Anthropogenic Global Warming: IPCC’s Leaked Adjustment & the Providence Journal Highlights a “Climate Change” Survey That Borders on a Push Poll


These are, undeniably, rough days for the anthropogenic global warming CRU … er, crew. An inconvenient, 17 year no-warming-trend (the Met says it’s fifteen years) is playing havoc with both their theory and their p.r., as such a pause flies in the face of the two central tenets of the theory of anthropogenic global warming that 1.) the planet is warming 2.) due to the greenhouse gas generated by man. Despite an attempt to disingenuously change the name of the (non-existent?) phenomenon to the redundant and effectively meaningless term “climate change”, lots of people haven’t forgotten that all of the science purports to point to an effect of warming, not “change”.

Presumably in response to this unfortunate, confounding temperature trend, we learn from a leaked copy of its “Fifth Assessment Report,” parts of which will be released on Sept. 27, that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) has reduced slightly its alarm and its lowest projected temperature increase and changed the qualifiers of other temperatures within its projected range.

Specifically, the draft report says that “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS)—eventual warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which takes hundreds of years to occur—is “extremely likely” to be above 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), “likely” to be above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and “very likely” to be below 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 Fahrenheit). In 2007, the IPPC said it was “likely” to be above 2 degrees Celsius and “very likely” to be above 1.5 degrees, with no upper limit. Since “extremely” and “very” have specific and different statistical meanings here, comparison is difficult.

Still, the downward movement since 2007 is clear, especially at the bottom of the “likely” range. The most probable value (3 degrees Celsius last time) is for some reason not stated this time.

Additionally and more importantly, as Matt Ridley, the author of the above words and recipient of the leaked document, reports in the Wall Street Journal,

Most experts believe that warming of less than 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels will result in no net economic and ecological damage. Therefore, the new report is effectively saying (based on the middle of the range of the IPCC’s emissions scenarios) that there is a better than 50-50 chance that by 2083, the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm.

Addendum: David Rose over at the Daily Mail (UK) has more from the leaked report, pointing out that the IPCC also acknowledges that the rate of global warming since 1951 has been “0.12C per decade”, not the 0.2C per decade that it predicted in 2007.

So with “bad” news abounding, this is excellent timing for a global warming/climate change survey sympathetic to the cause. In today’s Providence Journal, Richard Salit points readers to the survey.

Rhode Islanders have an opportunity to take part in a survey comparing American attitudes about climate change with those of people overseas.

You can take the survey here. If you intend to take the survey, out of fairness, please do so before reading the rest of this post. Then come back and let me know if you agree or disagree with this assessment.

I found some of the questions and lack of proffered answers in the survey troubling.

The first question is reasonable and the range of answers to choose from are fine, though certain wording is … interesting.

Do you think climate change/global warming is happening?

No
Yes
I am not sure

Note the term that the survey employs for the phenomenon that is its subject. Credit the authors with incorporating the phrase “global warming”. But it is carefully placed second to the preferred new term “climate change”.

Starting at the second question, we run into more substantial trouble. Though a proper range of answers is provided, Questions #2 – #7 all forget that “No” was an option in Question One and are premised on the existence of “climate change/global warming”.

Do you think climate change/global warming is PRIMARILY caused by human actions or natural environmental changes?

Neither, because climate change/global warming is not happening
Primarily natural environmental changes
Both human actions and natural environmental changes equally
Primarily human actions
I am not sure

[The entire survey, including Questions #3 – #7, is placed at the end of this post.]

On to Question #9, where the problem is not so much the question itself but the inadequacy of the proffered answers. Setting aside the use of the momentous but extremely vague term “society”, Question #9 problematically fails to provide a full range of answers to choose from.

From the list below, select the THREE environmental issues that you think are MOST IMPORTANT for society to address.

Enter 1 next to the environmental issue you think is most important.
Enter 2 next to the environmental issue you think is second most important.
Enter 3 next to the environmental issue you think is third most important.
Select ONLY the THREE environmental issues you think are MOST IMPORTANT (Please DO NOT select more than three).

Air pollution
Deforestation
Endangered species
Climate change/Global warming
Over population
Ozone depletion
Water pollution

How about “None of the Above”? Or for our very committed tree-hugger friends, “All of the Above”? And how does the survey account for the lack of an answer? If I didn’t chose any of the above, for example, will that be counted as “none are important”? Or will a non-answer be disregarded and discarded altogether? Wouldn’t this skew the poll results?

All of these questions and weaknesses apply full bore to the piece de resistance, Question #16. The survey edges innocuously into it with Questions #14 and #15.

Two of the most debated policy options to address climate change/global warming are a cap and trade mechanism for carbon dioxide emissions (cap and trade) and a tax on carbon dioxide emissions (carbon tax).

How familiar are you with cap and trade?

Not at all familiar
Not very familiar
Somewhat familiar
Familar
Very familiar

How familiar are you with a carbon tax?

Not at all familiar
Not very familiar
Somewhat familiar
Familiar
Very familiar

And then goes in for the kill on Question #16.

If you had to choose between cap and trade or a carbon tax to address climate change/global warming, which policy would you prefer?

Cap and trade
Carbon tax
I am not sure

“None of the above” is NOT a choice. Climate change DOES exist. We HAVE to address it via policy. You MUST choose from the following two atrocious policies to address a phenomenon that may or may not be taking place.

From the perspective of an AGW advocate, a well timed survey, indeed. But clearly not a survey intended to get at real and complete answers, either answers of the survey respondents or answers to the huge questions that pose themselves about the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

Survey questions:

Recently, the topic of climate change (global warming) has been getting some attention in the news. Climate change is linked with the phenomenon of warming average global temperatures over the last 150 years as well as extreme weather related events.

Do you think climate change/global warming is happening?

No
Yes
I am not sure

Do you think climate change/global warming is PRIMARILY caused by human actions or natural environmental changes?

Neither, because climate change/global warming is not happening
Primarily natural environmental changes
Both human actions and natural environmental changes equally
Primarily human actions
I am not sure

How serious of a threat do you think climate change/global warming is to humans?

Not at all a threat to humans
Not that much of a threat to humans
A somewhat serious threat to humans
A serious threat to humans
A very serious threat to humans

How concerned are you about climate change/global warming?

Not at all concerned
Not very concerned
Somewhat concerned
Concerned
Very concerned

Which comes closest to your understanding of whether climate scientists believe climate change/global warming is happening?

Most climate scientists agree that climate change/global warming is not happening
There is a lot of disagreement among climate scientists about whether or not climate change/global warming is happening
Most climate scientists agree that climate change/global warming is happening
I am not sure

Which comes closest to your understanding of what climate scientists believe about the causes of climate change/global warming?

Most climate scientists agree that climate change/global warming is not happening
There is a lot of disagreement among climate scientists about whether or not climate change/global warming is being caused primarily by human actions
Most climate scientists agree that climate change/global warming is being caused primarily by human actions
I am not sure

How much of your knowledge/understanding about climate change/global warming has come from each of the following sources? Click the appropriate button for each source of information. [For each source, survey participant must choose, “None” or “A Little” or “Some” or “A Lot”.]

Scientific research
Government agencies
Middle/High school education
College education
Family/Friends
Online social media
Newpaper/Magazine (print)
Newspaper/Magazine (online)
Television News
Radio news

From the list below, select the THREE issues that you think are MOST IMPORTANT for society to address.

Enter 1 next to the issue you think is most important.
Enter 2 next to the issue you think is second most important.
Enter 3 next to the issue you think is third most important.

Select ONLY the THREE issues you think are MOST IMPORTANT (Please DO NOT select more than three).

Crime
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Health care
Housing
Human rights
Immigration
Income inequality
Infrastructure
National debt
National security
Obesity
Poverty

From the list below, select the THREE environmental issues that you think are MOST IMPORTANT for society to address.

Enter 1 next to the environmental issue you think is most important.
Enter 2 next to the environmental issue you think is second most important.
Enter 3 next to the environmental issue you think is third most important.
Select ONLY the THREE environmental issues you think are MOST IMPORTANT (Please DO NOT select more than three).

Air pollution
Deforestation
Endangered species
Climate change/Global warming
Over population
Ozone depletion
Water pollution

Should the United States join an international commitment to address climate change/global warming?

No
Yes
I am not sure

Should the United States join an international commitment to address climate change/global warming even if China does not also join?

No
Yes
I am not sure

Most policies to address climate change/global warming involve putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions which will likely increase your household expenditures on heating, electricity, transportation, food and other goods and services. Would you support a policy to address climate change/global warming that increased your average monthly household expenditures by $60?

No
Yes

Would you support a policy to address climate change/global warming that increased your average monthly household expenditures by $30?

No
Yes

Two of the most debated policy options to address climate change/global warming are a cap and trade mechanism for carbon dioxide emissions (cap and trade) and a tax on carbon dioxide emissions (carbon tax).

How familiar are you with cap and trade?

Not at all familiar
Not very familiar
Somewhat familiar
Familar
Very familiar

How familiar are you with a carbon tax?

Not at all familiar
Not very familiar
Somewhat familiar
Familiar
Very familiar

If you had to choose between cap and trade or a carbon tax to address climate change/global warming, which policy would you prefer?

Cap and trade
Carbon tax
I am not sure

What is your gender?

Male
Female

How old are you (in years)?

What is the zip code of the city or town where you currently live?

What is your primary form of personal transportation?

Automobile (car, van, SUV, truck, etc.)
Mass transit (bus, subway, train, ferry, etc.)
Motorbike/Scooter
Bicycle
Walk
Other

What is your gross (before tax) annual household income range?

Less than $25,000
Between $25,000 – $40,000
Between $40,000 – $60,000
Between $60,000 – $100,000
Between $100,000 – $150,000
Between $150,000 – $200,000
Between $200,000 – $250,000
More than $250,000

What is the highest level of education you have completed?

Less than 12 years (did not graduate high school)
12 Years (high school graduate)
Between 13 and 15 years (some college, includes 2 year degree)
16 Years (Bachelor’s degree)
More than 16 years (advanced degree, Master’s, Ph.D., Law, Medical, etc..)

Which of the following most closely describes your political ideology?

Very conservative
Somewhat conservative
Moderate
Somewhat liberal
Very liberal
Other

Which of the following most closely describes your Race/Ethnicity?

American Indian
Asian/Pacific Islander
Black
Hispanic/Latino(a)
White
Other

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