he New York Times, Stanford University, and Resources for the Future recently collaborated on a public opinion poll on global warming. The Times then ran a long article stating that “ an overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming.” Surprise, Surprise!
For over 20 years, the public has been continuously told that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels were causing global warming. Anyone who raises questions about that claim is marginalized by being called a denier, flat earther, or some other denigrating term. The kindest term used is skeptic. Biased reporting and reliance on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Summary for Policy Makers that is written by government representatives has created a cognitive bias on the part of the public.
The poll itself biased the answers by asking leading questions such as “if nothing is done to reduce global warming in the future.” Questions that begin this way set the predicate that something can be done by the government to reduce global warming as if the global temperature is abnormal. It is not when compared with historic temperatures, including US temperatures in the 1920s.
One question asked how much global warming has helped respondents personally and 78% said not at all. That response is inconsistent with demographic patterns that show migration from northern latitude states that are colder to southern latitude states that are warmer. It is also inconsistent with the large number of people who go to Florida in the winter to escape the cold. Warmer is simply preferable to colder.
The most telling set of questions deal with what the government should do. While 78% favor government action, 61%-74% oppose actions that would impose a cost on them personally. This poll is consistent with many environmental related polls where respondents want action but just not action that cost them money.
If potential respondents were told at the outset that global warming/ climate change forecasts were based on models that poorly predict global temperatures, that incorporate a large number of assumptions instead of facts, and that cannot replicate past temperatures with resort to “fudge factors” and adjustments, the results would almost certainly be different.
The debate about global warming and climate change has not been an honest one. The climate establishment and those in the media who buy into its agenda have a long history of forecasting doom—The Club of Rome—and favoring more government control over the economy and how people live their lives. They much prefer the form of government prevalent in Europe where power is vested in an entitled class and people trust those elites to act on their behalf. The economic record of those countries, especially since they have been pursuing their green, sustainability agendas, the large percentage of citizens who are unemployed, and the high taxes needed to support their welfare systems are not what most Americans are seeking.
The fact is that the climate system is too complex to be captured accurately by climate models and in spite of billions of dollars that have been spent on research is still poorly understood. Government action to deal with real climate related problems would make much more sense than continuing to promote King Canute like actions to command the seas. What are some of those actions? Since sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age and will continue to rise until the next one, zoning ordinances and adaptive actions like the Dutch take for one. Another would be crop seed research to develop crops that can handle whatever climate exists at some future time, be it drier, wetter, hotter or colder is another. The history of mankind is one of adaptation. It has served us well and will serve us better in the future than wasteful actions to attempt mitigation which will continue to fail and produce damaging unintended consequences.
This article appeared on the FuelFix weblog at http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/02/02/a-meaningless-poll-on-global-warming/