Archive for January, 2010

Flying and taxes

Posted in Bad polling, Climate Sock, Transport on January 24th, 2010 by leo – Comments Off on Flying and taxes

A few months ago, the pro-aviation campaign group, Flying Matters, released results from their poll of voters in marginal seats, showing strong opposition to the then-forthcoming increase in Airline Passenger Duty.

An industry poll showing that people don’t like taxes imposed on their industry isn’t particularly interesting. It’s not unusual either: aviation is an area where almost all the polling seems to be pretty unconvincing, with questionnaires structured to lead respondents to answer a particular way. In fact, I’m yet to see only one interesting and credible finding in the various reported polls.

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Age, gender and the climate

Posted in Climate Sock, Demographics on January 17th, 2010 by leo – 2 Comments

After a pub conversation the other day about the role that climate change will play in the election, I wanted to have a look at the demographic profile of those whose vote is more likely to be influenced by the environment.

It’s tempting to assume that green beliefs and actions are concentrated in certain groups of people, like the young. But, to borrow from Ben Goldacre, I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that.

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Climate opinion after UEA

Posted in Climate Sock, Climategate, Media on January 10th, 2010 by leo – 6 Comments

Following the UEA email hack, it’s become part of the media narrative that opinion is turning against man-made global warming. It’s usually worth checking any such media claim about changes in public opinion that have supposedly occurred following a series of news stories, particularly ‘dramatic revelations’. Even when people are aware of these stories, they are often not interested, or may be disinclined to believe them and change their opinion.

Testing the impact of the UEA story is tricky, because there are currently no public polling firms that have regular polls with consistently phrased questions about climate change. But data from two polls, one taken in early November, the other in early December, do suggest that the UEA story has had no measurable impact on belief in man-made global warming.

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China’s response to climate change

Posted in Climate Sock on January 3rd, 2010 by leo – Comments Off on China’s response to climate change

Fairly or not, China has been getting a lot of the blame in the UK for the failure of the Copenhagen Summit. It’s far from the first time that China’s drive for economic growth has been used as an explanation – or justification – for the weakness of international climate agreements.

However, the polls reveal something much more interesting than a country which just wants development without sustainability. Awareness in China of climate change, and recognition of its effects, is strong. There is also a strong belief that action should be taken in response to climate change. But in terms of how we should respond to climate change, there appear to be important differences between China and other countries. read more »