New Pew Center Poll Confirms The Effects of Climate Confusion Campaign

Thu, 2009-10-22 15:56Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

New Pew Center Poll Confirms The Effects of Climate Confusion Campaign

Despite taking their licks in the press lately, the Chamber of Commerce and the coal industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) have something to celebrate today.

A new poll released by the Pew Research Center has found the number of Americans who believe that pollution is causing climate change declined 20 percent over the past two years. Only 57% of Americans believe there is solid scientific evidence that the global climate is warming.

Some pin this decline on the economy, arguing that Americans have other things to worry about and climate change has drifted off their radar screen.

But, as I explained to the Guardian newspaper today, “a big part of this problem is this campaign to mislead Americans about climate science. This is a very sophisticated group of people who know how to create doubt and confusion and they have done a very good job of it.”
This downturn in public understanding of the climate crisis confirms that the corporate investment in climate confusion is paying a dividend. The public confusion campaigns launched by ACCCE, the Chamber, National Association of Manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute and a host of others, are all deliberately targeted at moving the dial on public opinion.

These Astroturf groups have set a clear and specific goal of muddying the waters, and this poll shows that their strategy is working. Front groups and lobbyists for dirty industry have effectively sown the seeds of confusion within the American public.

Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence, the pleadings of nation’s like the Maldives and villages in the Arctic which are literally being wiped off the map by rising sea levels, and siren calls from the international community for action to address climate change, Americans are still questioning whether it is real or not.

Shocking, isn’t it?  Not if you know what the industry lobbyists and front groups have been up to for the past 20 years.

The only consolation in this news is that half of Americans polled remain in favour of putting limits on CO2 emissions and making companies pay for their emissions, which are the basic tenets of the cap and trade bill now before the Senate.  Additionally, a majority of Americans, 56%, want the U.S. to join the international community in a global agreement on climate change.

That offers a glimmer of hope in otherwise disappointing results. Now it is up to President Obama to represent that majority viewpoint in Copenhagen.

Comments

I want to believe Hell exists, and places are reserved for the sociopaths who get “fame” and fortune for spinning lies to the American public.

Al Gore would have to be at the top of your list! Not only is he promoting science that has been proven wrong (in court) he runs a company that profits from what he says (Generation Investment Management, with David Blood ex Goldman Sachs).

When he went to talk to Congress he didn’t discuss Climate Change - he talked carbon trading (which is what GIM facilitates).

You know when people like Jock Strapley throw out the old Al Gore references, things are making too much sense. Wow, he is a capitalist billionaire! I thought the denialists were all about unfettered capitalism.

What?? You’re showing me data before 1998….accckkk!…..Al Gore flies in planes, what an elitist! Ever hear of offsets? Gee I wonder why he would talk about cap and trade before Congress?

These denialists are like the Stepford Wives, submissive and docile before their corporate masters. Problem is, many of the masters see the writing on the wall.

Mentioning Al Gore when trying to discuss science (not politics – science!) is the Godwin’s Law of science discussions. It means they’ve run out of science to talk about and raise their favorite bogeyman.

Al is fair territory. True, pointing at Al is not science, but it’s a legitimate part of the discussion because of who he is: the primary advertiser of global warming. When you get on that stage, you make yourself part of the issue.

Because the messenger is the message at some level. If you stand up and front for a cause, you invite the spotlight on you.

Yes, Al is the favorite bogeyman of opponents of his message. If he’s not the right messenger, he needs to step out of the spotlight. He makes the whole thing much more interesting for the opposing side.

The messenger will be attacked whoever she or he is. The denialists smear Gore, but they also smear people like Suzuki, Hansen, Weaver, etc. This says more about the people doing the smearing than about the ones who are being smeared.

I really think the PR effect on public opinion in this area is minimal. The public at large has never much been tuned into this issue. They sit up and take notice when we have a massive hurricane wrecking a city or when we have unusual summer heat waves. That’s about it. Katrina is fading from the public consciousness in general and the last 2 summers were uneventful. These numbers simply reflect a public that is uninvolved.

Here’s another example of that phenomenon: Earthquake awareness in the pacific north west. There is a vanishingly small amount of preparation for that by people in general and yet it’s a real threat in this area. If it happens people will be totally unprepared and it’s not because there are pr programs against earthquake preparation. It’s just what always happens. People are doing other stuff.

This blog’s author contends that the Pew Center poll “confirms” a climate confusion campaign. Stranger things have happened, but I suspect Pew didn’t intend its poll to “confirm” that.

A Rasmussen Poll from some six months ago ranked AGW twentieth out of twenty respondent concerns; below lobbyists! Employing the above approach, AGW concern is not low, it’s just afraid of heights.

No it’s not shocking actually. You can only raise the alarm so many times with no actual evidence to support it (like the Maldives sinking under the waves) before the public tune you out.

I couldn’t agree more!

James Hrynyshyn attributes the trend to myopia:

Explaining plummeting belief in anthropogenic climate change http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2009/10/explaining_plummeting_belief_i.php

The pollution resulting from post war industrial expansion spawned two environmentalist movements. One group primarily composed of scientists and engineers who set about to directly address these problems by developing technologies and advocating legislative controls that
have, to date, virtually eliminated industrial contamination of soil, water and air.

A second group was primarily composed of liberal activists with little or no science background who did nothing but protest against the very industries that provided them with a standard of living sufficient to allow them the time to protest.

While the scientists and engineers worked quietly with industry
solving the environmental problems, the ideology driven environmentalist
activists, used dramatic alarmist rhetoric and outright lies to gain media control and have, disastrously, become a dominant political force capable of forcing their self-serving ideologies on the general public with near impunity.

Let’s look at the history of this continuing disaster.
The Earth entered a cooling phase in 1942, and by 1970 the environmentalists found a way to blame this cooling on industrial expansion. The concept was that particulate matter from fossil fuel usage was blocking energy from the sun giving this cooling effect. This concept was then incorporated as a parameter in the crude climate models of the time, and the predictions from models run by James Hansen in 1971 projected fifty years of further cooling from the increased use of fossil fuels.

Only four years later, and in spite of the continued increase in fossil fuel usage, global cooling came to an end, hence proving that the models did not have a proper scientific basis for relating fossil fuel usage to global cooling.

However by 1988, just 13 years of global warming gave the ideological environmentalists a new tact for blaming fossil fuels. The British Government had embarked on a political campaign to promote their nuclear industry and attack the powerful coal unions by creating alarmist scenarios of “runaway global warming” resulting from CO2 produced by coal and other fossil fuels. This was entirely political in nature with absolutely no scientific backing, but it dd make the perfect weapon for the environmentalists to promote their anti-
energy (and anti-Humanity) ideology. All that was needed was some pseudo-scientific justification.

This was achieved again by uber-activist James Hansen who, instead of blaming fossil fuels for blocking incoming solar radiation, now downgraded this parameter and replaced it with a newly contrived parameter that now related global warming to the effect of fossil fuel sourced CO2 on the outgoing thermal radiation from the Earth! This model projected warming for the next century because of the fossil fuel CO2 emissions that were increasing at a continued accelerated rate.

Needless to say, as with the earlier model, the 1988 model was soon proven to be false when global warming ended after 1998 even as CO2 emissions continued to rise. To make matters worse for Hansen, since 2002, the Earth has been actually cooling making all of the projections nonsensical. By even the most basic standards of science, models that first predict cooling and are discredited just four years later and then predict warming and are again discredited ten years later, would (and should) be declared absolutely invalid. Unfortunately when ideology is involved, scientifific protocol is totally abandoned.

As a result of the alarmist predictions of the 1988 climate models of Hansen, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed under the auspices of the United Nations. This body was given a “science” mandate to investigate the possibility of human effects on climate to determine if the projections of Hansen were valid.

However the true nature of the IPCC was not that of a science based body, but that of a political body designed purely and simply to give scientific “legitimacy” to false alarmist predictions in order to meet a political self-serving anti-western, environmentalist agenda. Since its inception, the IPCC has used its position of authority to promote its agenda to the detriment of science and even more importantly to the detriment of the global population.

From 1997 to 1998 the average global temperature increased by over half a degree C and from 1998 to 1999 the average global temperature fell by over half a degree C. This was due to an extraordinary el Niño and has nothing to do with either the greenhouse effect or CO2 emissions (CO2 emissions increased from 24.0gt/y in 1997 to 24.2gt/y in 1998 to 24.4gt/y in 1999). Any honest scientific body would have made some sort of statement to this effect, but the IPCC in their 2001 Third Assessment Report and particularly in their Summary for Policy Makers not only made no mention of the fact that from 1998 to 1999 the Earth cooled more than it had ever cooled during the entire global temperature record, but emphatically stated that from 1997 to 1998 the Earth had warmed more than it ever had. A massive lie by omission.

The 2001 IPCC report also included the infamous Mann et al “Hockey Stick” temperature proxy which, amongst other outrageous falsehoods, used physical temperature measurement data up to and including 1998 to gave the alarmist impression of twice the actual 20th century warming simply because 1999 was not included. Needless to say The Hockey Stick graph became the pivotal evidence that convinced governments around the world to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, that has resulted in such detrimental effects to the global population and global economy.

In this regard the el Niño temperature spike of 1998 may be considered the most significant climate event in recent history, and when one considers the hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people starving because of the insane and inhumane Kyoto biofuel initiatives that has literally taken food from their mouths and made it into
“Kyoto friendly” fuel, this el Niño might also be considered the most tragic climate event as well.

Environmentalists are the true criminals in this giant fraud. It is they who should be tried for crimes against Humanity.

did you cut ‘n paste that from?

Here, an article by Norm Kalmanovitch of Calgary, Oct 22/09. The website appears to be a denialist one. http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4222

Kalmanovitch shows up in various issues of APEGGA (The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta) with a P.Geoph; there seems to be much debate there about climate change. Here is the most recent one with his name, June 2009, mentioned in the first letter, and a letter from him a little further down:

http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/Web06-09/Readers-Forum.html

He was on the Friends of Science Board of Directors in May 2007:
http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Friends_of_Science

and described himself in this 2005 letter:

“…I am a practicing geophysicist with over 35 years of experience operating at a very basic scientific and academic level. From this simplistic and pragmatic perspective I see two basic easily provable overlooked flaws with the Kyoto Accord which you might find interesting…”

http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-06-09/kyoto.htm

Edited to add: looking at that letter, I wonder if he originated the CO2 saturation theory of denialism; but maybe someone who knows the science better could comment.

Phlodge must be off his game.

If “Norm” had any imagination he could maybe attempt a career writing alternative history fiction. Unfortunately the article he wrote is merely revisionist history and there is nothing new in it. The bit about Maggie’s government is especially precious, obviously the author knew nothing about British politics. It is particularly ironic that AGW scepticism which is frequently owned by the Right, should seek to attack the most right-wing British government since the Second World War, a government that actively sought to promote private ownership of business and the development of free markets.

The only one of VJ’s links I checked was the last one. I take back my earlier comment. Norm couldn’t be a professional author, he doesn’t have the writing skills for it. The one piece I read shows all of the consistency and logic of a comment from EdB. For example he neglects to note that Mars is further from the Sun than the Earth is, also by dividing temp by ppm he makes the case for a linear relationship.

If you then untangle what he wrote from what he meant, a change of 280ppm (pre-industrial) to 350 ppm (time of writing, I guess) was 0.7C, but then he goes on to say a doubling of CO2 (280x2 = 560) would be 0.7C, and that includes him mixing his linear relationships up. Is EdB moonlighting?

I’m wondering if Phlogiston is Norm; also if Zog was Norm. Kalmnanovitch does seem to have posted a number of denialist arguments at various websites.

Cleaner air in western cities is rather impressive. Now lets see them figure out what to do with the tar sands and lets see them scrub the air in China. Scientists, what have you done for me lately?

I do agree that environmentalists have an image problem because of the history of the useless hippie type protests and all the modern politicization of everything green.

“Crimes against humanity” seems like an unhelpful phrase to me. Environmentalists may be misled at times but they aren’t exactly Stalin and Hitler.

If the IPCC and environmentalists behind it are so wrong, then why aren’t the science journals filled with articles in support of what you assert here? Or are the scientists all in on this “giant fraud” as well?

listen dennis, take the medieval warm period. There were many graphs of the medieval warm period, all showing the temperature to be warmer than it is now. All of a sudden, along comes the IPCC and they make their own MWP graph and claim that all previous graphs were wrong. Dennis did you know that the journal Science has a policy of rejecting skeptical views without reading them?

They didn’t have thermometers back then. How would you measure the temperatures?

anything in the peer-reviewed literature that confirms BOTH that the MWP was a global phenomenon, and that is was warmer than it is at present. And please, no garbage about Vikings and grapes growing in Scotland.

Brian Fagan, in The Great Warming, has suggested that if you look at the global picture, it could be called the Medieval Drought Period instead.

This is what shooshmon means

http://www.realclimate.org/images/ipcc_1990_panel3.jpg

This curve was based on Lamb’s estimated climate history for central England.

The past millennium as shown in the first IPCC report of 1990, before quantitative large-scale reconstructions were available.

Note no vertical scale graduations - Why? Because it was effectively a sketch!

Science works by replacing earlier uncertain information by studies with improved accuracy.

What’s dishonest about that? Nothing!

But shooshmon deceitfully uses this to imply some kind of conspiracy / cover-up!

It’s the denialist tactic of throw enough mud and some will stick. In this case the IPCC is the target.

So you believe the IPCC and peer-reviewed science journals are all a conspiracy? Yes or No?

Either you are Norm Kalmanovitch, in which case you should identify yourself as such and own your associations and biases, or you’re a plagiarist that we should throw off the blog for violating one of the most fundamental rules of publishing. For the time being, I’m leaving your post here, because it so effectively identifies or condemns you. But consider yourself on notice. Next stunt and you’re going to have to be inventing a new persona, ‘cause this one will lose its privileges, permanently.
unless he has gone to extraordinary lengths to cover his tracks. Hi Richard. I did a bit of checking, & I’m afraid it looks as though Phlogiston is just your regular, garden-variety plagiarist. I hope that helps.

If those poll numbers have anything to do with oil company propaganda, expect those numbers to continue to decline. Big Energy’s push back against emission limits and against climate action is just starting to roll.

look at this quote for example:

“If you look at the Copenhagen targets they are basically completely illusory,” he said. “There’s no way to hit those targets and it would be very silly to think that we can.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/6425372/Climate-targets-cant-be-achieved-say-energy-companies.html

I note that;
a) some of you visit “Denialist” site- good you might learn some real science
b) if I see a good article why not reproduce it? And I note with some modifications of my own.
c) no one has actually denied the facts of the piece
d) for all those who read “Denialist” sites, why not look at the “Watts up with That” entry on “Vikings in Greenland”? What it shows is temperatures during the Medieval warm Period were cleraly in excess to today’s.

Sort of breaks the “Hockey Stick” and no it wasn’r the Vikings in their S.U.Vs making things warm and toasty.

If you reproduce someone’s article without citing the source and without permission, you are committing plagiarism. It’s dishonest. You do know what “dishonest” means don’t you? It means you flunk.

Exactly what modifications did you introduce? Modifying someone else’s article without explaining that you are doing so is also dishonest.

Ian Plimer knows all about Plagiarism

Apparently he’s getting good at it! http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/10/plimer_the_plagiarist.php

a) It is sometimes amusing to go and watch the crazies.
b) I must get around to posting the IPCC’s FAR http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg1.htm
c) What facts?
d) Read it, it clearly showed nothing. This is much better. http://denialdepot.blogspot.com/2009/08/all-you-need-to-know-about-recent.html

just looked over denialdepot for the first time and I now realize the internet has too many smart alecs. We need some government control on this sort of thing.

Well, for one thing the DSB comments policy clearly states that you should post a link, not paste the whole article. For another, you should have acknowledged your source, giving credit to the actual author rather than leaving it to us here on this thread to believe that it was your own work (kudos to VJ for tracking down the source). Finally, you should have clearly indicated where you had modified the text, so that the original author would not be professionally tarred & feathered for your misrepresentation.

If you had done this with any of my writing (and I have had numerous reports posted on the net), I would have come after you full bore for plagiarism and defamation. You are clearly unfamiliar with scholarly standards respecting citing sources and the legal implications.

Fern Mackenzie

“professionally tarred & feathered”

Tarring and Feathering is too important to be left to amateurs!

okay that’s a misrepresentation of what was written by someone who shall remain nameless. *
___________

* comment supports her point, but I still predict a negative rating here.

[x]
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