Climate change opinion change?

There is a BBC article today, noting how a recent poll shows an increase in the number of people who don’t believe in climate change (what we used to call global warming). Apparently three months ago, 15% of people in the UK didn’t think climate change was taking place, now 25% think so. The conclusion is that recent events, a “series of high profile climate-related stories, some of which made grim reading for climate scientists and policymakers” has caused the change. However, 73% of folk aware of said news hadn’t let it change their minds, apparently “people tend to make judgements over time based on a whole range of different sources.”

So people can be swayed by news and change their minds on the existence or otherwise of global warming or otherwise in three months, yet at the same time get a feeling for what’s happening over longer timescales. Somewhat contradictory conclusions? Yet the results are obviously “very disturbing” and “action is urgently needed.” Action to educate that global warming is real that is.

Indeed, I agree more education would be great, and with that how about some education about critical thinking? While the surveyors note that it’s “very unusual indeed to see such a dramatic shift in opinion in such a short period,” they still take the results at face value, rather than wondering if perhaps the differences between the two surveys are an indication of their error due to some systematic effect. While there may have been some real change in the number of (landline owning) people (try running it monthly and looking at the scatter), I find this blind faith in the results being representative of the real world a bit hard to swallow.

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