3 Fuel Cell Cars from 3 OEMs Complete 1,137km Demonstration Run in Japan
Greenland Ice Cap Melting Faster Than Ever

November Poll Finds Only 37% of US Voters Attribute Climate Change to Human Activity

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% of US voters blame human activity for global warming—a one percentage point decrease from the October poll—while 47% blame global warming on planetary trends—an increase of one percentage point. Just 5% point to some other reason.

Rasmussennov09
The percentage of US voters attributing climate change to human activity continues to trend downward. Click to enlarge.

Voter belief that human activity is the primary cause of global warming has declined significantly over the past year, according to the Rasmussen polls. In April of last year, the numbers were nearly the mirror image of the current numbers. At that time, 47% blamed human activity and only 34% named long term planetary trends as the reason for climate change.

Sixty-two percent of voters consider global warming to be a serious problem, including 34% who see it as very serious. However, the number who see it as a Very Serious problem has declined seven points since January and thirteen points since April 2008.

Most voters (58%) view finding new sources of energy as more important than reducing the amount of energy now consumed by Americans, a finding that has remained fairly consistent throughout the year. A third of voters (34%) take the opposing view and say it is more important to reduce energy use.

Forty-four percent (44%) of voters now see a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection, up six points over the past month. That finding is more consistent with results found earlier in the year. Only 31% do not see this conflict, but another 25% are undecided.

Comments

ejj

Wow - 63% of Americans are DENIERS!

ejj

...or DENYERS.

Jer

Even though this poll only points to generalizations. It seems that Americans seem to embrace a 'technology over conservation' value system when it comes to dealing with a perceived problem. Perhaps stemming from a 'we must always live better than the generation before us' disposition. I don't believe that this necessarily an 'evil' attitude as it is one that is fraught with risk, a lot of pain and suffering along the 'way', and likely the inconvenience of others around the world, that have to put up with the side effects. Are Americans, then, more risk tolerant/ utterly unconcerned about the effects on themselves&others/ or just true believers in science and technology to see their values through to the end?

I have always held a certain 'faith' in and even passion for technology to overcome anything. And despite the unfortunate suffering in the short- to mid-term, a society of numerous very-low emitting energy sources powering a vast range of new vehicles, etc., is likely the quickest way to get back to a sense of normalcy in the world. I imagine that most Americans may view the ideal world as one that is exactly as it is now, but just without all the pollution and climate uncertainty -- and they likely believe that this is an engineering problem to be overcome, not a call to adjust lifestyle values. Interesting to see how this plays out over the next generation and how, perhaps, we see who is further ahead in a generation when each nation has done its own thing to adapt/address/fight these issues. My vote is that the Chinese will be the furthest ahead in technology, economy, and adaptation to low-emission energy sources/vehicles -- because hey, if you don't need to consult the public on anything -- things gets done all the faster.

HarveyD

Are we faced with denials or a growing misinformed population? Either way, something is wrong with our education and information systems to have so many so far off reality.

Where will misinformation and denials lead us in the future? Are we going to regress far below other nations and watch others go by?

How will a misinformed nation behave on the economic and prosperity front?

Can this regression be fixed with modifications to the public education system? Has the time arrived to start teaching reality in all schools?

Would like to hear from RealityCheck!

Peter9909

Harvey, how can we fix our schools when they are controlled by the same broken political process that is screwing up everything else? There are quite a few school boards across the nation that think we should teach "intelligent design", among other stupid ideas. Do you really think that we can trust school boards to start teaching accurate facts about environment and science when they ignore science in other fundamental areas?

Jer

There is a fine line between teaching and indoctrination.

Jer

A good way to delineate where people's values lie and how it may suggest that the world will be affected, is to assign values of how resources should be spent:
me?

Education/Conservation: 10%
Technology development and Deployment: 60%
Adaptation (building seawalls and reservoirs): 30%

Likely Result over 50 years: Little to no 'valuable' real estate lost to sea rise. Full electrical-support vehicle/infrastructure availability. Surplus of cheap super-low carbon energy sources. Moderate to high economic activity and trade. Carbon level in atmosphere: 450-500 ppm (barely below where we are now and declining).

Mark_BC

Back in the mid last century science held a high regard in the public's opinion. It could do amazing things, it was cool. Over the last few decades it has lost its "coolness" and Americans have instead turned towards the Arts (just watch an episode of Jeopardy). I wonder if this explains the economic problems that have culminated over the last 20 years.

I partially blame the scientists for this, particularly the fundamentalist atheists who claim to have solved all of life's mysteries and basically tell people that if you want to believe in science, you must reject spirituality. And with someone like Dawkins at the helm, you can see why this alienates many people from science.

Scientists and engineers need to do a much better job of engaging people into science and understanding the boundaries of their knowledge.

Technology may be able to save us from a lot of things, and as we all know here at GHG, it could easily solve most of our transportation and energy problems .... yesterday, if it had the political will behind it. The public's faith in this is valid.

However, they don't seem to understand the significance of the ecological degradation and overpopulation that we are unleashing on the world. There is little science can do to change this. They don't seem to understand that 100% of our food is produced by ecosystems, and that there is a finite amount of productivity that ecosystems can support. And that as we achieve economic prosperity, our ecological footprint increases dramatically. That is a function of the laws of thermodynamics and can be optimized, but not altered. Now, if Greenland melts and displaces a billion people and we lose some of our most productive farmland, we will be in big trouble and there is little that science will be able to do.

ejj

Mark BC: Great point about "back in the mid last century science held a high regard in the public's opinion" --- scientists ended WWII via the Manhattan Project, developed the peaceful use of nuclear energy, advanced aviation in unimaginable ways; scientists were heroes. Science was real and produced results people could see - the rigorous application of the scientific method had to be used in the development of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons and aviation because freedom & lives were at stake.

I think many of the probles with science today include a drift away from the rigorous application of the scientific method in academia (in many circles), too much statistics-driven "research" with the "science" being political spin that the American public is seeing right through.

If scientific research, grounded in the scientific method (with clear, visible results that are proven with experimentation) is presented to the American people as part of a new government policy that will result in new taxes & less liberty, it will have a higher likelihood of getting support (ie. tobacco taxes, seatbelt laws, drug laws, etc).

Global warming involves an arrogant subset of the scientific community with a "trust us & don't argue because you're not qualified to do so" message, without basic & clear scientific research & RESULTS the American people can understand, infused with an obvious and blatent political agenda and ideology. Maybe that's why a majority of Americans are not believing in it?

Mark_BC

"Global warming involves an arrogant subset of the scientific community with a "trust us & don't argue because you're not qualified to do so" message,"

The problem is that every political spinster and his dog feels entitled to debate the science of global warming in the public arena (I'm not talking about the politics of global warming, I'm talking about the science.) The amount of virtually complete scientific illiteracy floating around out there in the main media and blog arenas regarding climate science is staggering.

Climate scientists get so sick and tired of the amount of malicious misinformation being put forth in the media under the guise of "open debate" (funded largely by the oil industry). In a sense, they CAN'T have a normal scientific dialogue of hypothesis testing, because at any opportunity available, the political spinsters will jump on any scientific ambiguities or disagreements amongst climate scientists (the definition of a properly functioning scientific method, isn't it?) and blow it up into proportions that seem to make it look like AGW is a fraud. It is a manipulation of the scientific method for the purpose of discrediting science to serve an agenda of maintaining the status quo so that current industry can continue receiving a steady and increasing stream of money from consumers.

"without basic & clear scientific research & RESULTS the American people can understand, infused with an obvious and blatent political agenda and ideology."

The main "political" agenda is to stop the theft of $200 a month from every gasoline consumer by the oil industry, when 10 years ago we could have had electric cars available that are CHEAPER to buy and cost $20 a month to operate, but have been kept away from us via battery patents controlled by Chevron. Secondly, the other "political" agenda is to prevent catastrophic future changes in sea level and other environmental effects, to be burdened by future generations who had nothing to do with its cause.

ejj

Mark BC: If the main political agenda was to rid the world of gasoline, it would be simply be banned or taxed into oblivion (like cigarettes in NY City)...which then allows the Rush Limbaughs of the world to speculate and theorize everyday that government is up to something more. As for catastrophes, the science isn't there (where is the research from experiments?) Using the seatbelt example I mentioned above, the science can't predict with absolute certainty if you are going to die in a wreck without your seatbelt; experiments haven't been run with live people. However, we've seen the results over and over again in the sad news stories of people thrown from cars or killed in wrecks from not wearing their seatbelts. With cigarettes, experiments haven't been run with people to figure out how many cigarettes smoked will lead to cancer, but there is too much evidence of a link. With global warming there has been no experimentation whatsoever, or other kinds of evidence from other civilizations on other planets showing what happened to them when they pumped CO2 into their air.

ejj

(where are the results from the experiments?)

wintermane2000

The problem for you is most people arnt on either side and as such see both sides for what they realy are. Extremes.

The result is in general neither side is anywhere near right AND neither side alone can do anything useful on the matter.

So the general populace is picking bits from both sides and thier own ideas and merging it all together into what they expect will happen.

And the problem for both "sides" is they are right.

Mark_BC

"The result is in general neither side is anywhere near right"

On what base of knowledge do you make this audacious claim?

"neither side alone can do anything useful on the matter."

Actually, the president of the US could nullify Chevron's patent on the NiMH battery on the grounds that their only intention in procuring it was to keep electric cars off the road. This would then allow people to have access to electric cars that cost below $20,000 but have better performance than $30,000 gasoline powered cars, and cost $20 month to charge. It will speed up the transition to electrified transportation by 5 years, which otherwise has to wait until lithium ion technology can be ramped up to production.

Mark_BC

"(where are the results from the experiments?)"

Well I made considerable effort to summarize these results in a previous post which has now frustratingly disappeared. I hope it wasn't deleted, although maybe it was too long and got automatically deleted.

I really wish GCG would fix these posting problems.

I'll just repost the links themselves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Co2-temperature-plot.svg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok_420ky_4curves_insolation.jpg

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

wintermane2000

Mark chevron no longer owns that patent they sold it.

As to what I base my claim on its common sense. If either side was anywhere near right we would already be dead or pefectly fine as we are neiether they cant be anywhere near right.

Mark_BC

"Mark chevron no longer owns that patent they sold it."

Interesting. To whom?

"If either side was anywhere near right we would already be dead or pefectly fine as we are neiether they cant be anywhere near right."

Huh? How could Greenland melting in 100 years cause you to die today?

Mark_BC


Apparently, Bosch Samsung bought it. I guess Chevron saw the proliferation of lithium ion batteries and saw the writing on the wall.

http://green.autoblog.com/2009/07/17/bosch-samsung-battery-venture-buys-cobasys/

ejj

Mark BC: Every link you provided is a compilation of data; not experimentation...and the data is only from 200,000 years to 800,000 years ago - scientists believe the earth is 4.5 Billion years old, so there are 4,499,200,000 years without data. When we set up experiments on other planets, pump CO2 into the air & see what happens, maybe then we'll see what is bad and what is not (or at least find other planets where global warming occurred and what happened).

I'm not arguing it's not happening (but I don't believe science has properly demonstrated / shown / proved it is happening either), nor am I advocating the wholesale unlimited emission of CO2 into the air...acid rain has already been demonstrated so it's not much of a stretch to go to global warming. I think the free world needs to move towards clean, terrorist-resistant, third-world-grubby-dictator-resistant renewable energy.

Mark_BC

"the data is only from 200,000 years to 800,000 years ago - scientists believe the earth is 4.5 Billion years old, so there are 4,499,200,000 years without data."

The ice core data only goes back 1,000,000 years, before we which we need other sources which are not so revealing. But the 1,000,000 year record is plenty informative because it encompasses several ice age cycles.

"When we set up experiments on other planets, pump CO2 into the air & see what happens, maybe then we'll see what is bad and what is not"

You can't be serious. I sure hope we don't need to go do experiments on Mars and wait 100 years to see the results before we can make any conclusions about climate on EARTH!! We don't need to set up experiments on Mars. We have a million years of highly revealing information on the relationship between CO2 and temperature on ... EARTH.

"Every link you provided is a compilation of data"

Actually, both the NSIDC and NOAA links I provided are presented by the very scientists who get the data. Links are provided on those sites to the actual published papers.

Here:

ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL039810.shtml

Roger Pham

The public needs to realize that renewable energy technologies and environmental technologies can be used as an economic engine to provide jobs and prosperity.

The government is a main player in this, by posting a gradually-rising tax rate on fossil fuel energy. This will not hurt the economy because the fossil fuel tax increase will be gradual enough for the economy to adapt to more energy-efficiency practices. This, however, will spur investment in green technologies that will create jobs and economic prosperity. Like MITI of Japan, the government can also give grants and tax incentives to green-technology companies in order for these to grow and dominate the market place.

So, it pays to believe in Man-made Global Warming (AGW) for the sake of economic prosperity and our future health and longevity due to reduction in pollution level, no matter what the AGW Deniers are saying. We need a cleaner environment that will be free from oil and coal emission/pollutiin, in order to reduce the cancer risks and respiratory diseases...

ejj

Mark BC: You illustrate the line in the sand that perhaps is part of the American public's skepticism: you say there is enough data and to extrapolate from which leads to a dreadful result, data collected from enough reputable sources that we should heed their collective advice and implement any scheme necessary to save the planet. On the other hand, there is a period of time without data that makes the data collected look miniscule, no significant experiments have been conducted to prove the phenomenon (just fear from the extrapolation of a data set), from a scientific community that has been wrong numerous times before (global cooling, smoking is safe, etc.), which wants to implement a radical complex new regulatory system wrought with taxes and an ever expanding government, which has also been wrong numerous times before.

I say give renewable energy the most generous tax incentives imaginable...but beyond that nothing else at this time.

sulleny

"I imagine that most Americans may view the ideal world as one that is exactly as it is now, but just without all the pollution and climate uncertainty -- and they likely believe that this is an engineering problem to be overcome, not a call to adjust lifestyle values."

Unfortunately the call to adjust lifestyle values has been made by those widely perceived to be hypocritical of such values. Jet setting alarmists decrying excessive use of energy has provided skeptics rich fodder.

Then there are the incidents of science chicanery. Manipulated data, stonewalled requests for data, suspect methodology. Americans dislike perjurers. It's a little like watching Richard M. Nixon in his decline. Denial of wrong doing gets louder as evidence piles up indicting a campaign refusing to acknowledge its own failures.

But the goal of transitioning to sustainable fuels remains. The simple way to get Americans on board that train is to position it as energy independence. Jobs, economy, security, efficiency, ecology - without demon CO2.

ToppaTom

My vote is with Jer, that the Chinese will be the furthest ahead in technology, economy, -- because hey, if you don't need to consult the public on anything -- things gets done all the faster. But I think they are just giving lip service to low-emission energy sources/vehicles (unless they can sell it to us).

“However, they don't seem to understand the significance of the ecological degradation and overpopulation that we are unleashing on the world.” Was Thomas Robert Malthus, Gore’s great grandfather - or is that just a rumor ?

“It is a manipulation of the scientific method for the purpose of discrediting science to serve an agenda of maintaining the status quo so that current industry can continue receiving a steady and increasing stream of money from consumers.”
Or is it a manipulation of the scientific method for the purpose of discrediting American businesses to serve an agenda of federalization so that unproven industry can receiving a steady and increasing stream of our money from the government.”

“Actually, the president of the US could nullify Chevron's patent on the NiMH battery … then allow people to have access to electric cars that cost below $20,000 …. ["Mark, chevron no longer owns that patent; they sold it."] .. .. Apparently, Bosch Samsung bought it. I guess Chevron saw the proliferation of lithium ion batteries and saw the writing on the wall.”
- Is a battery-patent-conspiracy-theorist starting to see the obvious? The obvious is that NiMH never had as good a shot at bringing us EVs as lithium ion batteries; and even Li-ion is not yet up to the task.

Yes, the goal of transitioning to sustainable fuels remains unmarred by endless controversy.

ToppaTom

What I meant to say was;
"Yes, the goal of transitioning from imported fuels remains unmarred by endless controversy."
and even that is probably not totally free of controversy.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)