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Attention deficit disorder

Political Climate is a new blog to me. I chanced upon their article about the media's interest in climate change (or the lack thereof), and was struck by this graph.

Amusingly the uptick in 2009 appears to be ascribed to the Copenhagen conference rather than anything else that may have been happening at the time. 

The hypothesis advanced in the article is that the problem that AGW subscribers have is declining public interest rather than declining climatological credibility. I'm not sure I'm convinced. For a start you could interpret that graph as a peak in 2006/7 driven by the Fourth Assessment Report and another for Copenhagen/Climategate, with a baseline level of interest that is largely unchanged. But even if we accept a decline from 2006 onwards, is it due to weariness with the endless propaganda, or is it a function of the declining credibility of climatology? What is the root cause here?

Some clues are to be found in this article at the Houston chronicle (H/T GWPF), which records a strong shift in opinion on global warming in the periodic survey of public attitudes to science. I've graphed the results to make the shift clearer. The pink line is this year's results, with less concerned being at the left of the graph. The yellow line is the results from 2004. (Note I haven't recorded "Don't knows", the figure for which is broadly unchanged.

But there's more:

For more fun, check out the response to question Q10K, in which 75 percent of respondents deemed themselves as “very well” or “fairly well” informed about climate change. That was higher than every other scientific category measured, including vaccinations (74 percent), nuclear power (45 percent) and clinical trials (33 percent).

Now let’s say you’re a scientist concerned about climate change. (Despite what you may have read, a lot of them really are). Here’s the challenge you’re facing: Not only does the public not presently believe you, but 75 percent of them think they already know enough about the issue to not need any further lecturing from you, thank you very much


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Reader Comments (7)

The graph peaks in December 2009. The Guardian alone had 470 articles on climate change that month - over a quarter of all the articles published in Europe! Needless to say, the vast majority were propaganda pieces about Copenhagen. You really can’t draw any useful conclusions about public attitudes from this kind of graph

May 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Copenhagen and Climategate of course.

May 6, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

This opinion data vindicates the cynicism of the official Climategate Inquiries critics. One American commenting at McIntyre's latest post regarding the same, opines appropriately:

'They not only lost that battle, that battle was the entire war, so they have lost the war.' There WILL be more rounds of battle, but the war is all over save the shouting. Who here disagrees?

May 6, 2011 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

My attempted blockquote for the above failed. Go here
for MORE elaboration.

May 6, 2011 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

Very much to do with Copenhagen rather than Climategate. The media went completely mental about "only 40 days left to save the planet".


It has all gone quiet over there....
It has all gone quiet over there.....

Sorry...there is a bit of a football hooligan in all of us.

May 6, 2011 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

The first graph is not quite ready for publication yet. We need to sum all the curves then use Mike's Nature trick to remove the post-Copenhagen data.

Then, voila, we should see the true hockey stck shape! QED.

May 6, 2011 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraphic Conception

climatological credibility has disappeared at all. We don't know what to think about this stuff, specially since moment John Coleman, the most famous weatherman was discovered using generic viagra while he was working. A doctor said this adicction affected him and the accuracy of his reports.

Oct 28, 2011 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

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