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Climate Change Censorship At Odds With Changing Public Attitudes

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#1 delilalaw23

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Posted 17 April 2015 - 04:58 PM

American attitudes about climate change and its cause are changing, with 63 percent of the population now acknowledging that global warming is real, Yale researchers say.

http://www.sciencere...research-shows/



#2 CraigD

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Posted 17 April 2015 - 09:03 PM

While it's encouraging to see that Americans agreeing with the scientific consensus about global warming, the trend shown by the Nov 2013 Yale study (available here) shows some alarming trends.

The survey shows:
in 11/2013, 63% “believe global warming is happening”, 23% “don’t” and 14% “don’t know”;
in 11/2012, 70% “believe global warming is happening”, 12% “don’t” and 18% “don’t know”;
in 11/2008, 71% “believe global warming is happening”, 10% “don’t” and 20% “don’t know”.

While global warming deniers were a minority in 2013, they were a much smaller minority in 2008.

Other parts of the study (the full report is in the PDF at the page linked to above) suggest explanation for this. Most alarming to me are the survey findings about the number of Americans who believe “most scientists think global warming is happening”:
in 11/2013, 42% agree, 33% disagree;
in 09/2012, 44% agree, 36% disagree;
in 11/2012, 39% agree, 41% disagree;
in 11/2011, 41% agree, 39% disagree;
in 06/2010, 34% agree, 45% disagree;
in 11/2008, 47% agree, 33% disagree.

It appears to me that the strategy of climate change denial promoters to “teach the controversy” has, and at least as of 11/2013, continues to be effective.
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#3 delilalaw23

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 11:05 AM

Yes, the numbers are chilling, but I believe the Yale study I was referring to is a new one issued this past week. So attitudes do seem to changing at least somewhat.



#4 CraigD

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 04:58 PM

Yes, the numbers are chilling, but I believe the Yale study I was referring to is a new one issued this past week. So attitudes do seem to changing at least somewhat.

Delia James’s Science Recorder article is dated 17 Apr 2015, and refers to “A new study by researchers at Yale University”, then later refers states “American attitudes about the cause of climate change and the threat it poses to all of Earth’s inhabitants have been changing, according to Yale researchers. Today, a healthy majority—63 percent—agree that global warming is real. ”

A little searching lead me to think the “new study” to which she refers is the one summarized in Yale’s “Not All Republicans Think Alike About Global Warming”. Unfortunately, this webpage doesn’t have a detailed document about the study nor a published date, but it does list the dates of the surveys on which it’s based, which are from Mar 2012 to Oct 2014. The ever-useful Archive.org WayBackMachine snapshot the Yale webpage at 30 Mar 2015, so it must have been first been posted between Oct 2014 ad Mar 2015 – not unreasonable to call “new” in a 17 Apr article, but more a than a few weeks ago.

The “63% agree that global warming is real” James quotes appears to me to be from the Nov 2013 Yale study.

Unlike the “new” study, the Nov 2013 study didn’t consider self-identified political party affiliation.

The main point of the new Yale study seems to be that there’re considerable differences in opinion about global warming among Americans who self-identify as Republicans. The numbers who answer “yes” to “do you believe global warming is happening?”
66% of all registered US voters
44% of self-identified Republicans
68% of self-identified liberal Republicans
62% of self-identified moderate Republicans (30% of Republicans identify as Liberal or moderate)
38% of self-identified conservative Republicans
29% of self-identified Tea Party Republicans (17% of Republicans identify as Tea Party)

Unfortunately, the page doesn’t show changes in results from Mar 2012 to Oct 2014.

I hope that the percentage of self-identified Republicans who agree with the scientific consensus on global warming – and many other subjects – is increasing – but the data from the Nov 2013 survey doesn’t suggest this is the case.

Edited by CraigD, 20 April 2015 - 01:41 PM.
Fixed copy-paste typo


#5 pgrmdave

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 08:39 AM

29% of self-identified Tea Party Republicans (17% of Republicans identify as Liberal or moderate)


On a sidenote, I find it interesting in American politics (and possibly worldwide, but I don't know enough about the rest of the world's local politics) that a group which is nominally about a narrow topic (reduced taxation) can have similar views on so much more. It's weird that because of politics, my views on science, taxation, gun control, free trade, charter schooling, affirmative action, abortion, environmentalism, and healthcare are all intertwined.

#6 CraigD

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 02:50 PM

... I find it interesting in American politics (and possibly worldwide, but I don't know enough about the rest of the world's local politics) that a group which is nominally about a narrow topic (reduced taxation) can have similar views on so much more.

There’s, arguably and at best vaguely, a collection of scientific and philosophical disciplines addressing political views. I’ve only read it casually, but one of my favorite explanations for this grouping of seeming unrelated beliefs is “parenting model” approach George Lakoff describes in his 1996 book Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think.

I’ve never seen a scientific theory that predicted well how beliefs like “global warming is/is not happening” could be changed, but most of them explain why, for example, people who believe global warming is not real tend to believe that scientists are untrustworthy, that God exists, and that contraception is wrong. Most suggest that these views vary greatly between people of different nations – that “the metaphors we live by”, to borrow a phrase from Lakoff, are very culture-specific.
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#7 delilalaw23

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Posted 21 April 2015 - 01:59 AM

Check out these recent articles from Yale: http://environment.y...-communication/



#8 Buffy

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 10:59 PM

Here's a new Gallup poll of attitudes on simply the *existence* of Climate Change by Party/Lib-Conservative self-assessment:

 

poll_earth_2.png?1429716238

h/t: 40 percent of conservative Republicans think global warming will never happen. And they're in charge, Meteor Blades, DailyKos, 4/22/15

 

This is not "unsure of whether change is caused by man," this is simply "it's not going to happen ever."

 

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so, :phones:

Buffy



#9 delilalaw23

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 05:03 AM

And now the GOP has cut billions of funding for Earth Sciences (climate change science) from NASA and the NSF. This is censorship at a whole new level.



#10 pgrmdave

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 09:09 AM

And now the GOP has cut billions of funding for Earth Sciences (climate change science) from NASA and the NSF. This is censorship at a whole new level.

While I agree that the cutting of funding is bad, do keep in mind that the numbers reported are 10 year figures.  When's the last time the government stuck to a particular budget for more than a year?



#11 CraigD

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 06:30 PM

And now the GOP has cut billions of funding for Earth Sciences (climate change science) from NASA and the NSF. This is censorship at a whole new level.

While I agree that the cutting of funding is bad, do keep in mind that the numbers reported are 10 year figures. When's the last time the government stuck to a particular budget for more than a year?

I’ve spent a bit of time searching for sources (please, everyone, share yours), and the best I could find were from Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog, which regrettably doesn’t cite its sources. According to this BA blog article, the “Earth sciences” budget for NASA is
$1,773,000,000 Current FY 2015
$1,947,000,000 Requested FY 2016
$1,450,000,000 Authorized FY 2016 (with fewest cuts)
$1,200,000,000 Authorized FY 2016 (with most cuts)

More alarming to me than these budgetary data is that, according to the above and this BA blog article, many anti-science congresspeople, who are nearly all Republican party members, have pledged to eliminate US federal funding for all climate research.

It’s hard for me to picture clearly what this threat actually implies. Funding to pay climate scientists and providing them with ground-based equipment appears to me to be small compared to that of other science and incentive programs. For example, according to this NSF webpage, in 2013, the NSF gave $245,000,000 for “Atmospheric and Geophysical” research, about 3.6% of their total $6,884,000,000 budget. According to the Aug 2013 REPORT TO CONGRESS ON FEDERAL CLIMATE CHANGE EXPENDITURES, $2,506,000,000 was given for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, about 12.6% of its total of $19,781,000,000.

Though unfortunate to climate scientists who are funded by the US, the actions of anti-science government officials seems less impactful than the 1993 cancelation of the Superconducting Super Collider on US particle physicists. Elite US physicists just moved, physically or virtually, to Europe. I don’t have any data handy, but suspect that elite and ordinary climate scientists will just similarly leave the US.

Where US cuts to climate science may be very impactful is in climate research spacecraft, the majority of which are funded via and managed by NASA. If these satellites are decommissioned and planned successors’ programs canceled, I doubt that as many will be flown other agencies, which could threaten to starve climate science of high quality observational data.

I think Anti-science politician are saying to climate scientists “we don’t like the scientific conclusion you are drawing from your data, so we are going to try to prevent you from getting data and doing science.”

The way to stop this, is, I think, political: we must, via state regulators and legislatures, eliminate gerrymandering. A judicial fix appears undoable: as the linked Wikipedia article summarize, despite ruling such practices illegal, the US Supreme has ruled partisan gerrymandering illegal, but “nonjusticiable” – that is, that even the highest US court cannot compel those doing such illegal activities to stop and undo them.
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#12 delilalaw23

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 09:05 AM

Thanks for the Slate blog article link. The Republicans' anti-science stance is truly disturbing. But just a note on your comment about the Supreme Court--take a look at this March 2015 decision by the Supremes on Alabama gerrymandering: http://www.supremeco...13-895_o7jq.pdf, which rejected a lower court ruling that gerrymandering had not occurred. But, as usual, it was a 5-4 ruling--so we'll be in a real pickle if that delicate balance is tipped in favor of the conservative cabal.





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