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And they want the government to do something about it

Researchers at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University conducted a survey that shows three out of four Americans believe in global warming and want the government to establish laws to stop it.


The survey was funded by the National Science Foundation and administered in June 2010 by Woods Institute Senior Fellow Jon Krosnick, a professor of communication and political science at Stanford University. From June 1-7, 1,000 randomly selected American adults were chosen to participate in the survey via telephone interviews. 

According to the June 2010 survey, 74 percent of Americans think the Earth's temperature probably has been heating up over the last 100 years, and 75 percent think human activity is the reason why. 

"Several national surveys released during the last eight months have been interpreted as showing that fewer and fewer Americans believe that climate change is real, human-caused and threatening," said Krosnick. "But our new survey shows just the opposite."

While the number of people who believe in global warming has increased, Krosnick says there are people who do not trust climate scientists and they "base their conclusions on their personal observations of nature." According to Krosnick, 2008 was the coldest year since 2000 in terms of average Earth temperature, and these "low-trust individuals were especially aware of the recent decline in average world temperatures" and "they were the ones in our survey whose doubts about global warming have increased since 2007."

"Our surveys reveal a small decline in the proportion of people who believe global warming has been happening, from 84 percent in 2007 to 74 percent today," said Krosnick. "Statistical analysis of our data revealed that this decline is attributable to perceptions of recent weather changes by the minority of Americans who have been skeptical about climate scientists."

The survey also included questions concerning the "climategate" controversy, where thousands of e-mails and other documents were leaked from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. Only nine percent of American's said they knew about this controversy and that it caused them to distrust climate scientists. Despite all the skeptics, there has been no decline in trust for environmental scientists.

Krosnick believes that the decline in proportion of people is likely temporary, and the skeptics will probably join the majority who think global warming is real if the Earth's temperature begins to rise again.

Out of those respondents who believe global warming exists, 86 percent want the government to "limit the amount of air pollution that businesses emit," 76 percent of respondents want government limitations on greenhouse gas emissions "generated by businesses" and 14 percent think the government should not take action at all unless other countries like China and India do so as well. Though, in the UK, Professor Seamus Garvey at the University of Nottingham has designed a plan to power the UK completely by renewable energy by 2030 through the use of off-shore energy farms.

Other survey results include four out of five participants wanting the government to offer tax breaks to encourage more fuel efficient vehicles, 84 percent want tax breaks for utilities that use more green methods for power generation, and 80 percent want more energy efficient appliances.

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RE: "Believe"
By geddarkstorm on 6/14/2010 1:58:32 PM , Rating: 0
Nope, belief is completely the right term until something has been proven. All science starts with observation from which a belief (hypothesis) is formulated. The only difference between scientific belief and any other sort is that it's falsifiable through testing.

That's another point people often forget. Science is built on the premise of DISPROVING not PROVING hypotheses/theories/beliefs.

RE: "Believe"
By bhougha10 on 6/14/2010 2:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
I think we have been comming out of an ice age for a while now. Call it global warming or not.
I don't know why this is so political. If you cut down all the rainforsts, you can expect some bad consequences. You have a zillion cars running, you can expect some there as well. Now we got China with 4 or 5 times the amount of people pumping out those special green house gases as you call them. We already sent all factories over to China and soon we won't be able to afford cars,so, I don't really know what the issue is anymore from the US perspective.

RE: "Believe"
By chunkymonster on 6/14/2010 2:52:06 PM , Rating: 5
Nope, belief is completely the right term until something has been proven. All science starts with observation from which a belief (hypothesis) is formulated. The only difference between scientific belief and any other sort is that it's falsifiable through testing

Sorry, wrong.

A hypothesis is not a belief, and never the two should meet!

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation based on observable and explainable events in an attempt to prove or disprove a theory.

Belief is a psychological state in which a person holds a proposition or premise to be true.

By interchanging "belief" with "hypothesis" it interjects personal opinion into the research and leads one to think that an outcome should be one thing or another rather than the self concluding and objective results of the research itself.

Science is and should remain objective.

RE: "Believe"
By Solandri on 6/14/2010 4:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
In theory that's how it's supposed to work. In practice, it really is a belief. One scientist believes in their pet theory, and dreams up experiments which can substantiate it, while making extra effort to criticize competing theories. Another scientist believes in a different pet theory, dreams up experiments which could support his theory, while making extra effort to criticize the theory advocated by the first scientist. The cumulative effect is that both theories get well thought-out and well-criticized, so there's no real loss.

In my experience, the difference is that science types are more willing than the general population to let go of a theory they believe in if evidence turns up disproving it or showing it to be highly unlikely. And they are honest enough with themselves that they are much less likely to ignore evidence which blatantly contradicts their pet theories when it turns up in their own experiments. But if they've already settled on a pet theory they believe in, trying to get them to even consider a different theory is just as difficult as with regular people. Propose a competing theory without direct evidence and scientists can be just as vindictive and belittling as neighborhood ladies gossiping.

RE: "Believe"
By DominionSeraph on 6/14/2010 11:19:31 PM , Rating: 2
What you're describing are equal theories -- explanations which both fit the available data. For two scientists on opposite sides to do a straight swap would be inefficient -- the original theorizer knows his theory the best and can therefore best determine when an attack hits home or when it misses. He is also the worst at coming up with ways to fail his theory -- all of his techniques for disproof have already been used in testing the hypothesis. So he's at an impasse for ideas. The fresh perspective of another person is needed to formulate new attacks.

To use "belief" to describe the position of a proponent of a theory is sloppily imprecise. Belief covers all positive levels of conviction, and is completely independent of level of intellectual honesty. The most delusional religious nutjob in the world believes, but that doesn't mean he has proposed and is honestly judging criticisms of a scientific theory.

Science should not be lumped in with the techniques of the unwashed masses.

RE: "Believe"
By geddarkstorm on 6/15/2010 1:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
No, now we are just quibbling over language use.

A hypothesis says "x influences/causes/affects y", we formulate that idea from an observation where something happened to implicate a connection between x and y, but it isn't proven nor substantiated, hence it's a hypothesis. But that's identical to "belief", hence why the two are commonly used interchangeably. A hypothesis is put forth assuming it is true and THEN the process attempts to disprove it. Only on failing to -disprove- the hypothesis (and succeeding to disprove the null hypothesis), does the idea become substantiated and move on to theory level.

Bias is not involved in the process itself, but can sadly easily crop up during the selection and utilization of the experiments used to test the hypothesis.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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