As with everything else how does one get some actual evidence on the public’s opinions about a topic? Well of course you hire a bunch of researchers to conduct a survey representative of a group and here it was 750 US adults. As these folks were asked to rate their acceptance of various aspects of climate change, as well as some basic demographic and political information.
Out of this poll it came to light that to an even greater degree than in other polls, this population set didn’t realize that there’s a scientific consensus on climate change. As a surprising full half fell into that category, with most surveyed thinking that there was a lot of disagreement among scientists and five percent thinking that scientists don’t even think global warming is happening. Yet even scarier is that another 16 percent didn’t know enough to answer as I believe these folks also failed the control question of who was buried in Grant’s tomb.
Even adjusting for variables such as political orientation and cultural worldview didn’t affect the results, which suggests that people don’t misunderstand the scientific consensus because they are ideologically predisposed to do so. Additionally there were also no indications which showed that people believe there’s a scientific controversy because they are mistaken about the details of climate science in general.
Yet what is interesting is the basic outlines of greenhouse warming are so simple and intuitive should the public even have to rely upon experts at all? As while grant it, this is a complex topic, one of the things which I suggest you do if you question this is go to Google Maps and pull up the satellite view of Greenland, as if they don’t know (again another scary idea) is “Greenland” isn’t green, in fact for most of my life it’s been covered with a mile thick sheet of ice. Well guess what, not any more as quite a bit of the country is now in fact green.
A problem yes as not in so much that Greenland is green, it’s that all that ice if gone, so what’s the big deal about that? Simple, only fresh water freezes, so all of this once contained “fresh water” has now been dumped into the Atlantic and water is water right? Wrong answer as this has and is changing the salinity of the Atlantic and changing the specific gravity of water and there shifting therefore the mid Atlantic Conveyor system. So what’s the big deal again, well look at the weather over the UK for the past 5 to ten years and you tell me.
Ok, not enough for common sense, already let’s look at the amount of oil we pump out of the ground, then there is the coal we dig and what do we do with all of this stuff? Yes that’s right burn it in our cars, electrical power plants and so on. Ok, so what happens when you burn that pound of fuel as it while it seems to disappear doesn’t it, yet as we know by the laws of thermodynamics we can’t destroy matter, but simply change its state. So yes Virginia, that once liquid gasoline and solid coal is now a gasses affluent floating around below our tropopause where it just so happens that 99% of all of weather lives too. In short this (as with the fresh water example) is altering the fluid dynamics of our atmosphere without question. Again as said at the onset this is a complex topic, however the existence is pretty darn straight forward…