Slanted survey: More Americans worry about climate warming - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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Slanted survey: More Americans worry about climate warming

(3-minute read) YALE U. GROUP STUDIES HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND

Six in 10 Americans are either “alarmed” or “concerned” about a warming global climate, and the number of people who are in the alarmed category has doubled since 2013, according to a new survey published by two academic organizations devoted to learning how to convince people to be alarmed enough to support government action.

[Read the entire summary and related documents here]

The yearly study breaks respondents into “Six Americas” based on their climate change beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. The “alarmed” are the most worried about global warming and most supportive of aggressive action to reduce carbon pollution. In contrast, the “dismissive” do not believe global warming is happening or human-caused and strongly oppose climate action.

[To get an idea of how the survey was conducted, a shortened “Six Americas” quiz can be taken here.]

The research was funded by the climate change advocacy groups 11th Hour Project, the Endeavor Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Grantham Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation.

The researchers are cheered that, according to the responses received, 29 percent of Americans are now alarmed at global warming, an all-time high since the annual survey started five years ago.

The Americans who are dismissive of climate change or doubtful decreased by 12 points. These are the people who either do not believe it is happened or are doubtful it is human-caused. They are the ones strongly opposed to climate action, such as the Paris Agreement.

The survey was conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which supports the theory of human-caused global warming. The program boasts that its work helped convince the Obama White House to make climate change an administration priority.

In 2013, the alarmed and dismissive were an equal size at 14 percent of U.S. adults, a total of 28 percent. By December, 2018, however, the alarmed now outnumber the dismissive more than 3 to 1 (29 percent vs. 9 percent), representing a major shift in these two parts of the general population who are most engaged in the issue of climate change.

But there’s a catch: The survey was web-based and self-administered by respondents.

Yet for political figures, it’s instructive to know that attitudes on climate change may be changing and the public may be more amenable to government action to reduce carbon emissions and to curtail other pollutants.

For policymakers and political observers, it’s instructive to know that there is a concerted and well-funded effort underway to learn how to persuade Americans to move into the “alarmed” category.

For those with investments in energy such as coal, oil, and gas, or even wind and solar, information about public attitudes is worth monitoring, as government policy often follows attitudinal changes.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • “Hide The Decline”- Michael “Nature Trick” Mann before his department at Penn State got a 6 million dollar grant. I wonder what surveys pay?

  • There are approaches to addressing the climate crisis that are not offensive to conservatives. However, if conservatives continue to keep their heads in the sand regarding global warming, you will lose your seat at the table. The physics and chemistry of anthropogenic climate change are irrefutable; how we address the problem is another story. Step one, end fossil fuel subsidies. As far as I understand, conservatives despise welfare and picking winners. Alaska is currently losing over $1.5 billion a year in tax credits to the richest companies the world has ever known. Step two, address the negative externalities, (like Milton Friedman suggested long ago) of burning fossil fuels by placing a price on carbon that is equally redistributed to all residents (doesn’t grow government). This puts a price on the harm that is caused and is otherwise not being factored into the equation. This also spurs innovation, which we humans are really good at. Alaska could be powered by 100% renewable energy, which would make us safer, more resilient, and would grow the economy like gangbusters. I grew up in the bush and have spent my life traveling throughout Alaska. What the scientists say barely matters. Just go take a look for yourselves. Climate change is as real as our summer days are long.

    • Another brain-washed moron who can’t prove a scintilla of his claims about man-made global warming. Why move to Alaska to listen to your BS? I’M down here in Phoenix enjoying the six inches of fresh snow. Going skiing tomorrow in Las Vegas.

  • Rubbish. AGW….global warming fraud
    Been brain washing ..for over 20 yr.
    Much is anecdotsl hog wash..& added to 16 models & topped with falsified data / phony weather sta tion in China.
    Corruption in science is sellout to money grants,& the political push for
    Controls on people…by entitled elites.
    You free people..really don’t know what to do with freedom..so elites like
    AOCortez…to tell.

  • I don’t give a [deleted] what you think. I only care about what you can prove. The 2018 IPCC Report is irrefutable. And NASA scientists got it right: The Arctic is warming. Climate Change is a serious threat. Two hundred species go extinct every 24 hours. Bumblebees (you know, the ones that pollinate our food) are now on the Endangered Species List. Funny how climate change was a bipartisan issue prior to Citizens United.

  • Regardless of your views, the world is moving away from fossil energy. Alaska has enough cheap solar, wind, tidal, and pumped hydro energy storage to be 1000% fossil-fuel-free. We’d be wise to shift our individual and state investments in the New Energy Future.

  • A second poll of 1,200 people conducted in mid-Nov by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and the Chicago-based Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found a similar trend; 44% of Americans support a carbon tax, rising to a remarkable 67% if the proceeds were used to restore forests, wetlands, and other environmental assets. This kind of tax or fee and rebate have been proposed for more than a decade by a broad spectrum of people including President Reagan’s secretary of state, George P. Shultz, and secretary of the treasury, James A. Baker III.

  • As Suzanne notes, the Yale Program on Climate change it totally committed to manipulating the presentation of information on climate change to lead the public and policymakers to accept the dogma that burning fossil fuels must end. There is absolutely nothing that is balanced or fair about their presentation. The Program literally studies how to make the dogma more acceptable to the public. The Program would make Dr. Goebbels blush; it is pure propaganda.

  • Science fraud in the factum, by corrupt Democrats who’s contrived data and outrageous conclusions are designed to generate federal and state grant money to perpetuate the BIG HOAX. Fiat Science!

  • I’m a young 41-year-old, not quite as old as the first reasonably accurate predictions of climate warming. By the time I was 5, James Hansen, almost the only person in the “alarmed” category back then, had predicted today’s temperatures with accuracy better than annual variability.

    To me it seems pretty reasonable that academics confronted with decades of “meh” in response to strong evidence for a rising crisis would be doing research to figure out how to get people to actually see that crisis. And inevitably, if you understand the crisis, you move into that alarmed category. I get how you see manipulation to cause people alarm, but I don’t see how you can distinguish that from genuine efforts to inform the public, and an informed public becoming more alarmed.

  • You say a “crisis.” Ok, Trump should call another emergency? What’s your point, while the East Coast and Great Lakes are getting pounded by cold weather? You say “evidence.” Anthtropogenic? Show the evidence. Seriously, you can’t prove. If the science shows a slight increase in the global average temperature, so what? Mother Nature and astrophysics may be the cause. Things happen to a 4.5 billion year old planet. Please don’t foist your kool-aide party on everyone else. THAT is immoral!

    • Well TC, I’ll address just a little of this – to go deeper you can read summary documents like the recent IPCC report, or go all the way to the original scientific literature.

      Cold weather does not disprove climate change. If you look at the globe as a whole, it’s much warmer than usual, even though there are some areas of extreme cold. In fact, there is good reason to think that cold systems like we’ve seen in the midwest and east are more likely as the climate warms.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “prove” – it’s impossible to prove most real things in the mathematical sense. However, the evidence is very strong. Scientists in the late 1800s had already noted the infrared blocking properties of CO2, and noted that fossil fuel burning since the industrial revolution might spur warming of the planet. These early predictions were followed up by over a century of monitoring and research. The increase in CO2 resulting from burning fossil fuels has been systematically measured since the 50s. We’ve measured increases in the mean temperature of the atmosphere and oceans that isn’t explained by other patterns (e.g. solar changes and periodic volcanic eruptions.) We even see less infrared escaping earth into space. The predicted effects of this warming have been occurring – my own research looks at changes along coastlines and in glaciated landscapes, and those changes are dramatic.

      It’s true that climate change is a big part of our planet’s past as well. The most extreme geologic cases – “snowball earth” periods and then dramatic warming in their wake, are unimaginably apocalyptic. Past climate change has driven mass extinctions – another normal part of earth’s history. Typically species diversity recovers within 10 million years, which is really not that long on the scale of geologic time. The problem here is not with the danger to the earth – it’s the danger to us humans who have developed our infrastructure and civilization during a few thousand years of climate stability. All we know and love is at risk – whether it be existing institutions, borders, natural landscapes, economies… I think it’s great if you see yourself as a citizen of the universe, able to enjoy the turning of the galaxies and the overturning of life on earth, and from that perspective I don’t think there’s any concern here. I guess I’m a bit more prosaic myself… “alarmed” about the life my children might face.

    • I’m going to read this with the mind of a skeptic and think about it, Rex. But I’m very cautious because you Democrats politicize everything. And most of the time its done very unfairly or flat-out untruthfully.

  • Climate Change believers are caught up in a cult. Think about the millions of dollars spent attempting to prove it. Its a huge business and consumes countless hours teaching this garbage to our youth.

    Our climate is cyclical. Go cut a tree and look for yourself. Wait that won’t work its too simple it just takes a chain saw LOL.

    • Climate has changed a lot in the past, but no trees alive today are old enough to record anything other than minor changes. I’d love to see your tree-ring documentation though, that sounds pretty interesting. Are you seeing cyclic changes in tree-ring width where you live? I haven’t seen that in trees I’ve cut in Seldovia where I live.

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