The cooling of climate change

As the media have been reporting today, the annual Lowy Institute public opinion survey shows that whatever is happening to the planet, climate change as an issue is cooling.

There were signs of this in an August Morgan poll, but its finding that the proportion of respondents believing that climate concerns were exaggerated had doubled since 2006 was ambiguous. As I suggested at the time, this could be a reaction to the relentless and seemingly hyperbolic predictions of doom over that time, rather than showing any real gains by the sceptics.

One of the Lowy questions does however suggest that the sceptics, while still being a small minority, are gaining ground. The proportion of respondents agreeing with the proposition that until we are sure climate change is a problem we should not take costly actions has nearly doubled, from 7% to 13%.

Despite passionate debates about climate science among activists (please don’t re-run them in comments), this isn’t the main political issue. Rather, that is how much pain the electorate is prepared to suffer to solve a problem that an overwhelming majority (76% in the latest Lowy survey) say is real. Continue reading “The cooling of climate change”