Friday, January 8, 2010

Belief in Anthropogenic Global Warming Declines

From the National Post we have a story on how polls show public acceptance of man-caused global warming in decline in the UK, the US and Canada:
"Increasing uncertainty shows up in yesterday's poll numbers. Angus Reid surveyed people in all three countries in November and December, before and after Copenhagen. The drop off in public support for the idea that global warming is a fact mostly caused by human activity looks most pronounced in Canada. In November, 63% of Canadians supported global warming as a man-made phenomenon. By Dec. 23, that support had fallen 52%. Among Canadians, 13% are now not sure.

A similar trend has been noted in the United States, where confidence in global warming theory has dropped to 46%, down from 49% in November -- and down from 51% in July last year. In Britain, only 43% believe man-made global warming is a fact, down from 47% in November and from 55% in July. "
At Secondhand Smoke, Wesley J. Smith offers his list of reasons why he thinks this trend is underway:

"I think there are many good and rational reasons for the dramatic decline in public belief in global warming hysteria. In no particular order, and without attempting to be comprehensive, they are:

* Climategate: True, the scandal did not disprove global warming, but it shredded the myth that global warming scientists are objective investigators. Moreover, the clear intent of the global warming community’s top scientists to stifle heterodox thinking, exposed in the purloined e-mails, reveals a lack of faith in their ability to win the debate based on a full review of the scientific evidence.

* Al Gore: Al Gore’s is the face of global warming, and that has profoundly hurt the cause. His many factual “exaggerations,” his refusal to debate–if you really think the world is coming to an end, you take on all comers in every possible venue–his hypocritical lifestyle, the fortune he has made off of global warming hysteria, his inability to answer non fawning questions on the few occasions they are asked, the clear propagandistic nature of his movie, his imperiousness, the queasy feeling that something is off in his personality, his ridiculous persona, all combine to undermine belief in a climate crisis among regular folk.

* The Media’s Booster Mentality: The media’s credibility on this issue–among many others–is utterly shot because journalists have acted as boosters rather than skeptical reporters. People notice and tune out the increasingly shrill stories of the coming catastrophes of melted ice, dead polar bears, and planetary breakdown.

* Ignored Inconvenient Truths: Climate changes. Five thousand years ago the Sahara was green and the San Francisco Bay was an inland valley. Temperatures were warmer circa 1000-14000, so warm that grapes grew in England and Iceland, and Greenland sustained farming communities. The Medieval warming period has been often ignored in the climate models, adding to the belief that “the scientists” are stacking the deck.

* The Crisis is Always Years Away: The steady warming predicted by the climate models has not happened. Instead, over the last decade, temperatures have remained static, perhaps with a slight tick down. But, we are told, warming will begin again in ten years. As I pointed out in an earlier post, we have been told the end is about ten years away for almost ten years now. Eventually, such assertions come to seem akin to the deadbeat promising, “The check is in the mail.”

* The Weather: Global warming proponents have used every heat wave and serious hurricane as evidence that the catastrophe was almost upon us. Then, when the weather became arctic, they sniffed that the ignorant masses just don’t understand the difference between climate and weather. There is a difference, but people understand weather: It is something they experience, touch, and feel. When the warming trend was clear, people tended to believe. Now that it isn’t, people don’t.

* The Cure is Worse Than the Disease: People see that global warming alarmists want to raise their heating bills, increase the price of gasoline, dismantle entire industries, and give away tens of billions to developing nations, most of which, people suspect, will end up in Swiss bank accounts. Moreover, the stated intent by the bureaucrats and technocrats to use global warming as a pretext to establish global governance–with themselves in charge–along with the statements by some alarmists extolling China’s tyrannical one child policy and their promotion of radical population control, leaves many preferring to face the risks of warming rather than be subjected to the policies supposedly needed to stop it.

* The General Collapse of Authority: “Trust us, we’re the experts,” used to go a long way. No more. With the sciences clearly politicized, with ubiquitous corruption across the breadth and depth of the governing and intellectual classes–both liberal and conservative–people no longer believe what they are told."

I think his list is perceptive, but one of the comments on his blog really seemed to me to cut to the chase. A woman named "SusieQ" said:
"Two things have caused me to doubt the Global Warming theory: the deceit revealed in the emails and the fact that nothing of substance was done in Copenhagen after all. I don’t think our world leaders really believe that much in global warming either. But it is something they wish to keep in their back pocket to use later when they want to control the Earth’s populations for other reasons."
I think she is on to something. When you compare the rapid, decisive way the world leaders reacted to the global banking crisis to the muddled, ham-handed, Copenhagen fiasco, you can't help but think that these people do not believe their own rhetoric on AGW. They believed the world banking system was on the brink and trillions of dollars appeared instantaneously out of thin air and decisive action was taken. But Coppenhagen was just a speaker's corner for anti-Western dictators like Hugo Chavez to rail against capitalism (to applause) and loopy demonstrators to engage in stunts and make themselves obnoxious. How can anyone take it seriously, any more than Kyoto, which has been studiously ignored by the US and China and yet, lo and behold, the world is still here?

It seems clear to me that the whole purpose of AGW is to have a pretext for doing what they actually want to do for unrelated reasons. This is why Tony Blair says that we should "take action" on climate change even if the science is shaky - because the science is not what is driving this agenda in the first place.

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