They haven’t gone away, you know

Some extraordinary recent findings from an 11-year Gallup tracking poll of US public opinion regarding global warming. The question was framed as follows: ‘Thinking about what is said in the news, in your view is the seriousness of global warming generally Exaggerated, generally Correct or generally Underestimated?

The jaw-dropping findings are that, in the years since this question was first posed in 1998, the number of members of the US public who think global warming fears are “exaggerated” is at its highest ever level (41%), while conversely, the numbers who believe our concerns to be either correct or underestimated is at its lowest ever level, at 57%.

Eleven years ago, when the science was a great deal less clear about the nature and threats posed by global warming and climate change, only 31% of the US public thought such concerns to be exaggerated, while almost twice this number – 61% – felt concerns were correct or even understated.

What on earth has happened in the intervening decade to spread such as disastrous schism between the reality of an ever-deepening climate crisis and the growing but totally false public perception that we now have less, rather than more to fear from climate change?

In a word, politics. Nasty ultra-right wing Republican politics, to be more precise. It has mobilised a massive public disinformation campaign about global warming on a scale probably not seen since the Third Reich set about its systematic public propaganda campaigns in the mid-1930s to “condition” the German people for what their new leadership was planning.

Fully 66% of respondents to the Gallup poll who described themselves as ‘Republicans’ backed the notion that global warming fears were exaggerated. They are in thrall to a relentless right-wing US media, led by the odious Fox network and also heavily featuring conservative talk radio (or ‘hate radio) shows, fronted by millionaire demagogues such as Rush Limbaugh.

To see just how malignant this stuff can be, click below to view:

ThinkOrSwim is a blog by journalist John Gibbons focusing on the inter-related crises involving climate change, sustainability, resource depletion, energy and biodiversity loss
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