Friday graph: belief in human induced global warming wanes

An interesting graph from the Pew Research Centre (hat tip: Anthony Watts) showing an ongoing decline in the number of Americans believing human activity is the cause of global warming.

Only around a third (34%) say that global warming is now occurring mostly because of human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels.

This finding has no bearing at all on the validity of the scientific evidence on global warming.  Only qualified scientists can debate that evidence.

But the trend may have been influenced by the Climategate scandal and the misuse of evidence by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  Confidence in the IPCC has been shaken.

Much more importantly, it brings out the political dimension of the global warming issue.  Policy on global warming is not just a matter of science; it is also an economic and political issue.

Governments are not going to be in a position to implement durable emission reductions policies unless voters are persuaded that they should bear the associated costs.  If they’re not, governments will simply be voted out of office and policies will change.

The Pew Research Centre survey may help explain why the United States seems unlikely to implement a cap-and-trade (emissions trading) scheme any time soon.

This blog by Donna Laframboise on media bias on climate change is also interesting.

Click to enlarge

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6 thoughts on “Friday graph: belief in human induced global warming wanes

  1. I heard today a comment by Hillary Clinton to the effect of “whether you believe in climate change or not…(blah blah blah). And that reminded me of hearing Julia Gillard, during the recent election campaign over the ditch, say, “I believe in climate change.”

    With all due respect, and I have lots for both, this is seriously stupid stuff from these ladies.

    Climate Change is not a matter of belief. It’s a matter of science. You either accept what the scientists and all their national academies are telling us, which is sensible, or you don’t, which is stupid.

    Simple, really.

    And belief has nothing to do with it.

  2. Climate Change is not a matter of belief. It’s a matter of science. You either accept what the scientists and all their national academies are telling us, which is sensible, or you don’t, which is stupid.

    Argumentum ad verecundiam. Next?

  3. It’s interesting that Luc still has a belief that Climate Change is a matter of science, rather than a matter of ideology.

    Mike Hulme’s “Why We Disagree About Climate Change” (the Economist’s 2009 Book of the Year) describes the issue as a cultural,social, environmental and political phenomenon.The oft-disputed science component is buried by personal belief systems.

    • I will accept whatever conclusion is supported by science. However no scientific conclusion can invalidate the fact man has rights and that the proper purpose of a government is to protect them. Without exception, the solutions promoted by environmentalists to the problems supposedly caused by AGW violate the proper purpose of government, and most would be worse than allowing the “worst-case scenario” to happen.

      or put it this way: man’s nature hasn’t changed and none of the environmentalists’ specific empirical claims about the climate, even if true, will suddenly make statism right or practical.

      So suppose the science were right (and worst-case). If there is not a political solution that protects individual rights (which I have yet to hear of: all I hear and read about is more government intervention based on regulation, taxation and subsidy, rather than considering how existing regulations, taxes and subsidies are negative in relation to emissions that may contribute to global warming) then there isn’t a political solution.

      and thats all I have to say

      That said, don’t forget that protecting property rights so, say, land purchases made farther from the coast are honored by the law, are, at the end of the day, just one example of a political solution.

  4. Moataz, I’ve been busy, sorry, so this missive will probably be missed by you, but you clearly misunderstand the true meaning of argument from authority and how it invalidates an argument: specifically, it does not include reference to evidence from experts, especially when said experts are virtually unanimous on cause and effects, the only uncertainty being the true extent of the effects.

    And your elevation of protection of property rights, whatever that truly means in these circumstance, above that of protection of human life is evidence of extraordinary devotion to a mere concept – fanaticism springs to mind.

  5. Moataz, I’ve been busy, sorry, so this missive will probably be missed by you, but you clearly misunderstand the true meaning of argument from authority and how it invalidates an argument: specifically, it does not include reference to evidence from experts, especially when said experts are virtually unanimous on cause and effects, the only uncertainty being the true extent of the effects.

    I am quite aware of the argument from authority thank you very much. You didn’t say anything about evidence. You just said accept the experts or you’re stupid (wrong). It shouldn’t be who is saying it, it should be what is being said. It could be that the experts are wrong. The whole thing has been pure politics from day one

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