Despite a constant drumbeat of apocalyptic warnings from the press and a "scientific consensus", only one in three Americans believes that the earth's climate is warming, and that the warming is caused by humans. In 2006, AGW believers comprised 50% of Americans, and as recently as April 2008 47% percent were in the AGW camp.
These are the results of a study released on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.
In 2006, 79% believed that the earth's climate was warming. Today that number is 59%. Over the same time period, outright non-belief in global warming has virtually doubled (17% to 32%).
There's a huge difference between "global warming" and "anthropogenic global warming". If one believes in warming, but that it is caused by natural forces, it is difficult to argue for man-made initiatives to counteract it. Wasting resources fighting earth-scale or even cosmic forces may be the ultimate act of hubris and folly.
Pew highlights a strongly partisan divide:
Half (50%) of Democrats say global warming is a very serious problem and 32% say it is somewhat serious. Two-thirds (68%) of Democrats say it requires immediate government action. Just 14% of Republicans say global warming is a very serious problem and 27% view it as a somewhat serious problem; only about a quarter (24%) think it requires immediate action by the government. Three-in-ten (30%) independents say global warming is a serious problem and 32% say it is somewhat serious; 44% say it is a problem that requires immediate government action.
What to do about this serious issue? Based on the poll results, one would think that the sensible action would be "nothing". Writing in the Green Blog at the New York Times, John M. Broder has a better idea:
A Cultural Barrier to Action on Climate Change"
Andrew J. Hoffman, who holds joint appointments at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment, says that there has been too much focus on the scientific and economic aspects of a warming climate and too little on the social and cultural side of the problem. [emphasis added]
"Too much focus"?! The scientific community has put a full-court press on convincing the public about AGW. And they have failed miserably. Having tried and failed to convince a majority of the people with real science, maybe it's time for Plan B:
“It requires a shift in our values to reflect what scientists have been telling us for years,” he added. “The certainty of climate change must shift from that of being a ‘scientific fact’ to that of being a ‘social fact.’ ”...
"Social fact"?! I hear echoes in that phrase, echoes that sound eerily like "Lebensraum", "eugenics" or "the Juche Idea". For once our leaders scientifically determine the Right Way, who are we, the poor unwashed, to argue or dispute their superior knowledge?
But I'm loathe to be the one to run afoul of Godwin's Law by even making a tangential reference to Nazi pseudoscience. That would be crazy talk, just as it would be to invoke ... I don't know, slavery or something.
“Just as few people saw a moral problem with slavery in the 18th century, few people in the 21st century see a moral problem with the burning of fossil fuels,” Professor Hoffman said. “Will people in 100 years look at us with the same incomprehension we feel toward 18th-century defenders of slavery?”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! If that's not an indication that the proponents of AGW are losing it...
Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.