German Survey Produces Misleading View Of Skeptics…Designed To Skew Results/ Marginalize Climate Dissenters

Spiegel here reports on the results of a new recently published survey on how Germans view climate change.

The cooked study (yes, I think the survey is very dubious) was conducted by Engels et al.  The dressed-up as science survey comes from the cabal of usual warmist suspects.

According to Spiegel, based on a telephone survey of 3000 people conducted in 2011, only 7% of Germans are “climate skeptics”. The survey asked to what extent people agreed to the following 4 statements based on a scale of 1 to 5 (1= totally agree; 5= absolutely do not agree). My own ratings are in parentheses:

1. Climate change is now happening. (1)
2. Climate change is caused by man. (2)
3. Climate change is a serious problem. (1)
4. Climate science is unanimous that there is climate change is taking place. (1)

Gee, I’m not a skeptic! That sure is news to me.

But then again, climate change is always occurring; everyone knows that. And it is a serious problem, especially when it cools. Statement No. 2 is just too vague. Sure man causes climate change, e.g. through landuse.

Clearly the statements are loaded to produce a certain misleading perception. Many skeptics would assign a number of 1 or 2 to every statement above. Such surveys never ask if climate science exaggerates 5 = a lot or 1 = not at all. The results of that of course wouldn’t fit the narrative.

Spiegel writes:

Only two percent said they absolutely did not agree to Statement 1, five percent for “generally do not agree”. A similar result was recorded for the third Statement, i.e. on the perception of possible consequences of climate change. […]

In the USA there are considerably more skeptics – and ‘total deniers’, say the scientists at the University of Hamburg.”

It is true that a vast majority of Germans believe that today’s climate change (though temps haven’t risen in 15 years) is mostly due to man. Yet, the results could be interpreted as an indication that skepticism and the climate discussion are in fact massively suppressed by institutions in Germany. The Engels et al survey just happens to follow the recently released brochure by the German Ministry of Environment, which tried to declare the climate science debate over, went on to issue a blanket dismissal of climate skeptics, even going so far to blacklist prominent Germans skeptics. The dubious Engels et al Survey is just the latest in a series of propoganda attempts to bully, portray and marginalize climate skeptics as fringe operators.

If the survey’s portrayal of skeptics were indeed accurate, then why go through all the trouble of devoting so many resources to marginalize this supposedly tiny gaggle of fringe dissenters? To the contrary, skeptics of a man-made climate catastrophe are far more widespread than what the survey would have us believe.

The paper’s abstract states that the authors “looked for systematic linkages between public climate-change skepticism on one hand, and energy preferences and political participation on the other. Germany is an interesting testbed as it is currently involved in a large-scale restructuring of its system of energy supply toward renewable energy sources (the ‘Energiewende’). Our results indicate that climate-change skepticism has not diffused widely in Germany, but that it correlates with less support of renewable energy sources.”

Firstly I’d be very careful about basing any conclusion on such a sloppy survey. Secondly, alternative energies are unpopular among skeptics because of 1) their high price, 2) their supply instability, 3) they aren’t really doing anything for the climate, and 4) the expensive and unreliable renewable energies were legitimized by a highly dubious science that has been manipulated by special interests and powerful lobby groups. Of course they are going to correlate.

The survey comments on the “political participation” by the skeptics:

However, skepticism correlates negatively with political participation, and there is no strong political outlet for public climate-change skepticism in Germany.

This statement is very vague, perhaps purposely so. Skeptics are very much politically active in Germany. However, they have been severely suppressed and denied a voice. They are often denied the microphone or space in the print media. Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning were dragged through the mud for weeks and months, only because they presented a non-catastrophic view. In the USA, on the other hand, a number of politicians and media outlets have been openly sympathetic to skeptic views and a balanced discussion. This is not the case in dogmatic Germany.

As the recent brochure by the German Ministry of Environment shows, skeptics are not welcome and definitely should not be heard. And now the Engels et al survey falsely suggests that we are too small to be taken seriously.

In the end Germany is going to do what it wants. However, it should ask itself if it is wise to continue down the “Great Transformation” path when the rest of the world focusses on shale gas and adopts a serious CO2 climate sensitivity value for policy making. If not, Germany risks pricing itself out of the global market. Right now very few countries are impressed by Germany’s tattered renewable energy revolution, and are less likely than ever to follow its lead.

 

2 responses to “German Survey Produces Misleading View Of Skeptics…Designed To Skew Results/ Marginalize Climate Dissenters”

  1. Dolf

    My answers would score the same; a score of all 5’s would not indicate a skeptic either – it would be a lunatic !

  2. DirkH

    “Our results indicate that climate-change skepticism has not diffused widely in Germany, but that it correlates with less support of renewable energy sources.””

    I would not be surprised if they have not corrected for the covariate known as “degree of knowledge about energy infrastructure”. I would be very surprised if they have.