Young Skeptics? Generation X unconcerned about climate change

Posted By News On July 19, 2012 - 4:30am

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—As the nation suffers through a summer of record-shattering heat, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change—uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers.

"Most Generation Xers are surprisingly disengaged, dismissive or doubtful about whether global climate change is happening and they don't spend much time worrying about it," said Jon D. Miller, author of "The Generation X Report."

The new report, the fourth in a continuing series, compares Gen X attitudes about climate change in 2009 and 2011, and describes the levels of concern Gen Xers have about different aspects of climate change, as well as their sources of information on the subject.

"We found a small but statistically significant decline between 2009 and 2011 in the level of attention and concern Generation X adults expressed about climate change," Miller said. "In 2009, about 22 percent said they followed the issue of climate change very or moderately closely. In 2011, only 16 percent said they did so."

Miller directs the Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the U-M Institute for Social Research. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation since 1986, now includes responses from approximately 4,000 Gen Xers—those born between 1961 and 1981, and now between 32 and 52 years of age.

Only about 5 percent of those surveyed in 2011 were alarmed about climate change, and another 18 percent said they were concerned about it. But 66 percent said they aren't sure that global warming is happening, and about 10 percent said they don't believe global warming is actually happening.

"This is an interesting and unexpected profile," Miller said. "Few issues engage a solid majority of adults in our busy and pluralistic society, but the climate issue appears to attract fewer committed activists—on either side—than I would have expected."

Because climate change is such a complex issue, education and scientific knowledge are important factors in explaining levels of concern, Miller said. Adults with more education are more likely to be alarmed and concerned about climate change, he found. And those who scored 90 or above on a 100-point Index of Civic Scientific Literacy also were significantly more likely to be alarmed or concerned than less knowledgeable adults. Still, 12 percent of those who were highly literate scientifically were either dismissive or doubtful about climate change, Miller found. He also found that partisan affiliations predicted attitudes, with nearly half of liberal Democrats alarmed or concerned compared with zero percent of conservative Republicans.

"There are clearly overlapping levels of concern among partisans of both political parties," Miller said. "But for some individuals, partisan loyalties may be helpful in making sense of an otherwise complicated issue."

Given the greater anticipated impact of climate change on future generations, Miller expected that the parents of minor children would be more concerned about the issue than young adults without minor children.

"Not so," he said. "Generation X adults without minor children were slightly more alarmed about climate change than were parents. The difference is small, but it is in the opposite direction than we expected."

Miller found that Gen X adults used a combination of information sources to obtain information on the complex issue of climate change, with talking to friends, co-workers and family members among the most common sources of information.

"Climate change is an extremely complex issue, and many Generation X adults do not see it as an immediate problem that they need to address," Miller said.

"The results of this report suggest that better educated young adults are more likely to recognize the importance of the problem, but that there is a broad awareness of the issue even though many adults prefer to focus on more immediate issues—jobs and schools for their children—than the needs of the next generation. These results will not give great comfort to either those deeply concerned about climate issues or those who are dismissive of the issue."

So in summary, if you're dumb, or Republican you don't believe in climate change. Got it. Why are they still spending good money on these studies? If they wanted to know all that they could just hang around Democratic Underground, or Huffington Post for free.

A Dumb Gen X Republican

We Gen X'ers don't like Jimmy Swaggart or James Hansen, and the first time that "you can't question the science" became part of the mantra of the warmingists, we recognized the political part of the global warming belief system for what it is, religio-political dogma, rather than actual science. To the extent that scientific truth or religious goodness is tied to a televangelist, it's a shame because the truth may get lost. Just as in Jimmy Swaggart's case, the solution to global warming isn't to use technology and work to overcome the problem, it's to handwring, and give money and power to the evangelists. We X'ers learned one important thing from the 68'ers, and that's how to recognize when the Establishment is BS'ing us.

If you want to know how Gen X'ers tend to think about this or any other socio-political crusade, read H.L. Mencken's thoughts on "uplifters," and you'll have a pretty good idea.

Well, this is what happens when you scream "WOLF!" every day for a quarter of a century. People stop paying attention.

Southpark got it right. man-made global warming = manbearpig, a mythical creature that lives on the outskirts of town.

Man-made global warming does not exist. it is merely a vehicle for achieving, step by step, totalitarian goals:
1. the expansion of government power
2. the concentration of that power in the hands of the elite
3. the diminishment of the sphere of personal freedom.

Look for these three elements in every policy proposal. It is the tell-tale for spotting the Agenda and the people who support it.

I think being unconcerned or dismissive about the political issue of climate change is actually a sign of being well-informed and much more engaged than the blind followers who've signed aboard the movement bandwagon.

Science does not operate by consensus. Questions are posed, studies made, information analyzed, and theories proposed and challenged. If someone else can't reproduce your conclusion independently you haven't proved anything. The climate-change cabal has been refusing to release its raw data and describe its methodology in detail out of fear that such openness would lead to people picking apart their conclusions -- but that's how science works.

The "consensus" people who insist the science is settled, are not scientists -- they're political activists whose hijinks are damaging the reputation of real scientists and of science in general.

Exactly. And don't forget that a lot of the raw data is now "missing" at UEA, so the only information we have are adjusted temperatures without any base numbers to compare them to. How convenient for the climate alarmists.

"We found a small but statistically significant decline between 2009 and 2011 in the level of attention and concern Generation X adults expressed about climate change," Miller said. "In 2009, about 22 percent said they followed the issue of climate change very or moderately closely. In 2011, only 16 percent said they did so."

Is this a small decline? A 6% change in 2 years is pretty big, especially when that 6% is more than a quarter of the folks who originally cared about climate change. I would call this a big decline.

Also, did anything significant happen in 2009 related to climate change that may have affected people's opinions so drastically? The article doesn't say, but what it omits is a huge scandal related to purposely skewed numbers by climate scientists. For shorthand it's called Climategate.

So you could rewrite this article to say, 22% of gen-xers used to think climate change was a problem, based on scientific evidence. Once it came out that an awful lot of that evidence was fraudulent, a lot of these kids changed their minds.

The problem with surveys is that the margin of error is huge. So statistically significant can still be small. Pew studies show Gen X overwhelmingly wants to worry about climate change - yet it also found overwhelming support for gay marriage, gun control and abortion. So studies are usually finding exactly what surveyors want them to find.

This is also what happens when it keeps getting revealed that"scientists" cooked the data and tried to wash away emails that they had to "hide the decline" in global temperatures. We do not like to be lied to, especially when it comes to our money, which is being wasted on all this pseudo-science. Keep on believing that we are stupid, and you will continue to be shocked at why we don't agree with liars like you. And by the way, this article was linked (in mockery) by a conservative website, called Instapundit. Maybe you should read his site and find out even more how much we hold "climate change science" in contempt.

Yes, the data was cooked, but get the recipe right. The decline was a decline in correlation between tree rings and temperatures. That means that under certain circumstances which nobody understands exactly what they are, tree rings don't correlate well at all with actual temps. Thus that long blade of the hockey stick? Bogus. You don't know when else the correlation broke down so you can't make the blade work and all those reports about the roman warm and medieval warm period are no longer debunked and, ooh, guess what, we're no longer in an unprecedented warming period. The green on the outside/red on the inside climate socialists no longer have justification to move trillions of dollars out of the private sector and into the public sector.

The real scandal's bad enough and totally discredits them. If you get the details wrong, you let them slip away.

When the scientists' "answer" to "global warming" or "climate change" is always a matter of the US spending trillions of dollars on their nostrum of the day, you know very well that the scientists are hoping that several millions of those dollars will end up in their pockets. And the US middle class will, as always, be the ones stuck paying the bill.

Any time alleged scientists claim to have discovered a new threat to existence where the only solution is to give the government more power and the people less, it's a fake. When all these people claiming carbon emissions are a threat to humanity stop jet-setting around the world to conferences at exotic sun-drenched locales and using more electricity in their house than some small cities (hi Al Gore) I'll maybe start to think they're serious. Until then, it's the same-old same-old statist goal of re-imposing feudalism, where the "lords" have electricity, cars, and iPhones and the peasants aren't allowed for their own good.

And of course, all these government-funded "scientists" don't understand that if such a thing happened, they'd get the Trotsky treatment from the very people they'd enabled to take control. There's a reason useful idiots are called useful idiots.

As a surprising Gen-X father of four minors, I too am a skeptic of global climate change (along with most other institutions set up to solve all of our problems). As a kid, I remember hype about global cooling in the early seventies. My parents took me to see "Late Great Planet Earth" which foretold doom. Then came stories about holes in the ozone and the dangers of CFCs--and these were all just from the 70s.

From my perspective, these stories, in general, do not change. Sure, the narrative changes (as with the recent switch from global warming, which was too constraining, to global warming). The only thing which does not change is that the only answer to all of these issues is some government entity, regulatory burden, or impediment on private property owners. If these approaches worked, China would have one of the cleanest environments in the world.

We are not uneducated about this subject. We are weary of it.

The wording of his comments clearly shows his bias. No professional pollster covering the Presidential election would say "The results of this poll suggest that better educated young adults are more likely to recognize the importance of reelecting President Obama." But that is the tone of his message. He knows the right answer, despite the evidence. Which makes him an advocate, not a scientist.

We are approaching a "tipping point" where it will be too late to stop Global Warming. If something is not done in the next 3 years, in ten years the ocean will have risen by several feet, island nations will be under water, and tens of millions of people will have been displaced from their homes.

When was the above prediction made? 1990. When was the massive displacement of tens of millions predicted to occur? 2000. Seen any of that happen yet? The book Population Bomb in the late 60's predicted the end of industrial civilization due to mass starvation unless we ended human population growth by the 70's, which never came to pass. The next impending crisis was a different form of Climate Change, but the fear was of an new Ice Age, not of warming. That never came to pass either. Now it's Global Warming, proven by record heat this summer in the US, but somehow not disproven by record cold last winter across all of Europe and Russia.

Communism failed in its attempt to impose a toltarian elite controlling the entire world. So those who wanted such a regime simply shifted from politics to "science". Total State control of all of our lives was now proposed as necessary to prevent the population bomb, and when that didn't happen, to deal with the coming Ice Age, and when that didn't happen to combat Global Warming, and when that didn't happen to prevent Climate Change. The life and death issue changes, but the agenda remains the same....

While I'm a gen Xer, concerned about good husbandry of the environment and skeptical of man-made global warming, I'm also skeptical of the hysteria that warming is a bad thing - an ice age would be much worse. By the way, someone born in 1961 would be turning 51 this year.

Math is obviously not their strong suit.


trust is gone. Lies from all sorts of institutions destroy trust in institutions and leave us with "they just say that to keep getting the grant money"

- of course it could be since they helped elect Barak there is nothing to fear now that the oceans are going to stop rising.

When a young family is struggling to make ends meet, and they hear the POTUS say "under my plan energy prices would necesarily skyrocket" they are not nearly so gullible as they were when their parents were footing the bills.

When they see the ManBearPig himself, the Goreacle, climb on a large private jet to go to Rio for a conference on globull warming, then jet home to a house that uses more energy than 20 normal abodes combined they might just scratch their heads a little and say "WTF is up with that?"

I will dispute the statement that "better educated" young adults are more concerned. It should be "better indoctrinated" or "better brain washed". If those same "better educated" young adults had ever been taught the scientific method and critical thinking, they'd be more concerned all right - concerned enough to tar and feather charlatans like Charles Mann and James Hanson.

That's Michael Mann and James Hanson.

By the way, people born between 1961 and 1981 are in their most productive years at this point, so they would be the ones that would be more wary of government sanctioned intrusion into their livelihoods and therefore potentially more informed about the issue rather than less. People fresh out of college haven't learned yet that their professors live in an academic echo chamber and there are few with experience outside that bubble and are still indoctrinated.

Bravo Gen X! This almost makes up for voting for Obama in 2008. They've not been taken in by the political agendas, the contrived hysteria and the distorted science that underlies global warming aka climate change. (Note how easily the True Believers changed their terms. It's a hint at how little critical thinking skills they have.)

At that age, my generation was getting duped by similar lies about a population explosion. The result: the horrors of legalized abortion and an aging population that means that in a couple of decades many developed societies, particularly Japan and Western Europe, won't be able to care for their elderly.

Keep in mind just how silly this hysteria is. Seattle, where I live, has a very mild climate thanks to nearby Puget Sound and the sheltering provided by two mountain ranges. And yet we cope easily and even unconsciously with a shift in 20 degrees shift between night and day. I really think the humanity can handle a degree or two rise over the space of a century.

I will believe global warming is a crisis when those telling me it is a crisis start acting like it is a crisis.

"The results of this report suggest that better educated young adults are more likely to recognize the importance of the problem ...."

I hold both undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees, each earned with honors, a JD granted by one of the top law schools in the US, also earned with honors, and an LLM. By any measure I am not only well-educated but obscenely over-educated. Those credentials are, apparently, why I'm able to recognize the importance of the problem posed by global climate change, namely that the Cult of the Warmists threatens to plunge the entire planet into an economic dark age based on junk "science" backed by fraudulent data. They *MUST* be stopped.

Lest I be accused of political bias: my last vote in a Presidential election was cast for neither a Republican nor a Democrat. In '08 I supported Barack Obama because I believed he would pave the way for positive change albeit not in the way he himself believed.

I hope its not just global warming. Keynesianism as well was already dis-proven by Harding (who cut spending 50% and ran a surplus and ended the biggest crash in history in 18 months) and Hoover (who raised Federal spending 50% and ran a deficit and launched the Great Depression) when Keynes first published it. There's never been the slightest academically valid case it had anything to do with reality since. Almost every thing the left believes, plus much of the war on terror on the right, are nothing but manufactured myths designed to allow politicians and the status quo to keep and get power. They've built whole pseudo-academic fields around this BS to try to give it all credibility. If the youth of America can fail to be deceived, we will have a golden age.

Its amazing they have managed to do this. Its been obvious to any serious scientist who cared to actually examine it closely the global warming case was a crock since the beginning, which is why 30,000 American scientists signed a petition essentially saying so. Yet the media, and the anointed Profs and University Presidents, continued to pretend it was established science for 20 years and counting.

The climate change "authorities" have ruined the field for generations. They should have been saying all along that this is a brand new field with untested, unproven theories, and that it was far too early to draw any conclusions. Instead, they dove head-first into politics, offering the right conclusions to the politicians who were willing to pay for them. I'm not talking about outright bribery, but institutional corruption. Big research grants for institutions that produce the "right" results, personal attacks on researchers and institutions that get the "wrong" results.

Why would any promising young scientist want to go into a field where they will be required to work with shady, politically cooked datasets that they are not allowed to investigate or question; where they will be unable to present any research that deviates from the predetermined conclusions of politically connected "top scientists"?

What we refer to today as "climate science" is going to have to be thrown completely onto the scrap heap of other junk science. And honestly, the planet earth has survived magnificantly for eons without "climate scientists" worrying about it. Gaea doesn't give a rat's ass if you drive a Prius.

Generation X is skeptical about global warming?  You mean a generation that is largely old enough to remember being told we were heading for another ice age, doubts "the science" of AGW?  A generation that grew up in A culture that celebrated every kooky doomsday scenario from "Planet of the Apes" and "Soylent Greent" to the "Terminator" and was subjected to every crackpot worry that was hashing some hippie baby boomer's buzz isn't worried?  A generation that was told that we would all starve due to overpopulation and that fossil fuels would run out in our lifetimes only to see that we are feeding more people and finding more oil than ever thought possible thinks AGW isn't worth worrying about?  

I'm sorry, Generation X has smelled your B.S. before and has been unimpressed.

In summary, despite a solid decade of brainwashing from the great Al Bore, East Anglia con artists, Hollyweird movies, TV networks like anything owned by NBC and left wing kook websites like the Huffington Post and the Dumbocratic Underground, young Americans have used the scientific method and found global warmism to be a cult. Great news indeed!

A brief note to the author: Never start a supposedly fact based article with a non-sequitur. It tends to tip off the rubes.

Piltdown warming?

Can we use that in a future title?

Clint Eastwood, from Outlaw Josie Wales, said it best..."Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." I'm old enough to know when someone is looking to pick my pocket by government force, and I will resist.

Yeah, as a few folks have noted, back when us GenXers were young enough to actually be considered "young", the "scientific authorities" were predicting ice ages, populations bobms, and all the other doomsday scenarios Tom L and John Galt mentioned above. We've also grown up knowing that eggs were bad for you, then good for you, then bad for you. Anyone know what the latest on 'em is? I stopped paying attention. Sunburns cause skin cancer, doh, wait, sunscreen causes it. Dietary guidelines from government sponsered scientists meant to keep us thin are probably the cause of obesity...

Basically, any scientist who makes a living making public pronouncements is suspect. Our entire lives have been lived seeing these folks proved wrong more often than right. The type of science practiced by the East Anglia folks has discredited itself. Us GenXers are worldly enough to realize it's a scam to bring in dollars. Peter Mc got it right, the 25% decline in GenX support of Warmingmongers is probably caused by the Climategate scandals making the scam public.

The people doing climate research have been so corrupt, sloppy and compromised that we don't really know what is actually happening, other that what we see out our window.

Which, BTW, has been anything but "warming". If anything, global temps have been falling, not rising, since 1998. But then we just finished a very low sunspot cycle, and gee, maybe that big flaming ball of fire in the sky is what really controls our weather?

A friend of mine hit the nail on the head with this comment after reading the above article:
"Yes baby boomers started off as Hippies, then became Marxists, and then got tired of being poor and became Yuppies in the 80s. Climate Change is the boomers appeasing their Yuppie guilt."
As many above have noted, Gen Xers can see through the BS fed to us by the self-absorbed and narcissistic generation of Boomers. Having failed to come close to the achievements of the Greatest Generation they have tirelessly made up global crisis after global crisis to try and justify their existence and their wealth.

Maybe, it's just that I remember in the eighty's when by the year 2000, new York was going to be under water. I remember January 2000, and my profound disappoint. Oh yeah, all ocean life was supposed to be dead by now as well, and there was going to be global thermal nuclear war, etc.

Now, all that's off the plate, and I supposed to be concerned that the earth may warm a tenth of a degree in the next century.

I am very glad to see that Gen X still has a functioning BS detector, because global warming is pseudoscientific BS. And I am not one of those people that does not beleive in evolution or science. I have great respect for GOOD science, but the global warming hysteria is a statist power grab, wrapped up in the illusion of science.

Mind you, we should continue to study climate change, because somewhere underneath all this leftist BS there might some real science trying to get out. It would help if some of the leftie scam artists that dominate the field now were purged from it, and we got some real scientists involved in it, you know, guys that:

1. Make all their raw data and algorithms publically available to allow independent replication.
2. Dont try to hide the decline, use clever tricks to make things look good, or produce alarming looking hockey sticks, just present solid looking replicable results.
3. Dont manipulate and intimidate journals to suppress papers that attempt to honestly criticise their work.
4. Honestly engage and answer scientific critics instead of giving us the BS pronouncements from on high that the science is settled.
5. Worry about science, and not about how it will look at UN conferences.

"The message is perfectly simple; the meaning is clear."

As people mature, they gain experience and become wiser. Not all of them -- some remain willfully immature party-hounds and hippies into senescence, but a few children, a lost job or two, the work of starting your own business...that kind of thing tends to season a person and, if they respond constructively, to build character.

But the Gen X man has had enough time and experience now to mature a bit.

"Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent, but change is."

They have spouses and children and friends they care about, and are already struggling with an economy hampered by government overspending and ballooing debt; yet-to-be-reformed entitlements reaching critically unfundable levels and threatening some mix of hyperinflation, crushing tax increases, or government default; existing inflation unacknowledged by the official statistics; policies that are broadly destructive of economic health; spendthrift boomers racking up consumer debt; and the unstable families produced by the Woodstock generation's predilection for self-gratification at the expense of others.

"And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through..."

Gen X is therefore conservative in the broader sense: They see significant risk of losing what little they have, and they have learned to read the fine print on the enthusiasms of their parents' generation.

One of those enthusiasms is the "Eschatological Climate Change" religion which was adopted by so many boomers after the boomers ceased believing in God but found they couldn't get by without a crusade to make them feel self-righteous.

We know, now, what the evidence adds up to:

1. Human beings do contribute CO2 and it does have some impact on warming, although the mechanism is not straightforward since the evidence suggests increased CO2 usually follows warming rather than preceding it;

2. There are other, natural, sources of "forcing" which have a larger impact on overall climate than human activity, and which are beyond our capacity to control;

3. Earth has been a lot warmer than it is now, many times; and the feedbacks associated with these warming periods did not produce runaway greenhouse effects, but instead tended to go away over time as the cycle entered its next phase;

4. Only a climate system with large positive "feedbacks" would produce the "catastrophic" warming which so exercises the alarmists...and the cyclical nature of the climate record makes it almost impossible that such large feedbacks actually exist in Earth's climate system;

5. There's good reason to believe that the solutions proposed by Catastrophic Warming popularizers will not actually significantly reduce warming;

6. There's good reason to believe that implementing the solutions proposed by Catastrophic Warming popularizers will mostly only serve to enrich Catastrophic Warming popularizers;

7. There's good reason to believe that the solutions proposed by Catastrophic Warming popularizers will increase poverty worldwide;

8. The number of early deaths and miserable lives likely to be caused by the increased poverty and economic hardship caused by implementing the "solutions" proposed by Warming popularizers would probably be greater than number of early deaths and miserable lives likely to be caused by the increased poverty and economic hardship caused by NOT implementing those "solutions."

Gen X-ers have figured this out, and they're not buying their parents' generation's self-aggrandizing snake oil any longer. They would rather work their butts off trying to undo some of the damage while staving off any more wild utopian ideas, in the hopes of giving their children a decent (private or home-schooled) education and having a decent retirement, should they happen to reach their eightieth birthday.

That's the deal. That's the hand that Gen X-ers have been dealt, and they know it.