I cannot recall ever before seeing such a huge mismatch between the views of the establishment — the politicians, the media, the chattering classes — and real people, on any issue. The leaders have hitched their wagons to climate hysteria, but the people have seen that this Emperor has no clothes. The gap is perfectly illustrated in the case of the prestigious publication “Scientific American”.
A new survey of reader opinions comes to some remarkable conclusions. Although the journal itself cleaves to the old orthodoxy on Warmism, it’s clear that its readers take a different view, and by a very wide margin. More than 6000 have responded, with nearly 20% claiming PhD status. More than three quarters (77%) believe that current climate change is caused by natural processes. More than two thirds (68%) think we should do nothing about climate change, and are powerless to stop it. No fewer than 90% think that climate scientists should debate their findings in public (they are notoriously reluctant to do so), while 83% believe that the UN-IPCC is corrupt, prone to group-think, and has a political agenda.
Of course no one is suggesting that all readers of Scientific American are climate scientists, and we have to recognise that the respondents to the survey are a self-selecting group, and that sceptics may be more motivated than true believers. Nevertheless, almost by definition the readership of the journal is scientifically literate and interested in science. That such an audience should condemn Warmism, and the IPCC, so overwhelmingly, is surely remarkable.
Yet we see similar moves elsewhere, for example in learned societies. The management of the American Physical Society, like the Scientific American, is committed to the old orthodoxy, but there is trouble in the ranks. The membership is demanding a more balanced view, and one prominent climate scientist, Prof Hal Lewis of the University of California, has very publicly resigned over the issue. My own experience over many years is that while organisations, businesses, political parties and trade unions cling to Warmism, individuals in those organisations will happily say informally, over a beer, that of course they think it’s nonsense — but naturally they have to toe the party line. Belief in Warmism is almost literally being hollowed out from the inside.
Opinion surveys from Britain and America show that a majority of the people no longer believe in Warmism. The surveys also show that the public is heartily sick of being blamed by the politicians and the media for what they see as a non-problem — and less and less willing to pay the exorbitant price for pointless climate mitigation efforts.
We now have a new, Republican House of Representatives in the USA, which absolutely will not pass Cap’n’Trade, and will not ratify any agreement from the UN’s “COP 16” climate conference in Cancun in December that imposes tight limits on emissions. There is even a good chance that Congress will force the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) to abandon its ruinous attempt to classify carbon dioxide (a harmless trace gas which is essential to life on earth) as “A Pollutant”.
So Warmism is in a sort of Zombie state. Still moving, still a great threat to humankind, yet in a real sense, dead already. Real people don’t believe it any more. I am scheduled to go to Cancun in early December for the UN Conference, and I look forward to celebrating the funeral rites.