Sunday, August 14, 2011

Willful Ignorance.

This very interesting study released earlier this year: Yale's Six Americas Report. It's really worth a look over. . .

The scope of the report:

This report extends and updates an ongoing program of research analyzing Americans’ interpretations of and responses to climate change. The research segments the American public into six audiences that range along a spectrum of concern and issue engagement from the Alarmed, who are convinced of the reality and danger of climate change, and who are highly supportive of personal and political actions to mitigate the threat, to the Dismissive, who are equally convinced that climate change is not occurring and that no response should be made. The Six Americas are not very different demographically, but are dramatically different in their beliefs and actions, as well as their basic values and political orientations. The groups were first identified in a nationally representative survey conducted in the fall of 2008, and were re-assessed in January and June of 2010. The current report is the fourth in the series; in it we provide new insights into the informational needs of the six groups, their understanding of the health impacts of global warming, beliefs about current environmental impacts of global warming in the U.S., and support for local adaptation and mitigation policies.

The crux of the issue, as I see it:

Of the Six Americas, the Dismissive were the most likely to say they are well-informed about global warming, with 91% saying they were very or fairly well-informed. Among the Alarmed, 85% said they were very or fairly well-informed, followed by two-thirds of the Concerned the Doubtful. The Disengaged were most likely to say they were not well-informed, with only 2% saying they were very well-informed.

Take the time to work through it. Unless, of course, you're one of those who already knows everything there is to know about the issue. . .


calinb said...

I'm skeptical of studies performed by academics who are funded and stroked by government. What is the purpose of this study anyway? Will the information be used to more effectively market propaganda to people and manipulate their beliefs? Clearly, the global warming boogieman stick is being used by government to frighten and control people and even roll out a new fiat currency called "carbon credits."

I'm not saying that global warming isn't happening (extreme climate change is quite evident in the geologic record) and I'm not even saying that there might possibly be a component of it produced by humans. Few people are in a position to evaluate the question without bias against the truth. I possess the humility to know that truth is elusive. I'm much more confident in my belief that the question is moot. There is absolutely no viable solution to global warming (if it even requires a solution) that's available to humankind, given human behavior, until after the meltdown. It's like government in this respect. There is no political solution to government growth, debt, and corruption either. Voting can’t fix it. The cancer will run its course and, given the resiliency of the human species, survivors will have an opportunity to rebuild an improved society from the ashes.

jaywfitz said...

Are you less skeptical of studies performed by acedemics who are funded and stoked by industry? Are you simply "doubtful" and skeptical of it all?

The truth is especially elusive if one has a vested interest in avoiding it. For me, the issue is completely practical. If I'm going to spend the capital to invest in planting fruit trees that will take ten years to bear, it's foolish to not take a personal look at the local data and see what trends may be making themselves manifest. The basic science behind climate change is accessible to any with a high school education, and the raw data is available to any here. The curiosity necessary to participate in the exercise is a matter of temperament mostly, and the ability to avoid it, mostly privilege. If there will be survivors, I'm pretty certain that they will be far more represented from the curious, informed and prepared than others.