I have been a subscriber to Scientific American for as long as I can remember. My personal collection of the magazine has cluttered my living quarters for years. I think I would not be going out on a limb if I was to claim that the typical reader of Scientific American, while not necessarily a scientists is at least a student of science, educated in the general literature of contemporary science topics and has an above average intelligence and education.
A few years ago I nearly ended my long association with the magazine because of what I felt was a definite editorial bias. They have been championing the global warming mantra incessantly for years, nearly mocking the very attribute of science which makes it the only real way of knowing anything—skepticism. Recently, the magazine ran a reader poll on the subject of global warming and indications are that their readership has not been persuaded by the magazine’s decade long proselytizing. Their readers doubt that man is heating up the planet. Yes, yes, I know, it is not a scientific survey. I am making no such claim–so please, no comments about the validity of the survey. Additionally, I think the survey questions were horribly written but as they say, “it is what it is.”
For years we’ve heard that scientists have reached a “consensus” that the earth is warming due to a greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide emissions resulting from man’s use of fossil fuels. No use in discussing it further, Al Gore and others have said. It’s happening.
But the responses of the 7,000 readers who’ve taken the magazine’s online poll strongly suggest that claims of a consensus are, at best, an exaggeration.
More than three-fourths (77.7%) say natural processes are causing climate change and almost a third (31.9%) blame solar variation. Only 26.6% believe man is the cause. (The percentages exceed 100 because respondents were allowed to choose more than one cause on this question.)
Whether climate change is man-caused or natural, most respondents don’t believe there’s anything that can be done about it anyway. Nearly seven in 10 (69.2%) agree “we are powerless to stop it.” A mere one in four (25.7%) recommend switching “to carbon-free energy sources as much as possible and adapt to changes already under way.”
It seems even some of those who would endorse changing energy sources don’t believe the benefits are worth the costs (which indicates they aren’t taking the alarmists’ claims seriously). Almost eight in 10 (79.4%) answer “nothing” to the question: “How much would you be willing to pay to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change?”
A small but apparently hard-core 12.3% say they’d be OK with spending “whatever it takes.” Only 4.9% choose “a doubling of gasoline prices” while 3.4% don’t mind paying “a 50% increase in electricity bills.”
That small, but hard, core likely makes up most of the 15.7% who think “the IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is an effective group of government representatives, scientists and other experts.” These holdouts are overwhelmed, though, by the 83.6% who agree the IPCC “is a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.”
Interesting. Maybe I will hang on to my subscription.