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Americans Believe climate Change is Real, and a Real Problem

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It appears that Red state politicians--Barton, Inhofe, et al--are way out of touch with the thoughts of their constituents on this matter.

The idea of "climate change denial"--or even "climate change skepticism"--in the US, particularly in the "Red States," seems to be way off base, according to a Stanford University study.

The political class, at least in some states, might be derisive--even calling the very idea of climate change a "hoax" in some cases. But the population seems to feel quite differently....A clear majority of conservatives, of Republican voters, even think the government should step in to actively "limit greenhouse gas emissions produced by industry."

Apparently, the contentious debates in which this is seen largely as a "leftwing issue" are flatly, patently mistaken. The very parameters drawn around the discussion have been false.


A vast majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real and at least two-thirds of those want the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, new research revealed on Wednesday.

The research, by Stanford University social psychologist Jon Krosnick, confounds the conventional wisdom of climate denial as a central pillar of Republican politics, and practically an article of faith for Tea Party conservatives.

Instead, the findings suggest far-reaching acceptance that climate change is indeed occurring and is caused by human activities, even in such reliably red states as Texas and Oklahoma.

“To me, the most striking finding that is new today was that we could not find a single state in the country where climate scepticism was in the majority,” Krosnick said in an interview.

States that voted for Barack Obama, as expected, also believe climate change is occurring and support curbs on carbon pollution. Some 88% of Massachusetts residents believe climate change is real.

But Texas and Oklahoma are among the reddest of red states and are represented in Congress by Republicans who regularly dismiss the existence of climate change or its attendant risks.

Congressman Joe Barton of Texas and Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma stand out for their regular denials of climate change as a “hoax”, even among Republican ranks.

However, the research found 87% of Oklahomans and 84% of Texans accepted that climate change was occurring.

Seventy-six percent of Americans in both states also believed the government should step in to limit greenhouse gas emissions produced by industry.

In addition, the research indicated substantial support for Obama's decision to use the Environmental Protection Agency to cut emissions from power plants. The polling found at least 62% of Americans in favour of action cutting greenhouse gas emissions from plants.

Once again, Texas was also solidly lined up with action, with 79% of voters supporting regulation of power plants.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/13/climate-change-red-state-opinion-america-study

Edited by bleeding heart

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`Even skeptic scientists agree the earth is warming. The debate is about the cause of it.

Exactly, and what to do about it.

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`Even skeptic scientists agree the earth is warming. The debate is about the cause of it.

Sure. And according to this study, clear majorities believe that human activity is a chief cause.

I hasten to point out that, in and of itself, majority opinion does not prove a case. (As an atheist, such a belief would put me in an odd position, wouldn't it?)

I'm only suggesting, as I said, that the very parameters of the debate have been somewhat misread. I think part of the sceptics' argument (and no, by no means all of it) is that human-caused climate change is by and large a lefty belief system, and that the "sensible" conservative majority has been more cautious about such views...and that conservative politicians have had their hand on the pulse of this skepticism.

It would appear that this is not the case, at all. Scepticism, right or wrong, is an elite view.

It matters because the parameters have been drawn...and so they have been drawn for a reason. I presume in this case it's a matter of using populism as an "authority." But this study strongly suggests that this has been a false delineation of how people think. And we can't have an honest and reasoned debate as long as people are using false parameters as part of their argument.

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Considering that we are dumping 33 billion tones per year of previously trapped carbon into the atmosphere. Add to that, extensive deforestation plus increasing in emissions from biomass due to warming, there isn't really a lot of debate. Just denial.

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Regarless of whether humans are adding to the warming, or by how much, I have seen no proposal which even comes close to addressing this. Ridiculously expensieve, pie-in-the-sky plans to cut back on emissions aren't going to accomplish anything. What we need are realistic plans for dealing with the results of warming.

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Regarless of whether humans are adding to the warming, or by how much, I have seen no proposal which even comes close to addressing this. Ridiculously expensieve, pie-in-the-sky plans to cut back on emissions aren't going to accomplish anything. What we need are realistic plans for dealing with the results of warming.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to slow the process until we can better determine what those effects are going to be, so we can work on plans to deal with those results.

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That doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to slow the process until we can better determine what those effects are going to be, so we can work on plans to deal with those results.

As I recall, the original treaty hoped to slow the growth of emissions by 5%, at a cost of something like a Trillion dollars. That's a pointless exercise in waste that accomplishes virtually nothing of substance at a very high cost. I wonder what could be done to help flood-prone parts of the third world for a trillion dollars...

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Regarless of whether humans are adding to the warming, or by how much, I have seen no proposal which even comes close to addressing this. Ridiculously expensieve, pie-in-the-sky plans to cut back on emissions aren't going to accomplish anything. What we need are realistic plans for dealing with the results of warming.

What is so ridiculous about cutting emissions?

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Considering that we are dumping 33 billion tones per year of previously trapped carbon into the atmosphere. Add to that, extensive deforestation plus increasing in emissions from biomass due to warming, there isn't really a lot of debate. Just denial.

Sure sounds like a lot but lets keep it in context. In the last 100 years, our atmosphere has gone from about 300 parts per million of CO2 to 400 parts per million. Translation - if you had 1000 ping pong balls, three balls would have been CO2 a century ago. It took a hundred years to get us to four balls.

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Exactly, and what to do about it.

Then why do you continue to deny? I guess it's easier to defend your position when you don't really have one.

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Then why do you continue to deny? I guess it's easier to defend your position when you don't really have one.

I haven't denied warming. But the amount of it due to man is in my opinion impossible to gauge. Add to that the recent plateau and it makes it all the more difficult.

Regardless, technology will ultimately take care of any problem. Or do you think we'll still be using the combustion engine 30 years from now? Of course not. The way we produce and use energy will be drastically different decades from now. Emitting co2 will be a thing of the past.

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Sure sounds like a lot but lets keep it in context. In the last 100 years, our atmosphere has gone from about 300 parts per million of CO2 to 400 parts per million. Translation - if you had 1000 ping pong balls, three balls would have been CO2 a century ago. It took a hundred years to get us to four balls.

Or you could say that there has been a 33% increase in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere over the past century and our annual emissions have increased to 14 times more than they were 100 years ago, so it is not going to take anywhere near 100 more years to reach 500 PPM. Just looking at as a PPM issue is disingenuous. There are things on this planet that will kill you in concentrations of 400 PPM.

As I recall, the original treaty hoped to slow the growth of emissions by 5%, at a cost of something like a Trillion dollars. That's a pointless exercise in waste that accomplishes virtually nothing of substance at a very high cost. I wonder what could be done to help flood-prone parts of the third world for a trillion dollars...

The Kyoto Protocal called for a 5% reduction of 1990 levels by 2012 or a 26% reduction in emissions, not a reduction in growth. Unrealistic maybe but even a quarter of that would make a difference slowing warming.

Considering the number of major population centers located near sea level, a trillion dollars would do very little and is about the same amount the US government borrows every year. The cost of reducing emissions may well be a drop in the bucket compared to what it will cost to deal with their effects.

Edited by Wilber

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I haven't denied warming.

You AGW true-believer/truth-denier types think that one can only care about the environment if you believe in the hoax of global warming.

That was easy.

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That was easy.

Yes, by their hoax I mean that it's all man-made and all that comes with it, including their so-called solutions. Nice try.

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The Kyoto Protocal called for a 5% reduction of 1990 levels by 2012 or a 26% reduction in emissions, not a reduction in growth. Unrealistic maybe but even a quarter of that would make a difference slowing warming.

Actually no. fully implemented Kyoto level reductions in emissions would have an undetectable effect on the future climate (i.e. slow warming a few days at most). yet these reductions cost an incredible amount.

bottom line is your logic sounds superficially correct, however, in practice supporting policies to 'reduce whatever we can' results in massive amounts of money being wasted for no measurable benefit. For this reason the only sane policy response is one that saves the money and uses it to pay to adapt when changes actually occur.

Edited by TimG

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Yes, by their hoax I mean that it's all man-made and all that comes with it, including their so-called solutions. Nice try.

Indeed, nice try. Then why were you, just last week, trumpeting that the Antarctic ice was not receding, if not to deny global warming?

The reality is that when you think global warming is a good wedge issue, you pretend it's all a hoax. When you realize that doing this just hurts the conservative cause electorally (as famously proven by the Wild Rose party in Alberta), you try and back-pedal and say you're not really denying. Then, before long, you can't resist and you start denying again.

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A vast majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real and at least two-thirds of those want the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, new research revealed on Wednesday.

I suspect it as push poll designed to manipulate people into agreeing with questions like: 'the worlds scientists think CO2 is a very serious problem do you believe that government should regulate CO2?'

I suspect if people were given an honest assessment of the state of the science AND the cost of mitigation before being polled they would not support CO2 reduction policies.

Edited by TimG

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I suspect it as push poll designed to manipulate people into agreeing with questions like: 'the worlds scientists think CO2 is a very serious problem do you believe that government should regulate CO2?'

I suspect if people were given an honest assessment of the state of the science AND the cost of mitigation before being polled they would not support CO2 reduction policies.

That is not so clearly the case. Like any multiple question poll (on any subject, without exception) there are no doubt questions to be raised, potential problems that need examining, etc. I include the link below with the polling "fact sheet."

but of course, this is quite beside the point I made....that the debate is being framed, more often than not, as an issue of "liberal vs. conservative." And yet, outside the realm of politicians themselves (in which the distinction is somewhat more stark), there is a broad public consensus. Even if the poll methodology is suspect, a qualified assessment would doubtless show less of a disparity between liberal-minded and conservative-minded as many people might think. And it also raises questions as to why self-described sceptics have so often phrased the (far smaller, it turns out) debate as between the "liberal hoax" and "liberal alarmists" vs the more "skeptical" conservatives among the public.

http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=page/stanford-university-state-level-climate-polling-data

Edited by bleeding heart

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That is not so clearly the case. Like any multiple question poll (on any subject, without exception) there are no doubt questions to be raised, potential problems that need examining, etc. I include the link below with the polling "fact sheet."

I want to see the exact script read to the respondents. That is it only way to tell for sure if a poll was fishing for particular responses. Until I see that script any analysis of the data is irrelevant because I do assume it is was an ideologically motivated push poll until proven otherwise.

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I want to see the exact script read to the respondents. That is it only way to tell for sure if a poll was fishing for particular responses. Until I see that script any analysis of the data is irrelevant because I do assume it is was an ideologically motivated push poll until proven otherwise.

Could be. Or it could be that a majority of Americans do not necessarily buy the self-described sceptic view.

Either way, it doesn't change the objective facts of the case. But it does mean that maybe the sceptics can drop their "the Left!" mantra, as cherished a boogeyman as that is.

Edited by bleeding heart

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I suspect if people were given an honest assessment of the state of the science

how could you not be aware... an honest assessment of the state of the science is presented quite often through a combination of national and international science bodies and national and international climate change assessment bodies.

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how could you not be aware... an honest assessment of the state of the science is presented quite often through a combination of national and international science bodies and national and international climate change assessment bodies.

There are more sober sources than these. My personal favourite is Camille Paglia, taking a break from blaming rape victims and fetishizing Madonna:

This whole thing about global warming – I am absolutely incredulous at the gullibility of people. What is this hysteria over drowning polar bears? And finally I realized, people don’t know polar bears can swim! For me, the answer is always more facts, more basic information, presented without sentimentality and without drama. To inflict this kind of anxiety on young people is an outrage.

Well, damn, she's right! I totally forgot that polar bears can swim! Scientists should be ashamed at this egregious oversight.

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It appears that Red state politicians--Barton, Inhofe, et al--are way out of touch with the thoughts of their constituents on this matter.

recent days coverage of your referenced poll/study has it being correlated with the in-progress testimony being delivered before the U.S. Congressional House Committee on Science, Space and Technology... the committee that has 17 out of the committee's 22 Republican members as avowed climate change deniers!

today, during testimony from the Environmental Protection Agency chief, Gina McCarthy, a Republican committee member interrupted her testimony to inquire if she had enrolled in Obamacare! :lol: What's that about the U.S. House of Representatives recently receiving it's all time lowest rating from Americans...

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