Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Knowing When It's Warm, or Not

The Pew Center tries to tease out why there has been a significant drop in the sense of danger people feel about climate change.  In the report, one graph stands out:
Why do fewer Americans believe the earth is warming? No single factor emerges from Pew Research Center surveys, but rather a range of possible explanations, including a sour economy and, perhaps, a cooler than normal summer in parts of the United States.
Makes sense.  People know based in a large part on personal experience, so a cooler-than-normal summer means you'd have more doubts about global warming, at least enough of a doubt to say so in a survey.

And people engage in interesting mental calculus.  If the economy sucks, and global warming is going to cost us more to fix, then we can put off global warming until the economy improves.  Do the math and you're less concerned about global warming.  Bingo!

The table below includes the "intriguing finding" that maybe weather played a factor.  Decide for yourself, but there seems to be some small association here.  You'd have to track this over time to really tap into it.  An interesting idea.

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