Survey results spun to fit warmist agenda

Lots of spin

The Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC are spruiking a new survey that they claim shows scepticism is on the way out. Take this from the Herald:

Climate change sceptics are an endangered species in Australia, a national survey shows.

The survey of almost 3100 Australians found 74 per cent believe the world’s climate is changing.

When asked a different question about the causes of climate change, which removed the reference to personal beliefs, 90 per cent of respondents said human activity was a factor.

Just 5 per cent said climate change was entirely caused by natural processes.

Overall, less than 6 per cent of respondents could reasonably be classified as true climate change sceptics, the study by Griffith University researchers found.

“It’s clear that people want the government to do something about climate change and they also feel they have a personal responsibility to act,” environmental and social psychologist Professor Joseph Reser said. (source)

Or this from the ABC:

A national survey reveals most Australians believe in, and are concerned about, climate change.

The study by Queensland’s Griffith University surveyed more than 3,000 Australians across the country and found 74 per cent believe the world’s climate is changing and 90 per cent believe human activities are playing a role.

The research found less than 6 per cent of Australians are true climate change sceptics.

Griffith University Professor Joseph Reser says the results show public opinion has been greatly misrepresented in the media. (source)

What they have sneakily done here is to redefine the word “sceptics” to mean only those who believe humans have no influence whatsoever on the climate. This, of course, is utter nonsense, as the vast majority of sceptics acknowledge that human activity has some effect on climate. So before we even start, commonly used terminology has been misused to make it appear that sceptics are dwindling – phew, say Herald and ABC editors.

And when you look at the actual results, they also tell a very different story (as always). Here is the key question from the original report (source – 1MB PDF):

Q9. Thinking about the causes of climate change, which, if any, of the following best describes your opinion?

  • Climate change is entirely caused by natural processes: 4.9%
  • Climate change is mainly caused by natural processes: 12.6%
  • Climate change is partly caused by natural processes and partly by human activity: 45.8%
  • Climate change is mainly caused by human activity: 27.6%
  • Climate change is entirely caused by human activity: 4.2%

Which would I be in? Somewhere in the middle of the 12.6% that climate change is mainly caused by natural processes and the 45.8% who say climate change is partly caused by natural processes and partly by human activity. So according to the Herald and the ABC, I’m not a sceptic – and I run a climate sceptic blog! Hilarious.

So without our warmist goggles on, let’s interpret the results a different way, shall we?

  • Less than a third of the population think that climate change is mainly or entirely caused by human activity (31.8%)
  • Almost twice that number think that climate change is mainly or partly caused by natural processes (58.4%)

So in reality, the survey shows a healthy scepticism of the claim that human activity is predominantly to blame for climate change. But that doesn’t fit the warmist agenda does it?

Another result was that 85% of respondents were either fairly or very concerned that electricity would become unaffordable in the future. But strangely, that result didn’t make it into the Fairfax or ABC articles…


  1. You forgot to mention who commissioned the poll…

    “The survey was commissioned by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and funded by the federal government’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency’s Climate Change Adaptation Research Grants program.”

    And also, I wonder why they possibly took so long to release the results?

    “The survey was carried out in June and July last year, with the results released today.”

    I wonder why they didn’t release them at the time? Surely it doesn’t take that long to tabulate the results?

  2. I also should have answered, “Climate change is partly caused by natural processes and partly by human activity”, and I too maintain sceptical blogs (wherein I assert, “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is a complete con, a fraudulent, pseudo-scientific scam”).
    For wickedly biassed push-polling, see “a href=””>here.

  3. fred nerk says:

    Aunty and the Herald you have to be kidding Dumb and Dumber more likely .Their survey sounds like a computer model(garbage in garbage out)THE AUSTRALIANS I KNOW ARE NOT THAT STUPID.unless they work for the ABC or the Herald.Cheers everyone and enjoy our wonderful varied climate

    • Yes, and unless you’re still sharing that “Climate Scientists” rap video around on Facebook, and just don’t “get” the criticism.

  4. Andy G55 says:

    If they REALLY believe this, then why not put it to an election, they would be bound to win… NOT !!!

  5. Roy Morgan has a new poll, conducted this week. Worth a read, though his phone polls have a high margin of error. Only 742 phoned in this case.

  6. horacemonster says:

    How can 74% believe the climate is changing and 90% believe that humans are a factor. That suggests at least 16% blame humans (to some degree) for climate change but don’t actually believe climate change is occurring. Unless of course, they believe its all made up!

  7. gyptis444 says:

    As usual the AGW camp is knowingly deceiptful. A psychology 101 student would know that the question has been deliberately framed to produce the answer they want. Interesting timing too. Why would anyone consider that survey results over a year old have any relevance to current attitudes after extensive discussion in the blogosphere and elsewhere? Confirms how desperate Gillard’s Gang is to ‘persuade’ the electorate when Australians are overwhelmingly opposed to Government policy on carbon tax – 2:1 opposed:approving.

  8. Cliff Maurer says:

    The principal author of the observational study, ecopsychologist Joseph Reser has form as a propagandist. It’s informative to read his 1988 paper in the journal Knowledge in Society “When ignorance is adaptive: Not knowing about the nuclear threat”. Here’s a quote from a more recent (2009) interview of Reser published in the US journal Ecopsychology:-

    “Literally, climate change in terms of changes in atmospheric climate patterns, planet Earth, is not what people mean when they talk about climate change. They’re talking about the socially constructed threat and devastation that’s on the horizon”

    Hardly scientific detachment. Little wonder that the survey responses were misconstructed to support a catastrophist argument.

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