The Spectacle Blog

Enviro Poll: Global Warming Overblown

By on 2.24.11 | 1:56PM

In a survey conducted for Colorado College's State of the Rockies project -- one in which most questions were designed to produce environmentalism-friendly results (of the "Do you favor clean air?" "Do you favor clean water?" nature) -- most respondents in five Mountain states ranked global warming as a low priority and overblown as a problem. Asked to identify the top two or three most important environmental problems today, only 4 percent cited global warming and 1 percent mentioned climate change (7 percent said the federal government was one of the most important environmental problems!). Forty-three percent of respondents characterized climate change as "not a problem," while 27 percent believed it was an "extremely serious" or "very serious" problem.

Further, when asked their views on global warming, 32 percent of respondents said it was "overblown" as a problem and 51 percent believed no action should be taken, while 48 percent believed some action is warranted.

Finally, a disconnect: the pollsters asked whether carbon emission limits should be implemented, and 67 percent of respondents said they believed there should be curbs. I think this is a poorly asked question because carbon comes in different forms -- some of it very gray -- and the issue at hand is carbon dioxide, not carbon. I bet most people, when asked, picture carbon as something akin to visible soot rising from smokestacks (an image environmentalists encourage in their anti fossil fuel campaigns), when in fact the alleged warmth culprit is the invisible gas that we all exhale. And clearly the respondents were not made to understand that carbon dioxide limits are tied to the global warming issue.

I liken this to the Penn & Teller prank in which they convince dozens of people to sign a petition in opposition to dihydrogen monoxide (H2O) because of its presence in so many places. If you make it sound like a pollutant, people will believe it's a pollutant.

Hat tip: Complete Colorado.

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