Michael Mann says “I have spent several months in Australia in 2019 and that really changed things for me…. there’s almost no place I can go, no experience I can have, without being reminded of how real this is…. when you see it happening, you realize this isn’t just model projections…. you can see it with your own two eyes.” See what? There’s the problem. As Bjorn Lomborg has documented, without joining the “denier” camp yet, it’s just not true that weather is getting worse, and it’s certainly not hitting humans as hard as it used to. But climate policy is another story. As Paul Homewood notes about a British poll, “A staggering 70% of Brits say they are concerned about the financial impact of increased energy costs this Christmas, according to a new poll released today. This includes 79% of Labour voters… Meanwhile three in five (58%) UK adults say they would NOT be willing to pay higher taxes on their energy bills to help reach Net Zero targets including 49% of Labour and Green Party voters.” That’s what they see. Not climate breakdown, not unprecedented weather, and certainly not a warm winter. They see dangerously high energy prices.
As a story in news.co.uk just whined, “Climate change: UK public more worried than ever about global warming, but still doesn’t want to pay to fix it”. It’s puzzling, the reporter pouts, because “Some 83 per cent of the public are worried about climate change – with 45 per cent being extremely or very worried, according to a study of 5,665 people by Ipsos MORI and the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST). In 2020, 76 per cent were ‘worried’ while 39 per cent were very/extremely worried, while in 2016 60 per cent were worried and 25 per cent extremely worried, according to previous polls in the series.” And yet “a majority of the UK public support seven out of eight key net zero policies, in principle, while opposing increased taxes on meat and dairy. But a followup question asking them to consider making personal sacrifices, such as not being able to take a flight or missing out on a favourite food because it was wrapped in single-use plastic, found only one measure had majority support – charging more for environmentally-damaging products and services.”
That one gets a thumbs-up because you think it’s going to be someone else. Then you get sticker shock in the store or at the petrol station and turn on your government in a fury, civilized in some places and not in others like, say, Kazakhstan. And with a third of Britons telling a pollster they fear being unable to pay their energy bills this year, even Boris Johnson starts backpedalling, having belatedly discovered that if you raise the price of something to make people use less, it costs more and people can’t afford it, while European governments scramble to burn coal as energy prices go nuts and admit that nuclear and even natural gas are better than no energy at all and anoints them with green chrism.
Likewise, in a year-end denialism-has-ended-again-due-to-extreme-weather-evidence snoozer quoting such neutral observers as Katherine Hayhoe and Naomi Oreskes, Discover magazine says “Surveys show rising alarm about climate change. In a 2021 poll by George Mason and Yale universities, 70 percent of Americans surveyed said they were worried about global warming. A similar poll also showed growing bipartisan support for climate action, with 6 in 10 voters voicing support for ambitious climate and clean energy infrastructure legislation.” Yeah. Until they get the bill.
The climate frighteners are apparently struggling to align their ducks before the heating of the ocean makes them into duck soup. Michael Mann recently went ballistic about Marc Morano of Climate Depot, and someone else you might not expect, saying “Just a couple of weeks ago, after the Glasgow summit, one of the worst fossil fuel industry funded professional climate change deniers, Marc Morano, who has worked for decades to undermine public acceptance of the science and to prevent any action on climate, sent out this mass email where he happily quoted Greta Thunberg claiming that the process was a total failure, that the process is broken, and that there’s no hope.” So Marc and even Greta should shut up, leaving only, aw shucks, him.
In an attempt to be accommodating, Mann insists that “Greta’s heart is completely in the right place, she’s a real leader, and the youth climate movement has been such an important factor in why we’re seeing the progress that we are seeing, which is why we really have to watch out for what we say, because otherwise people like Morano will twist our words to feed this sort of doomist narrative that ‘oh, look, you know, even climate advocates have agreed that there’s nothing we can do. So the game is over’ and that’s just so dangerous.” So there’s no crisis?
The New York Times begs to differ. According to its “Postcards From a World on Fire” series, so not even slightly hyperbolic let alone hysterical, “Open your eyes: We have failed. The climate crisis is now.” It’s all over.
What opinion polls really tell us is the effectiveness of the campaign to make us all frightened about climate change. If all the general public hears from the media, day after day, is how bad climate change is and how we're all gonna die, then opinion polls will reflect this. However, if they look around them and see that weather conditions are much as they have always been, the result is a cognitive dissonance which is reflected in the fact that they are unwilling to do anything about it.
It is noticeable how more virulent and extreme the catastrophe porn merchants have become in recent years. The more of this porn we are fed, the more habituated we become to it and the more extreme it must be made to attract our attention. Be prepared for dire warnings of massive malaria-bearing wildfire-fed droughts flooding a district near you any time soon.