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noggin

A growing groundswell of opinion?

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My detectors indicate that there is a growing groundswell of doubt amongst the population of the UK with regard to GW/AGW.

I have based this on comments by ordinary people heard on the radio and read in newspapers. These are after all two main channels of communication. "On the ground" type of stuff.

But now a Y..G.. survey indicates that fewer people believe in GW/AGW than did this time last year. Not a massive drop, but a significant drop.

I think that this "disbelief" is going to become more widespread.

I am not saying this just because we didn't have a blazingly hot Summer. I have felt for some time that the "warming" part of the current natural cycle had peaked a few years ago.

In any case, it doesn't really matter what reasons this growing number of people have for their disbelief......what does matter, in this context, is that the number of "disbelievers" is growing and is perhaps becoming more vocal.

DISCAIMER....I am not saying that we don't need to respect our Earth and it's resources.

:D

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But, is that slight change of opinion more down to the fact that people confuse weather and climate? Does your average person on the street have enough knowledge to understand that a cool summer and fairly cool start to autumn (when compared with recent years) doesn't mean much in the great scheme of things?

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I also wonder (assuming what you say is true) how much people would prefer to believe GW was being exaggerated because it would just be a lot more convenient if it all just went away.

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both Paul and OON have picked up the points that are valid.

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The traditionally accepted view seems to be:

"You need to present climate change to the public as if it's certain, so that there's definitely a reason to do something about it. You need to exaggerate a bit so as to frighten people into taking action, because at the end of the day, if they take action, that's a good thing."

I'm certainly no stranger to opposing traditionally held views, and I think this particular approach fuels scepticism because it adds fuel to the argument that AGW is being exaggerated.

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My detectors indicate that there is a growing groundswell of doubt amongst the population of the UK with regard to GW/AGW.

...

I think that this "disbelief" is going to become more widespread.

...

DISCAIMER....I am not saying that we don't need to respect our Earth and it's resources.

:lol:

I can't help suspecting a wee bit of (perhaps hopeful) projection on your part there Noggin; that said, you only have to look at the newspapers on the rare occasions we have worthwhile snow to see how ill-equipped to judge most of the population actually is. If journalists - who, let's be honest, may not represent the higher reaches of critical faculty but all the same are well above half way up the building - can profer a consequential line something like 'all this snow blows a hole in GW doesn't it?', then should we be surprised that the population flaps in the breeze with the weather and also the sense of short-term pain vs long-term gain.

There is nothing new in this. When ecology first became popular in the late 60s, there was a blossoming of support for environmentalism, until the Yom-Kippur war sent oil proces sky high and the world into recession and people could no longer afford to 'think friendly'. People tend to vote with wallets (you see this argument posted many a time on here), and if people don't believe, better still to understand why, rather than jump to too hasty assumptions re causation.

I have said many times on here that it would probably take a number of catastrophic events, each undeniably linked to GW, before the world plc takes collective action at all levels. Alas, climate change is like the metaphorical boiling of a frog: the change is so slow that it is possible to be overtaken by events before we realise it.

A more interesting plot would be to measure opinion factored against recent weather and economic backdrop: much of the behaviour of the line would be related to exogenous factors, and probably very little indeed to do with whether or not the climate actually is changing.

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In my work I come across new faces most days. Being the type of chap that I am I usually steer the chat towards the weather if a conversation ensues,(how sad is that!) Regardless of whether they are right or wrong,I can honestly,truly say I have yet to meet someone who hasn't said words to the effect that global warming/climate change is complete nonsense. These people are neither lame-brains nor climate experts,just representative of your average man in the street,so presumably their opinion can be taken as a snapshot of the wider public opinion?

I've laboured this point often,but if climate catastrophe is/is going to be real,folk aren't interested until they suffer first hand. Having said that,the more mature folk I know were completely unperturbed by the summer floods as they had 'seen it all before'. In a world where X-Factor,Big Brother etc are the main points of topic,and where climate change is just a minor news item but a persistent nagging one which always implies sacrifices of some sort and yet more taxation,who can blame them?

Paul,you're right when you say most folk can't seperate weather from climate,but I guess people would expect,naturally,that a change in climate would precipitate changes in the weather they observe,too. And OON,apart from this summer,folk have yet to see a change 'to go away' in the first place. Many folk lament the absence of winters how they used to be of course,but mild ones are hardly a catastrophe that's going to get people into a panic. I reckon a cold and snowy winter this time around will kill the global warming debate stone dead in the minds of Joe Public!

Stratos Ferric,just seen your entry while previewing my post,and for once we appear to barking up the same tree! I mean, IF our summer and the horrendous suffering it caused could be definitely,undoubtedly be attributed to AGW,still no-one would care except those affected! There's little doubt in my mind that it would take a super calamity,or a closely timed sequence of,before mass action is taken. Then what,and what form would said action take? Too late as you said,and by then no-one would care what the cause was. None of the above relates to my own opinions btw,just an observation of wider attitudes. IF disastrous climate change is coming courtesy of us,then I feel that all this tinkering around the edges a la low wattage bulbs,carbon trading etc is an utterly futile drop in the ocean on the world stage. Time to usher in a new world order methinks,but who wants that and who knows what Genie would be released from the bottle then? Sorry,I'm finding it a little difficult to articulate my point due to sleep deprivation. Hopefully readers can see where I'm coming from!

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I get the feeling that we have a couple of more 'blighted summers' and possible winters with more snow than we're used to over the next 5 years but we will also see the ice-cap steadily decline over this time. I believe we are seeing a similar 'tipping point' in Antarctica so expect to see further shelf loss and glacier snout retreat over the same time period. Am I to believe that most of G.B. is so 'little England' as not to percieve the bigger picture? I thought only the U.S. were like that.

Ho hum, doesn't change whats happening and so makes me think even 'make believe' ignorance must be bliss!

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We have spoke about this subject before and I myself remember saying that if governments particularly ours use weather events as a lever for AGW they will come very unstuck. Its very handy to say that hurricane or that rain was caused by AGW and then suggest it will only get worse because of Global Warming. The trouble is if you do not have a steady stream of extreme weather events your argument loses appeal and looks like a fraud. When you add taxation to this can you help but wonder why public opinion maybe influenced? Nowhere have I seen government or media releases to say that GW is a relatively slow event over a period of many years, because that's just plain boring.

There are many people involved with AGW who should take the responsibility for taking the cause backwards rather than forwards!

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I also wonder (assuming what you say is true) how much people would prefer to believe GW was being exaggerated because it would just be a lot more convenient if it all just went away.

A fair point, OON. There was a list made up some time ago (in the enviro threads) of reasons why people might not "believe" in (A)GW and I believe that that was one of the reasons put forward.

;)

But, is that slight change of opinion more down to the fact that people confuse weather and climate? Does your average person on the street have enough knowledge to understand that a cool summer and fairly cool start to autumn (when compared with recent years) doesn't mean much in the great scheme of things?

For the benefit of us men and women on the street ( :D:D ) can you explain how these three things tie in together:

global warming

climate

our weather here in the UK

Genuine question, BTW! :D

Cheers.

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Probably the boredom factor kicking in which normally happens with media hype after a bit.

Everyday Global warming this global warming that. Too much rain climate change too little rain climate change. To further confuse matters new terms pop up every few years. This coupled with the Government not actually really doing a lot bar talk about more taxes I'm not surprised people are coming cynical.

How do you expect people to understand it?? Even on here you got entrenched views from both sides on what's happening and every argument and counter argument seems plausible. Anyone googling is going to come away saying err is it really happening.

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Probably the boredom factor kicking in which normally happens with media hype after a bit.

Everyday Global warming this global warming that. Too much rain climate change too little rain climate change. To further confuse matters new terms pop up every few years. This coupled with the Government not actually really doing a lot bar talk about more taxes I'm not surprised people are coming cynical.

How do you expect people to understand it?? Even on here you got entrenched views from both sides on what's happening and every argument and counter argument seems plausible. Anyone googling is going to come away saying err is it really happening.

TBH: I am confused still after spending lots of time reading on this subject, but one thing that does hit is simply if GW was as bad as stated then why do government actions and proposals not add up to that required to address the problem?

The man in the street may not understand the complexities of climate but he is not stupid, does not trust politicians and can spot massive discrepancies in their plans. Governments to Climate are akin to estate agents telling people the housing market is good, and what gets me is that there are still so many staunch AWG supporters (nothing wrong in that view) that somehow think they can trust panels setup by government bodies for governments to deliver a solution or effective action. I mean come on thats have a bit of common sense in this debate whatever side you are on, the amount of taxation raised by environmental issues will be spent on current government spending of which the vast majority will not go back into environmental projects. These politicians will be long gone before anyone notices the money has gone, they do have a track history for it, or maybe they have suddenly found a conscience, don't hold your breath!

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I bet once this temporary blip of average conditions is over and the warmth comes back with force, people will start to worry again. People are so fickle.

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I bet once this temporary blip of average conditions is over and the warmth comes back with force, people will start to worry again. People are so fickle.

Bet they don't. Mild winters people get used to them. What hope have you got when you got the weather girlies on the 06:15 in the morning when it's 10C plus mid Jan and they've got scarves, gloves and whooley hat on and saying it's freezing. Hot summers most say great and go out and get sun burnt. The only time people will take notice is when there's a huge drought, fires or loads of people die from heat stroke probably me with heat stroke.

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HP, I think that there are two main reasons why politicians actions do not match the perceived seriousness of the situation:

1. Democratic politicians necessarily tend to focus on the short to medium term and their electoral ambitions. Policies designed to reduce a risk decades hence rarely rise to the top of the ministerial in-tray. Blair/Brown targets are one thing but detailed effective measures are another.

2. Where reduction of a long term risk involves pain/cost/inconvenience in the short to medium term and where demonstrable benefits will only be obvious in the long term political inertia is even more compelling.

regards

ACB

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TBH: I am confused still after spending lots of time reading on this subject, but one thing that does hit is simply if GW was as bad as stated then why do government actions and proposals not add up to that required to address the problem?

...

Because the measures required for long term benefit would mean short term hardship and politicians need votes today, not in twenty or thirty years' time. Don't read Government action as being indicative of anything: I have just had dinner with an erstwhile member of the Cabinet Office and he would readily disabuse you of the opinion that yoiu seem to have that Government is wholly rational, and that therefore inaction at present means no threat. Life isn't like that: not even remotely.

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Because the measures required for long term benefit would mean short term hardship.

The measures 'required' will never be put in place because agw is non-existent. Not only that but these 'measures required' (as you put it) - if they were implemented tomorrow would put the world into a terminal global economic decline you could not possibly imagine. Do you think that is something the average person on the street would accept?

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The measures 'required' will never be put in place because agw is non-existent. Not only that but these 'measures required' (as you put it) - if they were implemented tomorrow would put the world into a global economic decline you could not possibly imagine. Do you think that is something the average person on the street would accept?

But economic decline on a global scale is inevitable regardless of the rate of global warming. Have you heard of peak oil? Well with increasing restriction of core oil-supplies to certain unstable countries and a finite resource with a growing demand for it; we will soon be forced to use alternative energy sources.

And with regards to AGW being fiction....well you only need to read the IPCC report and then look at the real-world statistics and trends as well as our wasteful ways to get concerned about things. Better to be safer than sorry; and I favour prevention.

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Because the measures required for long term benefit would mean short term hardship and politicians need votes today, not in twenty or thirty years' time. Don't read Government action as being indicative of anything: I have just had dinner with an erstwhile member of the Cabinet Office and he would readily disabuse you of the opinion that yoiu seem to have that Government is wholly rational, and that therefore inaction at present means no threat. Life isn't like that: not even remotely.

I agree with you SF: I am simply putting the point that our government can be seen clearly to be talking the talk but not walking the walk by everyday folk. This equation requires no knowledge of climate to get the result that we are being conned one way or the other by our polititians. I hazard a guess that opinion would get both sides of this debate in agreement?

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I've just seen a BBC news report about the North Sea surge/high tide. ENTIRELY predictably,the reporter's final comment was that we can expect to see much more of this in the future 'when climate change kicks in'. I can tell you,though I was fully expecting that I wanted to kick the bleedin' telly in,and I'm a very placid sorta bloke! It seems then that they're expecting an increase of EVERYTHING. Pure,unadulterated twaddle. I'm getting angry now,as I suspect a lot of people are,not just bored with it all.

Meanwhile,our government is on about building an extra 3,000,000 houses while we're simultaneously expected to reduce the UK's 'carbon footprint'. OK,all you number crunchers out there,work that one out and come back to me when you've twiddled all the figures to make it add up.

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I've just seen a BBC news report about the North Sea surge/high tide. ENTIRELY predictably,the reporter's final comment was that we can expect to see much more of this in the future 'when climate change kicks in'. I can tell you,though I was fully expecting that I wanted to kick the bleedin' telly in,and I'm a very placid sorta bloke! It seems then that they're expecting an increase of EVERYTHING. Pure,unadulterated twaddle. I'm getting angry now,as I suspect a lot of people are,not just bored with it all.

Meanwhile,our government is on about building an extra 3,000,000 houses while we're simultaneously expected to reduce the UK's 'carbon footprint'. OK,all you number crunchers out there,work that one out and come back to me when you've twiddled all the figures to make it add up.

Agree with you entirely Laser; it's all getting to the stage of bordering on madness now. The deadline for all new homes to be built to carbon neutral levels kicks in, in a few years; hubby's a building control officer and he's a long way from being convinced that the industry will manage it. I really cannot understand why all new builds cannot be built with solar panels and heat sink pumps either, it's so much more expensive to fit them retrospectively. When it comes to the general concensus, I've lost count of the times I've heard "what's the damn point in us cutting emissions when China/India/USA etc make a bigger mess than us". Good luck to any government who tries taxation to halt our emissions, whilst the world carries on, business as usual.

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I've just seen a BBC news report about the North Sea surge/high tide. ENTIRELY predictably,the reporter's final comment was that we can expect to see much more of this in the future 'when climate change kicks in'. I can tell you,though I was fully expecting that I wanted to kick the bleedin' telly in,and I'm a very placid sorta bloke! It seems then that they're expecting an increase of EVERYTHING. Pure,unadulterated twaddle. I'm getting angry now,as I suspect a lot of people are,not just bored with it all.

I just don't get these kinds of posts/points. Scientific opinion (whether people like it or not) is that sea levels will rise as the sea both warms and expands. Do the BBC deny this scientific opinion and instead run with what the mavericks predict - the 'it's not happening' approach? Now that would be twaddle.

Meanwhile,our government is on about building an extra 3,000,000 houses while we're simultaneously expected to reduce the UK's 'carbon footprint'. OK,all you number crunchers out there,work that one out and come back to me when you've twiddled all the figures to make it add up.

Yup, I've thought for decades that the problem is that the push on ghg emissions grow will continue increase - it's a hell of a job to stop a stampede. So, we're going to get top end of likely ghg growth rates? So anthro warming is likely to be top end as well? And the sea responds how? Go to the top of my reply?

So, what's the intelligent response? Ostrich like behaviour?

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Just for you Dev,I'll sell all my worldly goods and go live in a tent far away from a flood plain and grow my own crops. Happy now? If I had a sudden change of opinion (won't happen,trust me ),so what? Short of the tent-dwelling scenario,my life is going to proceed pretty much as it is now. It's the only way I know. The great climate machine will grind on without me and the millions who are just trying to get by without causing unneccesary damage on our way. I'm not at the point of throwing my arms up in the air and wailing about it,but I'm fed up of being treated like some kind of villain by AGW types and being bled dry by the government to fund whatever they squander taxes on in a futile facade of conjectural climate change.

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How UK meets its CO2 targets is simply:

If you the maths you will see that UK physical CO2 emissions cannot fall due to increased development which will offset any reductions made.

But of course this does not mean the UK cannot meet its targets as it can or should I say it will as sure as eggs is eggs do the following: Increase taxation to purchase carbon credits from third world countries as will the other major countries. This means no actual carbon reductions worldwide in the foreseeable future but a bar on third world development due to carbon carrots.

If I am wrong I shall change my handle to Dunce :)

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Just for you Dev,I'll sell all my worldly goods and go live in a tent far away from a flood plain and grow my own crops. Happy now? If I had a sudden change of opinion (won't happen,trust me ),so what? Short of the tent-dwelling scenario,my life is going to proceed pretty much as it is now. It's the only way I know. The great climate machine will grind on without me and the millions who are just trying to get by without causing unneccesary damage on our way. I'm not at the point of throwing my arms up in the air and wailing about it,but I'm fed up of being treated like some kind of villain by AGW types and being bled dry by the government to fund whatever they squander taxes on in a futile facade of conjectural climate change.

I dunno, you try to answer the post and you get back yet another variant of the 'back to the stone age' response. I NEVER suggested people need to go live in caves or tents :)

There is (IS, and yes, IMO - am I suppose to deny my opinion?) a problem. Now we (humanity) can either do something or not, but doing nothing wont make the problem go away (IMO).

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