Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fooling Most of the People Some of the Time

There have been media reports about widespread opposition to the Tory "Hot Air" Act. But most Canadians might still have been duped into complacency:

Polling Data

The Conservative government led by Stephen Harper has pledged to introduce a new environmental agenda to address smog as well as greenhouse gas emissions. They have said that Canada cannot meet the commitments made under the Kyoto Agreement by the previous Liberal government. How confident are you that the government’s new plan will come to grips with the environmental problems facing Canada?

High confidence


Moderate confidence


Low confidence


Not sure


Source: Ekos Research Associates / Toronto Star
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,211 Canadian adults, conducted from Oct. 10 to Oct. 12, 2006. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent. [As Reported by Angus Reid. Emphasis added.]

Oddly, it does not say "...2.8 per cent 19 times out of 20" which is more common in reporting poll results. But if the poll is correct, we have work to do.

Another interesting question raised by this report is this: are Canadians getting the truth about climate change from pollsters and consultants? Angus Reid's page (linked above) contains this little "gem":
Some theories say that climate change might be the result of human-generated carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases [emphasis added].
Sure, and "some theories" say that most lung cancer "might be the caused by" tobacco smoke.*

In reality,
The prevailing scientific opinion on climate change is that 'most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities'[1]. (Source) '

[The Source link and the links within the quote have been standardized to provide stable URLs.]
Only a few "climate skeptics" still cling to the notion that humans have nothing to do with climate change. The skeptics are the ones who might be said to have "some theories". At least some of these "skeptics" are financed directly or indirectly by fossil-fuel companies like Exxon (see desmogblog coverage; for a Canadian story about of industry and "skeptics," see "Mr. Cool" and the subsequent fallout).

In any event, if most Canadians are confused enough to believe that the Tories' plan is reasonable, then the various obfuscation methods are working. Clarifying the issues and debunking the myths is more important than ever.

* For more on the link between the old tobacco spin-masters and the new climate denial ones, see the post on "Monbiot, TASSC and the tobacco, climate change cover-up" in

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