Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rob Maris suggests a new poll on Klimaazwiebel

Often it is claimed that warmists are those sort of people who are associated with progressive political parties (examples: US/democrats, DE/SPD, UK/Labour) while skeptics be associated with conservative parties or communities. Often, warmist's argumentations as well as skeptics' argumentations do contain such claims (mostly in a depreciative manner) as to underpin the argumentation. Having stated this, one could also postulate that climatic related articles, essays and books can be treated as more serious contributions to the debate when the author represents a political viewpoint that contradicts the usual assumption. Recent example: Claude Allègre's latest book ’L’imposture climatique’ (the climatic swindle). Claude Allègre is a former French minister with socialist/progressive political association. Indeed, a Dutch newspaper columnist treats his book as a valuable contribution, just because of this reason.

The new poll should provide a bit insight about the claim. Currently, we are not sure about the survey's arrangement, partially due to the fact that the current poll covers one part of this new poll. But of course the claim can only be verified when individual answer pairs (political/climatic viewpoint) are preserved for correlation. We prepared three poll alternatives. You are welcome to comment on these three alternatives formats and/or on details of proposed choices. Please do not discuss the claim itself. Comments are read until March, 5th. We take the comments into account and decide about the definitive poll arrangement.

Arrangement 1
Claim: "Warmists are politically progressive; deniers are politically conservative"
This correlation ...
- applies to me
- the reverse applies to me
- no correlation

Arrangement 2
I tend to roughly fit best into one of the following categories:
- warmist & politically progressive
- warmist & politically conservative
- doubter & politically progressive
- doubter & politically conservative
- sceptist & politically progressive
- sceptist & politically conservative
- no political association

Arrangement 3
Politically, I am closest to:
- progressive
- in between
- conservative
- no political association

In order to allow correlation with climatic viewpoints, we ask to fill out
the previous poll - slightly modified - again:
Regarding man-made influence, I am closest to:
- warmist
- doubter
- denier
- no opinion

Rob Maris, 28. February 2010


Georg said...

Well, in France political boundaries are a little less clear and nearly half of the recent "right" government are actually former "left" politicians. Allegre was a school boy friend of Lionel Jospin and I guess it's rather for this reason that he was in his government 8 years ago.

If you wanna have fun with his book have a look here. It's an incredible peace.

Antoon DV said...

which Dutch column columnist ?

Unknown said...

I am not interested in the poll either in the present form or the proposed forms, since the word "warmist" is "not in my dictionary". I belong to those who think global warming will likely be strong enough to warrant mitigation, but I do not belong to those who think it will likely be catatstrophic.

Also the meaning of the axis of political orientation is difficult to be shared among participants. Are dogmatic Marx-Leninists "conservative" or "progressive", for example? How about those who want to establish communes without money?

By the way, I have read a (Japanese translation of) a book by a French AGW-skeptic who is apparently politically very "left". (Parhaps the Socialist Party would seem conservative to him.)

Yves Lenoir, 2001: Climat de panique. Lausanne: Editions Favre.

The author is a geologist. His argument to doubt the science of AGW relied on Marcel Leroux, a descriptive climatologist. He suspected that the issue of AGW was framed up by technocrats who wanted to dominate the world.

I think that it is reasonable as a matter of social fact for people with anti-establishment feeling to doubt the emphasis on AGW by the government which strongly promotes nuclear power as in France.

In Japan, I do not find any fossil fuel lobbyists but some nuclear power lobbyists (who once used Lovelock's catastrophic outlook for their PR). So AGW-skepticism may sympathize with anti-nuclear-power activism here as well, though I do not discern strong actual correlation in either sign. At least one strong AGW-denier (A. Tsuchida) is also known as an anti-nuclear-power activist with anti-establishment passion.

Another Japanese author (M. Ezawa) of a books published in 2000 an 2005, a social scientist probably "left", was skeptic to AGW and suspects that it was overhyped by those capitalists who wanted to get monetary benefits by emission trade markets.

Marco said...

I think we'd need a very clear definition of "conservative" and "progressive" for this poll to even remotely work, and perhaps add much more possibilities.

Libertarians wouldn't put themselves in either group, for example.

dp said...

I'm aware of climate change. I'm not convinced it is unusual. I'm aware of rising CO2. I'm not convinced of a problem with it.

I read both alarmists and denialists claims - two terms I've learned to despise, btw, as they've both been applied to me by others. I'm neither - I'm simply not convinced anyone has the answers. The sum total of all the best minds is a draw.

And I don't buy the "do what is least threatening" argument, especially when it's going to cost trillions of dollars. That's a non-starter.

What are you people prepared to do with us mainstream citizens who are not convinced? Put that in your poll.

Rob said...

@ Antoon DV: ephimenco/Trouw

Hans von Storch said...

Most of you - Folks, you had it by now, making destructive comments, trying to shoot down a new idea. But now is the time to come up with constructive comments. Certainly, the idea of views on climate change and on political perspectives is interesting. -- Hans

@ReinerGrundmann said...

The Progressive-conservative distinction is not unambiguous across political cultures. Especially with regard to the environment, where left and right lost its defintive meaning after the rise of the green movment and green parties. Some think green is the new red, but not everyone agrees. The survey proposal seems to rest on this idea.

Since more than 30 years there are people who are influenced by environmental ethics and politics. This is a greater predictor of attitudes compared to left/right.

Mary Douglas and cultural theorists argued that when it comes to making hard decisions (about jobs v environment, for example), only those out of the firing line will stick to radical proposals. This means environmentalism has its social basis in the education sector and other relatively sheltered parts of society. It would be interesting to test such a proposal.

Unknown said...

I prefer Arrangement 2 but would like to phrase it slightly differently. In most countries (outside the US), there are strong Green and Liberal movements and associated political parties.

Where it might be easier to discern political attitudes across countries is in few, exemplary political questions. May I suggest these yes/no-questions and combine it with the warmist/denier question:
+ Do you think that your Government should introduce minimum wages?
+ Do you think that gays/lesbians should be allowed to get married?
+ Do you think that there should be a time limit in proceedings relating to the permission to build new roads, bridges and energy infrastructure?

The first question might serve as a proxy to identify more leftist economic ideas. The second is a proxy for political libertanianism, the third one a proxy for the relationship between economic and ecological primacy in decision making. The three questions together might help to span the space of political positions sufficiently well.

P Gosselin said...

You only need to ask:
Do you personally, directly benefit from alternative energy and cap & trade?
And then follow up with:
Do you believe in significant AGW?
Gee, I wonder if you'll find a correlation there! Both socialists and conservatives stand to benefit from AGW. There's a huge amount of money in the game.
Scientists get their funding and influence, fund managers expand their portfolios, carbon credits are bought and sold, and on it goes.
The pro-AGW public opinion is one that has been bought off by big money.

Whatever poll is done, it absolutely has to include: Do you benefit monetarilly from alternative energy or cap & trade or government funding to study climate science?

P Gosselin said...

For people who are not benefitting from AGW business, try asking:
1. Is life becoming better on the planet? No 1 2 3 4 5 7 Yes
2) Is man causing global warming?
No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Yes

My answer to No. 1 would be 5.
And my answer to No. 2 would be 2.

I think there is a correlation between a person's optimism for the future and how he feels about AGW. Pessimists tend to believe more in AGW. That's my hypothesis. It's based on lots of discussions I've had with people.

ghost said...


to 1: based on my experience in web forums and blogs: works especially good for active, extreme conservative persons. These persons really, really parrot every junk from blogs and Inhofes propaganda office. EVERYTHING, EVERY DAY. I have never seen this behavior from "warmists" (see 2).

to 2: not sure, what warmist means. I believe in science (there is an influence of mankind, and the influence will increase). I check it as far as I can or try to read many opinions and classifications of the works, without the big picture, you cannot assess single works.

I do not believe every disaster-warming connection claim in the media and I elect the Greens. First option, I assume.

to 3 green, is this progressive? I think so.

to 4. see 2.

ghost said...


Georgia Tech is really nice :D Here she is:

Rob said...

I'd suggest that your enumeration applies to the 4 selection questions (to be precise: the latter two together form the 3rd proposal).

1) a problem with nearly every poll (but thanks for your 'warmist' hint - perhaps explains the current poll result a bit). I'd stress that this poll proposal solely serves to get an impression. That's also the reason not to offer more granularity ...

3)... for this reason "green" is not explicitly mentioned, but supposed to be close to "progressive".

2) warmist: I read this complaint generally more often. Please recall: it is considered a sort of shortcut for believers in more or less AGW.

Peter Heller said...

@ Hans von Storch:

Do you really think, that the German SPD is a „progressive“ party? In fact, their political strategies are based on the assumption, that society is made up by different social stratums, with strong boundaries between not easy to cross by the people. From that point of view, the SPD is (together with “Die Linke”) the most conservative party in Germany. ;)

First: In my opinion the political aspects in the AGW-debate differ between the USA and Britain on the one side, and continental Europe on the other. In the USA and Britain the skeptics are linked to the conservative parties, in continental Europe to the liberal parties. The only democratic party in Germany, for example, where skeptics are represented in the moment is the FDP. This essay by Holger Krahmer, who is a member of the European parliament for the FDP, could be handled as an indication:

Second: An important aspect of the debate is the handling of technological advance. “Warmist parties” (in Germany CDU/CSU, SPD, Grüne (Greens), Linke) could be characterized as such dividing between “morally good” (“supoorted”) technologies (wind power, electric cars, solar power) and “morally bad” (“defeated”) technologies (biotechnology, nuclear power, internal combustion engines driven by fossil fuels). The other important aspect are the economic strategies. “Warmist parties” could be characterized as such regulating the supplier as well as the customer side of the market. In difference the Libertarian parties do not differentiate between technologies (all are “good”, as long as they work and are able to support economic growth) and they do not intend to regulate the supplier side of the markets.

Third: In my opinion “progressive” and “liberal” do have the same meaning.

I am a “liberal skeptic” or a “progressive skeptic”. Therefore I would like arrangement 2 for the next poll. In order to avoid confusion with the different meanings of “liberal” and “progressive” in different countries, you should use three categories instead of two: “liberal”, “conservative” and “left”.

Rob said...

@ Peter Heller:
according to your profile link to your web site, you're a native german speaker. Perhaps this explains some trouble in the terms used. The problem with the terms left/right is that is is not that common everywhere. Progressive/conservative represents the same scheme - as far as I can judge this.
At this time it arises as a serious problem to find an appropriate poll text that is understood by everybody... I'm confident that we'll capture it.

Regarding your suggestion about correlationship tendencies in anglo-countries compared to central Europe: I'd take the nationality question also into account, when the poll will (ever) start.

Peter Heller said...

@ Rob

"according to your profile link to your web site, you're a native german speaker"

Yes, I am.

Thanks for your explanation. Yes, I do have the tendency to use english words in their "german meaning" (in Germany we call it "Germanismus").

Therefore I used "progressive" as "modern" or "forward-looking" with respect to technological advantages independent of their content.

It maybe the best choice, not to use left/right. But I do need the category "liberal" to be able to characterize myself. I know, in the USA "liberal" is used by the Republicans to debase the Democrats. In my opinion, neither the Reps, nor the Dems are "liberal". I do not know any english word describing my opinion better.

Peter Heller said...

@ Rob

"according to your profile link to your web site, you're a native german speaker"

Yes, I am.

Thanks for your explanation. Yes, I do have the tendency to use english words in their "german meaning" (in Germany we call it "Germanismus").

Therefore I used "progressive" as "modern" or "forward-looking" with respect to technological advantages independent of their content.

It maybe the best choice, not to use left/right. But I do need the category "liberal" to be able to characterize myself. I know, in the USA "liberal" is used by the Republicans to debase the Democrats. In my opinion, neither the Reps, nor the Dems are "liberal". I do not know any english word describing my opinion better.

Hans Erren said...

In dutch on line vote-helpers (eg kieskompas) political parties are grouped two dimensional:
1 government-free market is the classic left-right
2 Conservative-progressive is the othe axis

A dutch "liberaal" is a conservative free marketeer, which would equate to an american republican, a british conservative and a german CSU (?).
for a schema google for
"two dimensional political spectrum" images

Most people don't like extreme political views.

I think you should do the pielke Sr poll.

LostinFife said...

I think the poll regarding your readers' general opinion of AGW is missing a few categories. Presumably, deniers are your fanatics on the anti-AGW side but you're missing the pro-AGW fanatics. I split the groups into

Strongly political and fanatic. As they believe religiously in the science, any dissenting views must be motivated by political and/or financial aims.

Ongoing warming will lead to Thermageddon in x years. Preferred strategies are radical bio-engineering and socio-political solutions.

Warming has negative impacts.

Solutions are long term strategies aimed at renewable energy, sustainability, emissions reduction. Science is settled in all important questions, minor aspects need to be investigated.

CO2 causes limited warming which may or may not be damaging.

Apart from the very basics of climate science, it is not settled enough for definitive statements. Prefer more research which is openly debated using data, code, methods freely shared after publication.

Some disagreement about what should be done about warming if it proves to be bad. Openminded towards emission control, renewables, sustainability as long as costs are properly taken into account

Focused on the science. Question some or all aspects of AGW, majority have no problem with the basic science but strongly doubt both the amount of warming caused by more CO2 and the consequences of any warming. Many also question the instrumental temperature record as regards data collection and processing; doubtful about paleo data.

Strongly critical of policies usually suggested to fight AGW esp as costs tend to be downplayed and benefits exaggerated.

As alarmists, die-hards are strongly political and fanatical. Focused on politics and motives. Strongly critical of the UN and progressive parties in general. Suspect conspiracies and corruption, believe policies are aimed at political change. Energy independence is seen as a desirable aim, nonetheless.

Environmentalists. Couldn't care less about the science as long as major population groups finally learn to care about the planet. Hoped to make environmental causes a mainstream concern; now want to keep it that way. Benefited from much better funding thanks to AGW. Stand to lose out badly if AGW is discredited (whether justified or not) as environmental movement now inseperably linked to AGW.

For the record, I am a very skeptical lukewarmer with a bit of opportunism thrown in - I still think funding renewables and a more sustainable society are good for the environment in the long term.

According to the political compass, the only parties anywhere near my political leanings are the Green Party and "Die Linke" but I feel disenfranchised with all mainstream parties. The party I find least offputting at the moment are the liberal democrats (in the UK).

Anonymous said...

Good design in all three, and good variation from simple to complex. I think the third would be best, if the more complex code or analysis can be done. The third option also makes it easier to add some more variations without being combinatorially explosive.

Unknown said...

In my view of Japanese society, the major axis of political orientations seems to be "market economy fundamentalism (cheap government)" vs. "welfare state policy (big government)". The current cabinet claims to be a little welfare-oriented than the previous one.

I do not find obvious correlation between attitudes with respect to AGW and this axis. (This is a subjective statement. I have not made any statistical studies.)

An interpretation that "conservative" = "market economy fundamentalism", and "progressive" = "welfare state policy" is possible.

But, I do not want to promote that interpretation. Rather, those terms suggest several different systems in moral values. Very tentatively I try to describe some of them.

Conservatism-1: revival of traditional values of de-centralized local rural communities.

Conservatism-2: centralized nationalism, possibly including nostalgia for the imperial times.

Conservatism-3: pursuit of material benefits of one's own local community. Locally moral (taking care of neighbors), nationally a-moral (don't care political fairness).

Progressivism-1: promotion of modern social systems; fair, mechanistic, economistic, bureaucratic. Nationally moral, locally a-moral.

Progressivism-2: belief in benefits of technology-driven innovation. (Sub-types: Some believe that good innovation will happen anyway, others think strong policy is needed. This sub-axis must be important in the issue of AGW.)

Progressivism-3: human right activism.

I am not sure how many axes are needed to analyze these. Attitudes towards foreign people may be another axis.

Rob said...

Thanks to Hans Erren for the political landscapes' two-dimensional view.
I suggest that Kooiti MASUDA's description can be helpful in the explanation text with the poll. BTW: his description covers the kieskompas' axis with most deviation. BTW: Pielke Sr poll seems closed...

Momo attends on a suggestion that 'climatic' extremes tends to be more political. I think it makes sense to use this fine granularity with the poll (where I would replace die-hard by denier).

At this time I agree with Anonymous: third poll Arrangement, with at least two dimensions political and the 'climatic' question, finally accompanied by nationality, as was also suggested.

Hans Erren said...

here is a clickable
pielke sr poll

AnonyMoose said...

A suggestion for another poll, one which Steven Colbert just used:
"This is not a scientific poll.
Is this a scientific poll?