Originally posted November 17, 2009.
Rather than galvanizing public demand for difficult and far-reaching action, apocalyptic visions of global warming disaster have led many Americans to question the science. Having been told that climate science demands that we fundamentally change our way of life, many Americans have, not surprisingly, concluded that the problem is not with their lifestyles but with what they’ve been told about the science. And in this they are not entirely wrong, insofar as some prominent climate advocates, in their zeal to promote action, have made representations about the state of climate science that go well beyond any established scientific consensus on the subject, hyping the most dire scenarios and most extreme recent studies, which are often at odds with the consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.And it's interesting what they have to say about the relative lack of effect the recession (and corresponding high rate of unemployment) seems to be having:
But notably, both the Pew and Gallup data show that the trend of rising skepticism about climate science and declining concern about global warming significantly predate the financial crisis. Pew found that from July 2006 to April 2008, prior to the recession, belief that global warming was occurring declined from 79 percent to 71 percent and belief that global warming was a very or somewhat serious problem declined from 79 percent to 73 percent. Gallup found that the percentage of Americans who believed that news of global warming was exaggerated rose from 30 percent in March of 2006 to 35 percent in March of 2008. So while these trends have accelerated over the last 18 months, they were clearly present in prior years.Not enormously surprising, but interesting.