SocraticGadfly: More ppl think global warming is real ... but think scientists don't!

June 27, 2015

More ppl think global warming is real ... but think scientists don't!

A fairly solid majority of Americans believe global warming is happening, per surveys from Yale University as reflected in the map at left that go from the state level to drill down to the Congressional District, then the county, level. (Hawaii is most convinced of this reality, whether due to partial isolation from the mainland, or seeing rising seas on smaller islands in the chain, or something else; West Virginians are least convinced, most likely due to Big Coal fearmongering.)

Yes, I didn't use "anthropogenic." Yet.

A solid plurality that would be a majority if we eliminated the "not sure" answers believe it's primarily manmade. Just the Yes-No gap is 48-35 percent. Weirdly, a much smaller plurality think that scientists think its primarily manmade. Per the likes of Naomi Oreskes in "Merchants of Doubt," perhaps far-right think tanks and the money they pay to denialist talking heads, plus media's general slowness in calling "skeptics" the denialists that they are, is probably having an effect.

As for answers?

Nationally, 74 percent want to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant; that remains at 70 percent in Texas. That said, Yale didn't apparently ask what regulations, and severity of enforcement, respondents might support. Or wait, it did.

Nationally, a 44-25 percent plurality support a carbon tax, if it's refunded to all Americans. Per my years-long support for tax + tariff on Chinese imports (not sure how easy it would be to refund that) maybe there's hope. And, again, in Texas, the numbers are similar, at 44-26. And, little old rural Falls County, Texas, isn't that much more "conservative" than the 17th District as a whole on these issues. Obviously, there's a lot of "not sure" answers, but ... I think combining tax and tariff, and noting this might bring some light manufacturing jobs back from China, might sway more people.
There are obviously conservatives, or at least, moderate conservatives who believe that anthropogenic global warming is happening and even moderate conservatives who support stringent actions. I mean, the 44 percent who support a carbon tax? That's higher than the vote percentage WendyDavis got, and slightly so some Republicans here in Texas support a carbon tax.

And, that is the "wedge" on these issues, along with telling moderates and moderate conservatives that the percentage of scientists who accept the reality of AGW is 98+, especially within the world of climate scientists. Rather than just demonize "everyday" people who quote prominent denialist websites, as a strategy, we instead need to point out that they're in a minority of "everyday" people.

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