The “unexplained” drop in people who believe in global warming
I’m a huge fan of Megan McArdle but I think she’s a bit guilty of wanting not to sound too crazy among her beltway colleagues. And sense those colleagues take it as a given that man-made global warming is a fact and now its just up to the details of what to do about it, she takes great pains to report on the skeptics without seeming to agree with them. Here’s one such post that strikes me as a bit off is her surprise at how the plebes are growing more skeptical by the minute:
Also in the WTF category, Pew says there was a fourteen point drop in the number of Americans who believe there is solid evidence that anthropogenic global warming is real. I mean, maybe 45 million Americans spent the last year reviewing the scientific evidence on Global Warming and changed their minds. Certainly, a lot of laid-off workers have soem time on their hands. But this doesn’t really seem a spectacularly likely explanation of the phenomenon.
I can only come up with two explanations for this phenomenon: one, that many Americans are happy to embrace a symbolic belief in global warming as long as there is no danger that anyone will do anything about it. The other is that Americans don’t know what they want, and also, enjoy messing with pollster’s minds.
She makes it clear that she doesn’t expect the people polled to be all that up on the science. Well, maybe there is something to that I guess. The height of people believing in man made global warming very likely was a by-product of the universal coverage of exactly that phenomenon. How many times have we heard the science is settled? How many CNN pieces have been done on it where a sceptic is nowhere to be found?
But, the common man is not ignorant. They do observe. And what they observe is that we have had two very cold winters. We basically skipped spring this year and had one of the mildest summers in awhile. In the southeast, we’ve had more rain than one can remember. We had an NFL game played in a blizzard last weekend. The earliest such non-Denver blizzard game in a good long while. We’ve already wondered if we were going to skip straight to winter this year. It just seems colder than its been the last few years. I don’t think the drop in those poll numbers are a mystery at all. People are thinking the earth sure doesn’t feel like its getting warmer, or at least not anymore.
Observed temperatures have been cooling. People just feel colder day in and day out. True, that is a small sample and does not necessarily prove anything. I just know that not a single computer model predicted the flatlining of the temperatures. And its those computer models we are supposed to base policy on.