Everyone Agrees With Us On Climate Change — Especially When We’re Wrong
John Timmer at Ars Technica looks at what a survey of Australians about their beliefs regarding climate change can tell us about our perceptions of popular opinion:
The false consensus effect became obvious when the researchers looked at what these people thought that everyone else believed. Here, the false consensus effect was obvious: every single group believed that their opinion represented the plurality view of the population. This was most dramatic among those who don’t think that the climate is changing; even though they represent far less than 10 percent of the population, they believed that over 40 percent of Australians shared their views. Those who profess ignorance also believed they had lots of company, estimating that their view was shared by a quarter of the populace. [...]
But there was also evidence of pluralistic ignorance. Every single group grossly overestimated the number of people who were unsure about climate change or convinced it wasn’t occurring. Even those who were convinced that humans were changing the climate put 20 percent of Australians into each of these two groups.
In the end, the false consensus effect is swamped by this pluralistic ignorance. Even though everybody tends to think their own position is the plurality, those who accept climate change is real still underestimate how many people share their views. Meanwhile, everyone overestimates the self-labelled “skeptic” population.
Full Story: Ars Technica: Everyone agrees with us on climate change—especially when we’re wrong
Fact checking “Climategate”
*The messages, which span 13 years, show a few scientists in a bad light, being rude or dismissive. An investigation is underway, but there’s still plenty of evidence that the earth is getting warmer and that humans are largely responsible.
*Some critics say the e-mails negate the conclusions of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but the IPCC report relied on data from a large number of sources, of which CRU was only one.
*E-mails being cited as “smoking guns” have been misrepresented. For instance, one e-mail that refers to “hiding the decline” isn’t talking about a decline in actual temperatures as measured at weather stations. These have continued to rise, and 2009 may turn out to be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The “decline” actually refers to a problem with recent data from tree rings.
Howard Bloom: Buckle Up For Catastrophe
When geologists like James Hutton and Charles Lyall first began to read the past of our planet in fossils and in the strata of rock 200 years ago, they noticed something ominous. There were fossilized seashells on mountaintops. Mountaintops had once been at the bottom of seas. What’s more, solid land had once been swamp. And coastal real estate had been the most unstable of all, ending up underwater or high and dry. We humans are coast-hugging creatures. As Plato put it, we are like frogs dotted around a pond. Over 60% of us live near coasts. And coasts are fragile places to be.
The bottom line? Weather change will come. Massive weather change. It will come with or without the mitigation of greenhouse gases. And—like the indigenous people of Indonesia’s Aceh who build their houses on stilts–we have to be prepared to triumph over disaster. We cannot waste trillions on just one form of climate change. We have to be prepared for both fire and ice. Or, to put it differently, we have to realize that Mother Nature is not nice.
Howard Bloom: Buckle Up For Catastrophe
(via Justin Boland)
More Americans believe in angels, UFOs, and ghosts than humans’ role in global warming
More Americans believe in guardian angels than humans’ role in global warming, according to recent polls.
A Pew poll released late last month found that just 36 percent of Americans believe humans are responsible for accelerating global climate change, which scientists say mushroomed after the industrial revolution due to humans’ dependence on carbon-based fuels. [...]
The 36 percent who believe in human-caused climate change is fewer than the number of Americans who apparently believe they’re protected by guardian angels, some 55 percent, according to a poll published in 2008. [...]
That’s not all. A blog at the website of Foreign Policy notes that more Americans believe in UFOs and ghosts than do anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming.
Raw Story: More Americans believe in angels than humans’ role in global warming