People “tired” of climate claims, according to a report in BBC News, 10 September 2009. Researchers at Cardiff University surveyed 551 people, from a range of ages and backgrounds, between September and November last year (2008) and revealed increasing scepticism about man-made climate change. They found that compared with previous surveys twice as many people now agree that “claims that human activities are changing the climate are exaggerated.” Forty percent of the people surveyed believed that “many leading experts still question the evidence” and twenty percent were “hard-line sceptics”. The most sceptical were more likely to be men rather than women, and rural rather than urban. Scepticism was also higher in older people, higher earners and those on the conservative side of politics. Half those surveyed believed the media was “too alarmist” and a third said there was too much conflicting evidence to know what is actually happening.
Lorraine Whitmarsh of Cardiff University announced the results at British Science Festival in Guildford and suggested that people were using the uncertainty as an excuse not to change their lifestyle. She told BBC News: “It is difficult for people to perceive what is and isn’t climate change. But I think what we have to get across is that residual uncertainty in science is normal.” She went on to say: “In general people are showing little willingness to change their lifestyles. They will recycle, unplug the TV and change their light bulbs; but they won’t change how they travel or how they eat. These are the things that are going to make the biggest difference,” and “We need to make it clear to people what is due to climate change and what is not. It is time we made it real to people.”
Editorial Comment: If people did change the way they travel and eat, it may benefit their health and be better for the environment, but it won’t change the climate, and most people have enough common sense to know this. We agree it is necessary to make clear what is “real,” because the reality is that climate change, both warming and cooling has been going on for thousands of years. Environmental scientists should be careful what they teach people. If they have been found to be teaching false claims people will lose their respect for all scientists as was indicated in a recent British press item entitled “Met forecasts warm winter – so get your woollies out now!” In the end this could be worse for the environment because people will ignore scientists over other issues they can and should do something about, e.g. good water, soil and vegetation management, farming practices that are good for animals and humans, etc. (Ref. environmentalism, education, lifestyle)
Evidence News, 19 November 2009