On the Environment, the Alarmists Are Still Losing

Americans may be "evolving" on many fronts, but the issue of energy is less open to emotional appeals.

All that money. All that effort. All the sermonizing and bloodcurdling imagery and still, Americans don't seem to be evolving quickly enough on the environment.

A new poll by Pew Research Center, for instance, finds that a wide majority of Americans support building the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil to refineries in Texas. Sixty-six percent of Americans favor finishing the pipeline, with only 23 percent in opposition. Strong support cuts through every political distinction—other than "liberal" Democrats.

The Obama administration, which likes to count every organism that's even tangentially connected to a clean-energy project as a "green job," has dismissed the job-producing prospects of the long-delayed pipeline as overblown. Perhaps. But cheap and abundant energy certainly helps save and/or create more jobs than any stimulus that was dreamed up in Washington.

Nearly half of Americans also support the increase use of fracking—a major innovation in productivity that helps protect the environment. This is a remarkable percentage when you consider the widespread scaremongering we've witnessed on the issue.

Global warming? According to Pew, 69 percent of Americans say there is solid evidence that the earth's average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades. But you'll notice something more interesting when you break the numbers down.

Among those who see the irrefutable scientific evidence of global temperatures rising, only 42 percent believe that most of it should be attributed to human activity. In fact, when you break it down, 23 percent of Americans believe that natural patterns in the earth's environment are heating the earth, and another 27 percent don't believe there is any solid evidence of warming at all. The more appropriate question would be: Do you believe in man-made global warming? The answer: Less than half of Americans would say yes. That, even after the unrelenting cultural, educational and political bombardment we've all had to endure on the topic.

And though 33 percent of Americans believe that global warming is a "very serious" problem, that number has declined by 6 points since October 2012.

The crusade to convince us that global warming can only be dealt with by wealth destruction and higher energy prices began with an effort to "raise awareness," which turned into some delicate nanny-state prodding before efforts to artificially inflate prices. You might remember that cap-and-trade legislation was a top priority for the president. The administration employed a number of extremists—from science czar Dr. John Holdren, who once advocated for mass sterilizations, to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who once advocated raising gas prices to match those in Europe—to press the case.

What's next? Shame. Those who don't buy the apocalyptic plotline are, at worst, deniers—with all the immorality that signifies—or, at best, quacks. Take a recent survey from lefty pollsters at Public Policy Polling of 20 "widespread and/or infamous conspiracy theories." It found that 6 percent of voters believe Osama bin Laden is still alive, 7 percent of voters think the moon landing was faked, 5 percent of voters believe that Paul McCartney actually died in 1966, and so on.

The survey also found that 37 percent of voters believe global warming is a hoax and 51 percent do not, as if ridiculous conspiracies, easily disprovable, were the same as a theory that has been overhyped and manipulated for political ends. Americans may be "evolving" on so many fronts, but the issue of energy is less open to emotional appeals and pandering. Progressives, then, still have their work cut out for them.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "Progressives, then, still have their work cut out for them."

    Stupid proles - they cling, bitterly, to their lights, autos, AC and appliances.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    You can pry my a/c from my cool dry hands...

  • Sevo||

    So Obozo is in SF last evening raking in the dough for the perpetual campaign, and he is hosted by some nutball billionaire greeny:
    "Obama acknowledged that the issue of climate change is "close to Tom's [Tom being the nutcase] heart," but added, "the politics of this are tough."
    "If you've still got that factory job that is powered by cheap energy ... and you certainly can't afford to buy a Prius," he said, "you may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it's probably not rising to your No. 1 concern," Obama said. The main concern remains, he said, "how do I feed my family.""
    Tom, of course, doesn't give a hoot about this; he's awright, Jack.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/politics.....z2PVpgY1XU

  • phandaal||

    This line is great: "But by the time the president arrived, many of the protestors had fled the cold."

    Into their heated homes, no doubt.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    heated by solar or geothermal or dung fueled stoves, yes?!

  • Sevo||

    And it was *COLD* here last night; pretty sure it got down to the low 50s!
    (Pretty sure the dedicated ones sat there in their idling cars so they could hold up the posters)

  • Virginian||

    That's really it. The green energy fuckheads use the products they claim to hate every fucking day.

    Being against oil, gas, and coal in a modern society is like being against woven cloth or mass produced cleaning products.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "being against woven cloth or mass produced cleaning products."

    Ever smelled any of these Occupy types?!

  • ||

    "If you've still got that factory job that is powered by cheap energy ... and you certainly can't afford to buy a Prius,

    umm pretty sure an factory worker in the US is driving some huge pickup truck that costs about 50k

    They can afford a Prius.

  • ToddE||

    As the recent article in The Economist showed, the scientific tide is turning against the alarmist position. CAWG theory is about to go the way of most of its pseudo-scientific predecessors like Y2K, Acid Rain, Mass Starvation, Pluto, Vaccine Autism, Eugenics and Global Cooling.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    LEAVE PLUTO OUT OF THIS, YOU MONSTER!

  • Dweebston||

    But now we have plutoids in honor of our former ninth planet. I've never heard of a neptoid or uranoid, have you?

  • Rasilio||

    That's because Preparation H got rid of all the uranoids

  • cavalier973||

  • ||

    No shit.

    Pluto is big, orbits around the sun, its orbit is circular.

    Looks like a planet to me.

    Fuck the police!

    Jupiter and Saturn far more different from earth and mars then Pluto is from earth and mars.

    Soon they will call gas giants cold stars and all rocky planets moons.

  • ||

    Mass Starvation

    People still talk about the population bomb and mass starvation.

    For some reason this one still has large resonance.

  • Sevo||

    The catastrophists have to prove five things to succeed:
    1) The climate is warming/changing
    2) That effect is caused primarily by man's activities
    3) It will cause a catastrophe
    4) They have a solution
    5) That solution won't be worse than the problem.
    I'll buy in on #1, and I'll accept that man's activities have some effect. I'm a "denier".

  • Dweebston||

    Pretty much what I'm thinking. The leap of faith getting to one is somewhat lower than 2, considerably lower than 3, and axiomatic truth compared to 5.

    Four is granted. They start with the solution; getting there is the game.

  • Rasilio||

    The real problem for them comes in at #3.

    While there is absolutely no doubt that #1 is true and the data is mixed on #2 the problem is there has never been any actual science backing #3, and very questionable climate models which are not able to predict past events don't count as science.

    4 and 5 are even worse of course because they don't ever even bother to address them and instead spin scare stories about it already being too late and all we can do is hope to mitigate the damage some

  • Sevo||

    ..."and very questionable climate models which are not able to predict past events don't count as science."
    There's a greater problem, and it's the same issue that makes Ehrlich an ignoramus: The presumption that humans will not react to new circumstances.
    Ehrlich never figured out that humans are not the maze-rats in his laboratory.

  • albo||

    I have natural gas heat in PA, home of NE fracking. I paid $80 for gas last month. I don't think any of our bills all winter were above $100 a month.

    God bless fracking. Gas is the one thing that's decreased in price the past several years. (Have you seen the price of hamburger? It's more expensive than pork or chicken.)

  • ||

    Corn-fed beef.

  • ||

    a number of extremists—from science czar Dr. John Holdren, who once advocated for mass sterilizations, to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who once advocated raising gas prices to match those in Europe

    When put next to mass sterilization raising gas prices to be comparable to Europe does not seem so "extreme".

    Note: Tony, a progressive environmentalist who often comments here, has advocated for government mandated birth control.

  • Russell||

    By definition, half of any population has a lower than average intelligence quotient.

    That's 50 % of Americans.

    27% don't believe in in global warming
    23% believe warming represents nature at work

    Total: 50%

    In some places this is known as the unreasonable power of mathematics.

  • Homple||

    You've pointed out the most important fact about human society and behavior.

    To be precise, half the population has below MEDIAN intelligence, but nobody should ever forget this when looking at polls, election results, human behavior, life choices, entertainment preferences, or anything else humans do or think about.

  • Homple||

    And now, we just have to figure out which side the dummies are coming down on.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement