What do you think about how bad climate change is?

Turns out you think it is very bad indeed. The pre-Christmas survey shows that almost all of you think it is either Bad or Terrible. There are a couple of doubters, and the survey didn’t ask this question of those who didn’t think climate change is man-made in the first place. So, basically, if you think climate change is man-made, you think it is bad.

Team JB Survey - How BadThis is interesting because it means that to persuade someone that climate change is a big problem, all you need to do is to persuade them that it is real. If you are representative. I may be over-generalising. Seems logical though.

I think it is significant that those that are less certain of the reality of man-made climate change are also less concerned about how bad it could be.

Team JB Survey - Certainty vs ScaleSo, what is it that makes someone feel that climate change is terrible, rather than merely bad? The language I used in the survey may be significant. I said that Bad meant more extreme weather, sea-level rise and eco-systems under threat, whereas I used more emotive language to describe Terrible, in terms of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I suspect that those who marked it as Terrible, including myself, are more emotionally engaged with the issue.

For me, it is the unease I described in my video post that creates that emotion. We are moving out of the natural climactic cycles into something new and unknown, and we are doing so very quickly. The graph below of carbon dioxide levels illustrates the point. When I first saw this graph, I thought the bit at the right had been squished. It hasn’t.

CO2_concentration_800k_years_and_to_2100Why did you put Terrible, or Bad? Or something else?

John Bell

Ordinary Bloke

PS – should I keep calling myself that?


4 thoughts on “What do you think about how bad climate change is?

  1. Hi John
    Interesting post – shame such small numbers – makes conclusions really tricky.

    I think most people do realise *something* big is coming but feel powerless.

    Kind of along the lines of Adam Curtis’ ‘oh-dearism’ theory? Recycling seems like a drop in the ocean (along with the suspicion it all goes into landfill anyway). Public transport is too difficult and horrible. “Why can’t I treat myself to strawberries in winter!?” You have to wait until it snows to see if there’s heat haemorrhaging through your roof. Politicians mostly play it down adding to the apathy we allow ourselves. Clarkson gets more column inches than Lucas. etc etc (I found myself having a conversation recently with someone who thought wind turbines were some kind of green conspiracy!)
    I can totally understand why there’s a lack of motivation. And, to be honest, I can understand why the green agenda isn’t trusted in the same way some people look at how gleefully the Torys make cuts with every reason given except ideology.
    I was an activist as a student (CND amongst others) but don’t see the mantle being picked up – maybe because the thought of being nuked is a starkly terrifying prospect Whereas death by storms, floods… all very gradual???

    • Answers to other questions to the survey reveal the sorts of information you suspect. There is an activist movement out there (Frack Off, No Tar Sands etc), but it needs to be more widespread. The UK Power Shift I am helping organise for April aims to help bring out how much is going on all over the UK, and to link it to the global movement.

  2. Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans in 2005 made me realise just how bad the effects of climate change will be. People were left with no food or water for days causing a breakdown in law and order.
    On this occasion things were brought under control when the Government finally woke up and swung into action. How long will it be before Governments are unable to help!

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