A new paper which looks at three separate studies shows that humanity’s understanding of climate change and global warming is at times unduly influenced by something as simple as how cold or warm it is on the day that they are asked.
Three separate studies surveyed about 1,200 people in the United States and Australia and found that those who thought the day was warmer than it should have been were more likely to believe in and feel concern about global warming than those who thought the day was unusually cold.
“Global warming is so complex, it appears some people are ready to be persuaded by whether their own day is warmer or cooler than usual, rather than think about whether the entire world is becoming warmer or cooler,” said lead author Ye Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Columbia Business School’s Center for Decision Sciences, which is aligned with CRED. “It is striking that society has spent so much money, time and effort educating people about this issue, yet people are still so easily influenced.”
Those campaigning to publicise awareness for the risks of letting climate change and global warming go unchecked have already had to deal with the outworkings of these findings. A general lack of understanding about how our planet’s environment works leads people to assume that they know more than they actually do.
Examples include people who dismiss global warming because there is a temporary cooling in affect.
The study, which appears in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science, notes that “these results join a growing body of work show that irrelevant environmental information, such as the current weather, can affect judgments. … By way of analogy, when asked about the state of the national economy, someone might look at the amount of money in his or her wallet, a factor with only trivial relevance.”
One need only look at the most recent Gallup poles to see again how irrelevance influences views on the environment. Most polls in the United States will show that voters who identify themselves as political liberals or Democrats are far more likely to believe in human-influenced climate change than those who label themselves conservatives or Republicans.
Other as yet unpublished studies have looked at the affect the actual current temperature has on respondents, either the natural temperature outside or within a room manipulated by the researchers, and found that real-time thermometer readings can affect what people think.
And though Democrats were more likely to believe in global warming than Republicans, and women were more likely to believe than men, when these factors were removed from the equation, the researchers found that perceived temperature still had nearly two-thirds the power as political belief and six times the power as gender.
What can be said for all of this?
I say, personally, that humanity should be left to deal with its idiocy because, at this point, I don’t think we’ve earned a respite from it.