Opinions on global warming – 2011

Yet another one filed under “Things I somehow missed,” comes this November Pew study on Global Warming opinions:

What’s striking to me is the 14 percent drop between 2008 and 2009 in those agreeing that there is solid evidence of the Earth warming (shouldn’t Earth be capitalized?). Why? Could it be the rise in political attention to Obama’s election and the administration’s early carbon tax proposal? Was it colder in 2009 than 2008?

Oh yeah, this (via Wikipedia):

The Climatic Research Unit email controversy (also known as “Climategate”)[2][3] began in November 2009 with the hacking of a server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA).[4]

[…]The mainstream media picked up the story as negotiations over climate change mitigation began in Copenhagen on 7 December, withFox News and some other media outlets giving the controversy increased coverage.[11] Because of the timing, scientists, policy makers, and public relations experts said that the release of emails was a smear campaign intended to undermine the climate conference.[12] In response to the controversy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society(AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released statements supporting the scientific consensus that the Earth’s mean surface temperature had been rising for decades, with the AAAS concluding “based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway…it is a growing threat to society.”[13]

Six committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.[14] The Muir Russell report stated, however, “We do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA.”[15][16] The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged at the end of the investigations.[17]

Which dovetails nicely with this Google Trends search for “global warming hoax”:

Which, incidentally, would be around the same time Pew would be polling on this question.

Here’s how the Google Trends picture looks this year:

The other notable here is the partisan divide:

The biggest gain in year to year changes are the number of Moderate/Liberal Republicans (really, Pew, are there any “Liberal” Republicans?) who say there is solid evidence of the Earth warming. Regardless of the change, would an impartial bystander consuming media from popular conservative outlets believe that 44 percent of Republicans effectively believe in the existence of global warming? I don’t particularly think so…


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