval Warm Period. I you were born in the past 30 years, your memory only knows what it’s been like during that period. The oldest people on this planet remember when it was worse because they were there, just like I have something even better than being there…………accurate data and records that prove it was worse. Those that state otherwise, much of the time, are not correct but are having the greatest influence on the opinions of our young people.

  42. Given the sketchy nature of the data, ambivalence is the correct position. All this study proves is that skeptics are more thoughtful, and likely more intelligent than non-skeptics.

  43. So the people of Norway are ambivalent about climate change?

    Would they be ambivalent about “Global Warming?” — Bring it on!
    “can you do anything about our long winter nights, too?”

    And as John W. Garrett above pointed out, Norway as a country and culture has done pretty well by its fossil fuel resources. I doubt Sea Level rise worries them much, either.

  44. One of the tricks of sophists is to intermingle multiple issues. The multiple issues being intermingled in all climate change surveys are —
    1) Catastrophic Man Made Climate Change
    2) Man Made Climate Change
    3) Natural Climate Change

    The survey will begin by giving a clear definition of each of the above explaining their differences.

    the body of the survey will be divided into three sections asking questions about topics 1, 2 and 3 separately. Each section will begin with the same header clearly defining all three — and then stating which of the issues will be inquired about in that section’s questions.

    The point is to make it absolutely clear to the people taking the survey what it is each question is referring to — either Catastrophic Man Made Climate Change or Man Made Climate Change or Natural Climate Change.

    The first question under topic ! would be — Do you believe in Catastrophic Man Made Climate Change? The first question under topic 2 would be — Do you believe in Man Made Climate Change? The first question under topic 3 would be — Do you believe in Natural Climate Change?

    Note: Provision should be made so that those taking the survey can go back and change their answers because the dividing up of the topics will force them to reconsider some “knee jerk” answers.

    (As an aside a new term needs to come into our vocabulary — Sophist Surveyors — meaning those who confuse multiple topics to arrive at answers they want — or perform other sophist tricks with their questions.)

    Now most surveyors are not evil — just ignorant. Surveyors need to take courses in logic — so they came come to appreciate how illogical and sophistic their surveys are.

    Surveys should be a precise form of communication between the surveyor and those being surveyed — but most often because of poor questioning there is no communication at all.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  45. Maybe we should start referring to Alarmists as “Model Deniers”. As in they deny the models have failed, and without adjustments to the temperature record, they would show they have failed spectacularly!

  46. I think it’s good that they are asking open-ended questions, and using language like ‘ambivalent’

    There are too many papers of this type that just force everyone into one of two categories, creating or enhancing polarisation.

    One interesting finding is
    “those less concerned are more likely to bring up the Attribution topic”.
    But on the whole, the paper isn’t very informative.

  47. Climate-change sceptics are thus more ambivalent than has been suggested in previous surveys,” says Endre Tvinnereim, a researcher at Uni Research Rokkan Centre.

    I don’t know if I care or not ;o)

  48. Humans everywhere, including scientists are prone to certain common biases.
    As we all know.
    But, these biases tend to work in favour of creating catastrophe and conspiracy obsessed thinking.
    Thought patterns and news output and the concerns of the populace, tend to fixate on single catastrophic or worrying events.
    Obviously there is a natural incentive for humans to take an interest in such events and to try and learn from them or prepare for them.
    Of course there are background natural trends, but these have little or nothing to do with with the formation of public opinion.
    Big chunks of ice falling off an Antartic glacier are more concerning and newsworthy than slow accretion of ice further inland. The collapse of one section of Bangladeshi river bank is more concerning than progressive silt deposition on the opposing bank. The extinction of one colony of Pika is more worrying than the spread of some other Pika to a new area. etc etc etc etc etc.
    Furthermore, natural fears about disaster tend to lead us to fixate upon circumstances which are beyond our control.
    And the natural propensity for delusion building confirmation bias tends to lead us to fixate upon stories of disaster and store up concerning impressions as evidence of a trend toward catastrophe.
    In this sense, creating a public mind concerned with catastrophic “climate change” was an easy task.
    The fact that this delusion has gained so much momentum in such a short space of time is really only indicative of the natural tendency of humans to generate delusional concerns about future catastrophe when left to their own devices.
    We used to have a counter-measure to eliminate this drift towards popular delusional psychosis.
    The counter-measure was called science.
    The real catastrophe here, is the corruption of science to serve the stimulation of mass delusion.
    Without the balancing effects of objective criticism we risk sliding helplessly towards a new future of total idiocy.
    There’s not much more that the professional fearmongerers of today need to do.
    Making the public delusional and worried was never going to be all that difficult.
    All that was really necessary was the absurd denigration of the agents of reasoned skepticism.
    Once the public had been lead to suspect the motives of those who would try to help steer them back towards balance and reason – they were effectively cast adrift in a flotilla of fools.
    To be honest, the chief brainwashers could now probably stand back and take a holiday.
    From here on, the useful idiots can be left to brainwash themselves.

  49. Totaly biased questions. Consider the one here (you can rephrase the others using a similar reversal of intent).

    The future and consequences for man
    For example, risks and challenges that will affect their children and grandchildren

    Rephrase the eample answer as
    For example, opportunities that will accrue to children and grand children.

    Better yet ask the quesation without including a biasing prologue example.

  50. If someone is ambivalent about something, it means they are open to persuasion. Warmunists are watching in horror as skepticism about manmade climate keeps getting bigger, and are desperate to explain it, and find a way to combat it. This “ambivalence” thing would be something they could latch onto, and say, “there is still hope of reaching these people. We just need to find the right way to communicate climate change.” They are in denial, big time.

  51. Apparently this is the sort of science that the public want.
    This is today’s contribution from the BBC and the Royal Society:
    “So why don’t chimps cook? Not being able to control fire is one reason and another, according to Dr Warneken.”
    These self-styled “scientists” make Derek Zoolander look like Albert Einstein:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32976352

  52. Such surveys are such a waste of time if they don’t question people about the cost of doing something about it. If surveys asked the question , do you feel strongly enough about climate change that you would be happy to see power prices quadruple over a ten year period, that supply would be intermittent and the measures you take would make little difference to the climate I think most people would say don’t bother , whether they were a believer or not. To try to use such surveys as an excuse to implement government ( or global) policy is ridiculous. In the end belief or not is irrelevant. If you do believe ,how much money do you want to sacrifice to attempt ( and likely fail) to do something about it. I think you’d be amazed how little of their own money warmists would genuinely want to spend on trying to do something. Their all happy to spend everyone else’s money.

  53. If I lived in Norway, I’d be rooting for human ability to cause warming to be real. I’d want to move the thermostat up a few degrees. I’m in a ‘temperate climate’ and thinking of moving another 300 miles closer to the equator to get away from all the snow as it is.

  54. ”Some 2,000 Norwegians have been asked about what they think when they hear or read the words “climate change”.

    Virtually every mention of climate change in the media, is flogging a one sided view of what is meant by the term. For the poorly informed, this is the impression they have of what it means. It’s amazing really that anyone should indicate any doubt about our impending doom… but they do.

    Eamon.

  55. They are looking for a way to dismiss the recent polls showing growing skepticism and they want a paper to “prove” that such views can be discounted.

    This is all designed as part of the overall effort so they can proceed with their plan to “save the planet” come what may. This will translate into “Ignore the people, they don’t know what they’re saying or they don’t mean it” advice and give the green light (pardon the pun) to getting on with tearing down capitalism and bringing the human species to its knees.

  56. Hmmm. It’s only ambivolence if you have no idea that the data tells CAGW skeptics…

  57. “The study clearly shows how the language used in the climate debate affects public opinion”

    Give’m a box of Nobels for that. I think they are beginning to understand that humans process information, unlike the common potty plant.

  58. interesting idea – using linguistic analysis – altho they might turn the magnifying glass on themselves too – “scepticism frequently turns into ambivalence” – what do they mean by “ambivalence” – it could mean that skeptics aren’t as stubborn as alarmists – which is a good thing – skeptics should be more “scientific” and rational

    or could it reveal wishful thinking on the part of the researchers – that some skeptics aren’t so certain of their position – and will quickly jump ship if the right pressure point can be found

    this reminds of a bloggers advice to men to be absolutely certain in thought and action in order to appear more “manly” – alarmists might appear more manly – and appear more wrong as evidence accumulates against them – a small price to pay?

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