Global Warming: The More You Know, The Less You Care

From Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard:

Another classic from the Tierney Lab:

If only the masses could understand the science of global warming, they’d be alarmed, right? Wrong, according to the surprising results of a survey of Americans published in the journal Risk Analysis by researchers at Texas A&M University.

After asking a national sample of more than 1,000 Americans how much they knew about global warming and how they felt about it, the researchers report that respondents who are better-informed about global warming “both feel less personally responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming.”

That surely explains why Laurie David is so hysterical (and is a liar, too - Ed). I've written before of the gap in perception on this issue between scientists and meteorologists (think Max Mayfield, formerly head of the National Hurricane Center and world renowned global warming skeptic). People who actually know something about weather and climate, but whose research and grant money don't depend on a deep and abiding faith in global warming, tend not to be too alarmist about changing weather. But this is an interesting new spin, and it turns out those who are best informed are the least concerned--and these are the folks who (unlike me) have confidence in the science:

Another unexpected result: “Respondents who showed a great deal of confidence that scientists understand global warming and climate change showed significantly less concern for the risks of global warming than did those who have lower trust in scientists.”

Tierney offers some speculation that this is because respondents who are confident in the science are also confident in the ability of science to respond to global warming. I'm dubious. There are a lot of great ideas floating around for how to cool the planet, but nobody's going to win an Oscar for showing how technology can save the world and your SUV.

And a great comment posted in response to the article:

Ahem, well, maybe the people who actually informed themselves about global warming came to the conclusion that we are dealing with a perfectly natural phenomenon that has been occurring on and off for millions of years. And people who have come to this common sense conclusion have enough trust in scientists to overcome the current (politically, not scientifically motivated) hype and focus on the really important problems we face nowadays, like for example the shortage of clean drinking water in vast areas of the world.


So do you think the Daily Dead Fish Wrapper would ever post anything like this? Yeah, me neither.

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