Sunday, March 18, 2007

POLLS: Planet Earth Has Green Majority--in Ungreen States

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POLLS: Planet Earth Has Green Majority, Though Survey Shows Falsely Leading Questions Presuming Degradative & More Consolidated Development as Answer

This continues the previous post's discussion of unsaid (UNCED) styles of global consolidation developmental empire framed as greenwashed--despite merely being a novel coat of paint or discourse frame attempting to legitimate the same equally degradative policy metric and orientation that came before.

Additionally, there have been two previous posts on polls concerning the truly unsaid developing "green majority in ungreen states" in the U.S. and Britain. Despite the U.S. and Britain taking on a neocon varnish, with police state formal institutions, this is without and even in opposition to having a popular base for these policies (both on the right and left typically) since their domestic populations have "gone green."

On the U.S:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
POLLS: "When in the Course of Human Events,..." The Majority is With Us for Leaving the Neocon Desert


On Britain and the U.S.:

Friday, November 03, 2006
POLLS: The Three Pink Elephants in the Room: Nov. 4 Shows U.K. has Green Majority like U.S. Green Supermajority in Health, Ecology, Economic Policy


This next poll however is the first poll I have seen which attempts to ask the same questions globally. I'll discuss the whole below, though more neutral questions asked and answers found are summarized before getting into details about this poll:
- It includes 17 countries—China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Israel, Armenia--and the Palestinian territories. These represent more than 55 percent of the world population.

- Twelve countries [of the seventeen asked] were asked whether steps should be taken to address climate change and majorities in all but one of them favored action.

- The largest majority in favor of measures to combat global warming is found in Australia (92%). China and Israel are the next most likely (83%) to favor such measures. Eighty percent of respondents in the United States--the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases--also support taking such measures. The lowest level of support for taking steps to address the problem is found in India, nonetheless nearly half (49%) favor taking action while just 24 percent oppose it (26% do not answer).

- In no country (out of 12 asked) does more than [25%] one in four endorse the statement, "Until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps... [Inverting that, in all twelve countries to which the question was put, huge supermajorities of 75% or more support taking steps now.]

- A separate question, asked in 10 countries, allowed respondents to evaluate the threat posed by "global warming" in the next ten years. Strong majorities in all of the countries say such climate change is an important threat with only small minorities calling it unimportant. Majorities call it critical in Mexico (70%), Australia (69%), South Korea (67%), Iran (61%), Israel (52%), and India (51%). Pluralities agree in Armenia (47%), China (47%) and the United States (46%).

- Seven countries were asked to rate the importance of a number of foreign policy goals, including "improving the global environment." Overwhelming majorities in all seven countries rate improving the global environment as at least an "important" goal and majorities in all call it a "very important" one: Australia, 99 percent ('very important' portion of this: 88%); South Korea, 96 percent (very 60%); the United States 93 percent (very 54%), Armenia 86 percent (very 54%), China, 85 percent (very 54%); Thailand, 83 percent (very 61%); and India, 79 percent (very 51%).

- In ten of the 11 countries where this question was asked, very large majorities believe such standards should be required while in [only] one country views are divided. Those in favor of standards include developing countries, whose governments have sometimes resisted environmental regulations....In Asia, the Chinese support environmental standards by an overwhelming 85 percent. Seven in ten Thais (69%) also favor such standards as do six in ten Indians (60%). Filipinos are evenly divided (48% in favor, 49% opposed). In Latin America, an overwhelming majority of Argentines (90%) say such standards should be required. Support for environmental standards is also strong among the relatively wealthy publics of Israel (93%) and the United States (91%).

So exactly where is the popular legitimacy or support for any current form of government and corporate environmental degradation support, on the face of the planet? It fails to exist at all.

Leading Questions Off a Cliff?

Of course as with all polls, you have to look to who is funding them and what exactly are the wider questions that the poll writers wanted to know. What I plucked from the poll was probably what the poll writers "didn't want to know". The funder of the poll was the 'The Chicago Council on Global Affairs,' a front group if ever I heard of one. And it is: with just a little digging, I find it was originally called the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, as a namesake of the larger U.S. Council on Foreign Relations.

Founded in 1922, the Chicago branch comes directly out of the same era and networks in which the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations ("CFR," est. 1921) and the British Royal Institute of International Affairs ("RIIA", est. 1920) were founded. The Chicago branch of this describes themselves thus:

"The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922 as The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, is a leading independent, nonpartisan organization committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue, and public learning. The Chicago Council brings the world to Chicago by hosting public programs and private events featuring world leaders and experts with diverse views on a wide range of global topics. Through task forces, conferences, studies, and leadership dialogue, the Council brings Chicago’s ideas and opinions to the world."
Sounds great, eh? However, since the history of 'nonpartisan' think tanks and policy harmonization organizations run by international bankers has been a more diplomatic word for unrepresentative or undemocratic developmental policies, let's keep that awareness through the poll and many of its leading questions.

I typically left out summarizing their leading questions. What are leading questions? Instead of meaning something that comes first, it is something that is hidden throughout many questions:

In common law systems that rely on testimony by witnesses, a leading question is a question that suggests [or steers or prompts] the answer or contains the information the examiner is looking for. For example, this question is leading:

* You were at Duffy's bar on the night of July 15, weren't you?

It suggests that the witness was at Duffy's bar on the night in question. The same question in a non-leading form would be:

* Where were you on the night of July 15?

This form of question does not suggest to the witness the answer the examiner hopes to elicit.

Leading questions will generally be answerable with a yes or no (though not all yes-no questions are leading), while non-leading questions are open-ended. Depending on the circumstances leading questions can be objectionable or proper. The propriety of leading questions generally depends on the relationship of the witness to the party conducting the examination. An examiner may generally ask leading questions of a hostile witness or on cross-examination, but not on direct examination.

It is important to distinguish between leading questions and questions that are objectionable because they contain implicit assumptions. The classic example is:

* Have you stopped beating your wife?

This question is not leading, as it does not suggest that the examiner expects any particular answer. It is however objectionable because it assumes (among other things) that the witness (1) was married and (2) had in fact beat his wife in the past, facts which (presumably) have not been established. A proper objection would be that this question assumes facts not in evidence or lacks foundation.


Since leading questions are rife throughout the following poll from the Chicago branch of the CFR, and poor social science, I go through their poll pointing out some of their leading questions. Additionally, I point out some questions asked more neutrally. It is in these questions, mostly boldfaced below, that something far more interesting is being left unsaid about a global green majority.

So, there are leading questions below as well as some interesting statistics.

It's interesting that some of the very leading questions (poor survey technique) are framed as 'costs to respond' when actually it's probably 'cheaper to respond,' i.e., to remove subsidies toward environmental degradation and work toward cleaner technologies and different material bases.

In most of the Third World countries surveyed, it is understandable and hardly surprising that when the Chicago CFR comes around asking a leading question of 'costs,' pragmatically interpreted as demoting Third World populations to more European-U.S. dominated patterns of development and their own poverty and lack of services, Third World countries polled refuse this type of loaded question as 'response', if it keeps them under the thumb of a European-U.S. driven definition of 'de-developmentalism' of their areas. However, despite these loaded questions that skew their response there, instead in more neutrally asked questions, they do turn up widely green in orientation as well. The only disagreement seems to be about the Chicago CFR framework of their preferred policies being asked about in leading questions.

Thus on the issue of 'costs to respond' the main leading question throughout the whole poll, keep in mind it's probably cheaper to respond by shifting material practices (like Brazil has already done by using sugar cane based forms of liquid automotive fuel almost completely).

The poll is below. I put my comments in brackets, or I bolded certain key points.

15.Mar.2007
Poll Finds Worldwide Agreement That Climate Change is a Threat
WorldPublicOpinion.org
mbrouwer@pipa.org

An international poll finds widespread agreement that climate change is a pressing problem.

This majority, however, divides over whether the problem of global warming is urgent enough to require immediate, costly measures [sic] or whether more modest efforts are sufficient.

Poll Finds Worldwide Agreement That Climate Change is a Threat
Publics Divide Over Whether Costly [i.e., de-developmentalism for the Third World] Steps Are Needed [though the majority of the world's population still turns up green in orientation]

An international poll finds widespread agreement that climate change is a pressing problem. This majority, however, divides over whether the problem of global warming is urgent enough to require immediate, costly measures or whether more modest efforts are sufficient.

The survey was conducted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and WorldPublicOpinion.org, in cooperation with polling organizations around the world.

It includes 17 countries—China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Israel, Armenia--and the Palestinian territories.

These represent more than 55 percent of the world population.


This is the first in a series of reports based on the findings of this survey that will analyze international attitudes on key international issues.

Not all questions were asked in all countries. [Er, this sort of invalidates the poll in some ways since the same instrument was not utilized.]

Twelve countries [of the seventeen asked] were asked whether steps should be taken to address climate change and majorities in all but one of them favored action.


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Picture: Australia's Great Barrier Reef, dying off; Australia has additionally been suffering through massive drought for years

The largest majority in favor of measures to combat global warming is found in Australia (92%).

China and Israel are the next most likely (83%) to favor such measures.

Eighty percent of respondents in the United States--the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases--also support taking such measures.


[The U.S. with only around 5% of global population, emits around 25% of humanly created greenhouse gases--HOWEVER, the expansion of global warming causing the more important greenhouse gas of methane to bubble up out of frozen tundras will be more important than CO2 emissions reduction..

An interesting interview to listen to is by James Hansen, the outspoken climate scientist at NASA. He is interviewed by independent radio journalist Maria Gilardin, who produced a series of alternative media specials. Quoting:

Hansen has suggested an alternative, or supplemental method of preserving the Arctic from the worst of climate change: by controlling methane. ...

Here, Maria Gilardin asks:

"You said in one of your papers, that carbon dioxide is not the only Greenhouse gas. And that there are other gases that contribute to global warming as well."

Hansen:

"Yes. It's very important to realize that it's not only carbon dioxide. There are other gases, methane being the second most important [presently in terms of scale, though the methane runaway feedback loop might be more dangerous than CO2 if the 'tundra goes' and with it its methane is released], and tropospheric ozone [which is exacerbated by methane], which is a pollutant. And in addition, there are particles, like black soot.

And one of the things, which I think is very important, is that although it looks like the Arctic is now beginning to lose it's ice, and there's a prediction that we will lose all the ice in the Arctic by 2040 - but in fact some of the non-CO2 climate forcings are particularly effective in the Arctic. And we could reduce those, easier than we could change carbon dioxide.

There's going to be some increase in carbon dioxide, even if we try to use [petroleum] energy more efficiently. [An easier solution is simply to move to other energy materials and technologies.] But we could reduce methane, which in turn, would reduce tropospheric ozone. And we could also reduce the black soot particles.

If we do that, then I think we can retain the sea ice in the Arctic."

Maria:

"How do we go about reducing methane?"

Hansen:

"Methane has a number of sources. Landfills are one of them. You can design your landfills so you can capture the methane, and then use it, as natural gas, for heating purposes. In addition, there's methane lost in fossil fuel mining, in coal mines. [Consolidated chicken factory farms and cattle give off a great deal of methane, some of it from these sources as well being captured already for energy instead of released 'raw' into the atmosphere.] And again, that can be captured, and used as a fuel. So we need to pay attention to the various sources of methane, and reduce those. That would go a long way toward saving the Arctic."

Next Maria moves to the dreaded feed-back mechanisms that can create runaway climate change. We find that positive feed back loops can kick in after just one degree Celsius of warming! This is a key point. And I love how sirens from the street below intrude for a few seconds, as Hansen describes a possible rapid unwinding of our climate system...an echo of the future?

...

Maria:

"One of the issues that were dealt with at the Hadley Centre, in the UK: comprehensive descriptions of the feed-back mechanisms, and methane was one of them. The recent releases of Tundra-bound methane in Siberia, that's caused by global warming, have already been measured."

Hansen:

"You know, as we look at the history of the Earth, we realize more and more how important feed-back processes are. That's one of the reasons that I argue that we better keep warming less than about one degree, because we know that in the previous inter-glacial periods that were warmer by up to one degree, the feed-backs were there, but they were moderate.

On the other hand, if we have warming of two or three degrees, we're almost certainly going to melt most of the Tundra, and that's going to release methane. And we can then get very positive feed-backs, and we may get a system that's really out of our control."


[Six part radio series on British scientific predictions of climate change, at website, or search for 'Gilardin' as a producer on the radio exchange site www.radio4all.net where it is archived.]

[Back to the poll:]

The lowest level of support for taking steps to address the problem is found in India, nonetheless nearly half (49%) favor taking action while just 24 percent oppose it (26% do not answer).

In no country (out of 12 asked) does more than one in four endorse the statement, "Until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps that would have economic costs [sic, on the 'costs' issue]."

The countries where the highest percentages favor delaying any action are India (24%), Russia (22%) and Armenia (19%).

The countries with the lowest are [IMF-destroyed] Argentina (3%), and [sea-coastal] Thailand (7%).

[Open ended questions are better for surveys:] A separate question, asked in 10 countries, allowed respondents to evaluate the threat posed by "global warming" in the next ten years. Strong majorities in all of the countries say such climate change is an important threat with only small minorities calling it unimportant.

The highest percentages of climate change skeptics are found in Armenia (16%) and Israel (15%). [despite "The largest majorit[ies] in favor of measures to combat global warming is found in Australia (92%)...[with]...China and Israel [as] the next most likely (83%) to favor such measures."]

While majorities in all countries agree that the threat posed by global warming is at least important, there is less agreement over whether it is critical.

Majorities call it critical in Mexico (70%), Australia (69%), South Korea (67%), Iran (61%), Israel (52%), and India (51%).

Pluralities agree in Armenia (47%), China (47%) and the United States (46%).


Ukraine is the only country divided about whether the problem is critical (33%) or important but not critical (33%).

Differences Over How Much to Spend [sic, what a leading question--should always be avoided in surveys]

There is general agreement in 12 countries, as discussed above, that steps must be taken to address the problem of global warming, though there are differences over how much should be spent [sic, what a leading question; the actual difference would be on what is to be spent where and on what].

In five countries, the most common view is: "Global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs." These include: Australia (69%), Argentina (63%), Israel (54%), the United States (43%), and Armenia (37%).

In another five countries, the most commonly held opinion is: "The problem of global warming should be addressed, but its effects will be gradual, so we can deal with the problem gradually by taking steps that are low in cost." The countries endorsing a go-slow, low-cost approach are the Philippines (49%), Thailand (41%), Poland (39%), Ukraine (37%) and India (30%).

In two countries, the public is evenly divided between those who favor less expensive measures and those who believe the problem merits action involving significant cost: China (low cost 41%, significant costs 42%) and Russia (low costs 34%, significant costs 32%).

In Peru, only those who indicated they were informed about climate change--39 percent of the total sample--were asked whether steps should be taken to address the problem. Among these respondents, 92 percent favor action, including 69 percent who favor taking steps even if they involve significant costs.

Support for Developing Nations [as one strategy]

Some governments, such as China's and India's, have argued that developing countries should not be obliged to limit greenhouse gas emissions as they struggle to catch up with the highly industrialized economies of Western Europe and the United States.

[Lester Brown's Worldwatch Institute argues that China has already outstripped the U.S. in terms of percentages of raw materials utilized annually, more than any other country--however, much of "China" is foreign direct investment for the slave labor conditions there, so it's hardly really "China" utilizing these materials per se, it's mostly outsourced US/European consumption and political primacy patterns outsourced to hideously polluted China..., and from below "the Chinese support environmental standards by an overwhelming 85 percent."]

The developing world, such countries say, releases far less CO2 and other greenhouse gasses per capita than do industrialized nations, whose cumulative emissions over the past century have caused the current problem.

Some [Euro-imperialists] have proposed that an equitable approach [sic, how is that equitable if it perpetuates the same power asymmetries?] would be for developed nations to provide aid to developing nations if they would agree to impose some limits on their emissions.

[

When the leading question is of course they will be maintaining carbon dioxide emission petroleum usage. This is unrequired. Brazil has already gone over to sugar cane biofuels almost completely. Sugar cane is far more efficient an energy source for biofuels than corn ethanol, though the U.S. wants to avoid importing cleaner burning sugar ethanol in order to shore up the U.S.'s corn and oil raw material regime via politics. So an exorbitant 50 cent per gallon tariff exists on the item in the U.S., courtesy of its corn and oil industries, according to author Edwin Black's recent exposure of the high political corruption that consolidated the oil industry in the USA, and then worldwide.

Though I think there are better solutions than bio-based fuels, hydrogen based fuels, fossil based coal, or abiotic petroleum, it's the general issue of completely changing raw material bases toward more locally optimal 'ecological engineering' arrangements in materials, as well as having more representative frameworks of developmentalism that is important in the bioregional state. Both of these points about more locally representative materials and more locally representative political institutions come out of each other.

Above, the other leading question is thus that development seems here to be 'required' to be polluting in CO2--which is just an example of the blinkered views of development going round. For two examples of solar and wind power:

"SUN: ONLY HALF OF 1% required. Every year the sun pours down the equivalent of 1.5m barrels of oil of energy for every square kilometre, without pollution. Estimates it takes only 0.5% of the world's hot deserts with current technology called concentrated solar power (CSP) to provide the world's entire electricity needs.

WIND: ONLY 5% OF KNOWN WIND SITES required to DOUBLE global energy capacity above current usage, and without pollution. Wind power could generate enough electricity to support the world's energy needs several times over, according to map of global wind speeds--first of its kind. The map, compiled by researchers at Stanford University, shows wind speeds at more than 8,000 sites around the world. They found that at least 13% of those sites experience winds fast enough to power current wind turbines. If turbines were set up in all these regions, they would generate 72 terawatts. That's more than five times world's current energy needs....If only potentially doubled energy use is projected, then that means [only (13/5)x2] it takes ONLY 5.2% OF THOSE SITES being used to double world energy capacities. That's only about 400 wind farms and you DOUBLE global energy capacity.

North America and parts of Northern Europe have a high number of ideal spots for setting up wind turbines. Approximately 20% of Denmark's energy is wind power. USA, with best place in world for wind turbines, only generates 1% from wind."


]

Publics in five developing countries were asked, "If the developed countries are willing to provide substantial aid, do you think the less-developed countries should make a commitment to limit their greenhouse gas emissions?" In all of five countries, majorities or pluralities say they should.

Most significantly, this includes a very large 79 percent majority of Chinese respondents and nearly half of those polled in India (48% agree, 29% disagree, 23% no answer). Majorities in Argentina (68%) and Armenia (63%) also concur. Results in Thailand are similar to those in India: about half of Thai respondents (49%) agree and only 9 percent disagree, though large numbers (43%) are uncertain.

China, India, Argentina, Armenia and Thailand are among the 169 countries that have ratified or accepted the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

They are not, however, considered industrialized countries under the treaty, which means they are not legally obliged to cut back emissions of CO2 or other pollutants [which is why the US/European areas have outsourced their own pollution to China and India particularly, as mentioned above].

The survey also asked respondents in three developed countries whether developed countries should provide "substantial aid" to less-developed countries that "make a commitment to limit their greenhouse gas emissions." [sic, yet another leading question that presumed a certain hegemony of developmentalism as innately degradative.]

Respondents in all three show a high level of support for providing such assistance: 64 percent of Americans, 84 percent of Poles, and 72 percent of Ukrainians.

The United States, Poland and Ukraine are all considered Annex 1 or industrialized countries under the Kyoto accord, which means they are obligated to reduce emissions. Poland and Ukraine have both ratified the Kyoto Protocol; the United States has signed but refused to ratify it [under the oil embedded raw material regime conflict of interest with the neocons around Bush].

General Concern about Global Environment

The survey also finds that world publics are very concerned about the global environment in general. Seven countries were asked to rate the importance of a number of foreign policy goals, including "improving the global environment." Overwhelming majorities in all seven countries rate improving the global environment as at least an "important" goal and majorities in all call it a "very important" one: Australia, 99 percent (very 88%); South Korea, 96 percent (very 60%); the United States 93 percent (very 54%), Armenia 86 percent (very 54%), China, 85 percent (very 54%); Thailand, 83 percent (very 61%); and India, 79 percent (very 51%).


Respondents were also asked whether "international trade agreements should or should not be required to maintain minimum standards for protection of the environment." [sic, another Euro-U.S. hegemonic driven leading question, I suppose we're going to be hearing greenwash strategies that the same WTO/GATT corporate degradative developmentalism and global corporate monopolies are now "good for the planet," eh? Nothing could be further from the truth. These crony frameworks are the main cause of environmental degradation in materials choice, state subsidizes, and crony destruction and ignoring of locality prioritization in development--the latter far more key to sustainability.]

In ten of the 11 countries where this question was asked, very large majorities believe such standards should be required while in one country views are divided. Those in favor of standards include developing countries, whose governments have sometimes resisted environmental regulations, arguing that implementing such costly rules would put their economies at a competitive disadvantage. [sic, which is definitely true, though fails to have to be, and definitely why certain very limited Euro-U.S. frameworks of developmentalism strategies are being promulgated.]

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[Picture: Chinese urban smog seen from space]

In Asia, the Chinese support environmental standards by an overwhelming 85 percent. [China is incredibly polluted.]

Seven in ten Thais (69%) also favor such standards as do six in ten Indians (60%). Filipinos are evenly divided (48% in favor, 49% opposed).

In Latin America, an overwhelming majority of Argentines (90%) say such standards should be required.

There is also strong support in Mexico (76%), where the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has required the government to enact certain environmental measures. [sic, sure...]

In Eastern Europe, environmental measures are favored in Poland (90%), Ukraine (88%) and Armenia (82%), both of which suffer from severe air and water pollution as well as deforestation dating from the Soviet era.

Support for environmental standards is also strong among the relatively wealthy publics of Israel (93%) and the United States (91%).


Conclusion: Green Majorities in UnGreen States

It's exactly this "green majority in ungreen states" that the book Toward A Bioregional State discusses: how to arrange such supermajority frameworks of environmentalism and local concern to be feedback for sustainable development and prioritization:

As was said in the book summary which seems more verified than ever:

"Toward A Bioregional State is a novel approach to development and to sustainability...propos[ing] that instead of sustainability being an issue of population scale, managerial economics, or technocratic planning, an overhaul of formal democratic institutions and commodity choices to be more locally sustainable are required. This is because environmental degradation has more to do with the biased interactions of formal institutions and informal corruption. Because of corruption, and unrepresentative choices of materials associated with it, we have environmental degradation. Current formal democratic institutions of states are forms of informal gatekeeping in politics as well as materials, and as such, intentionally maintain democracy and commodities as ecologically “out of sync”. He argues that we are unable to reach sustainability without a host of additional ecological checks and balances. These ecological checks and balances would demote corrupt uses of formal institutions by removing capacities for gatekeeping against democratic feedback and more democratic material choices. Sustainability is a politics that is already here—only waiting to be formally organized."

9 Comments:

Blogger Keith said...

Wow. Long, but interesting, post. I had some of the same reservations about the poll. Not only the phraseology used, but different methods, different times, different audiences, some questions asked of some, not of others, some questions said differently... and why, pray tell, was Brazil omitted from the survey? Anyway, would be interested what you might think of my observations.

Best Regards,
Keith R

3/18/2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hi Keith,

First I might cut them some slack over this claim--though it may simply be a claim:

"This is the first in a series of reports based on the findings of this survey that will analyze international attitudes on key international issues."

Second, you are very right (let's be a bit more blunt) in being skeptical that they likely rigged the results to make up a first press release for what they were looking for it seems: some kind of global support for their versions of same old unsustainable developmentalism, merely justified and talked of in terms of green discourse.

As they hotly noted, discussed well at your link I think, they call this policy debate a "controversy"--though Anglo-American CFR/RIIA related institutions have rarely enjoyed or encouraged policy debate. They were hardly founded for that purpose back in the 1920s.

Remember, as they say, they are:

"committed to influencing the discourse [hegemonically] on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue [harmonization above the heads of the actual people involved], and public learning...

...which is very different from having a discussion about it from the point of view of local concerns.

Your link covers more throughly some of the curious 'techniques' of seeming cherrypicking of data and perhaps hiding some countries' data because it failed to fit in their press release's desire of "influencing the discourse". My post was more fascinated about the demographics of their few open ended questions.

As to your post's question about Brazil, I would anticipate that Brazil was either surveyed (and is being hidden away) or consciously left out as "uninfluencable"? Notice they seem to geostrategically only 'step around' Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia in South America. How can they simply claim an interest in getting a large representative sample of the world, though sidestep the largest countries in South America?

Bolded are the ones they surveyed in south America, for example:

Country / Population /Area (km²) / Density

Ecuador 13,363,593 283,109 457

Colombia 42,954,279 1,138,910 37

Venezuela 25,375,281 912,050 27

Brazil 186,112,794 8,511,965 21

Peru 27,925,628 1,285,220 21

Chile 16,136,137 756,950 21

Uruguay 3,415,920 176,220 19

Paraguay 6,347,884 406,750 15

Argentina 39,537,943 2,766,890 14

Bolivia 8,857,870 1,098,580 8

Guyana 765,283 214,970 3

Suriname 438,144 163,270 2

French Guiana 195,506 91,000 2

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) 2,967 12,173 0.24


Thus obviously there was a concern with getting something different than merely more than 50% of the world population in their sample, since this seems to have been done in a very selective manner in where they wanted to ask.

Were there even more countries than 17 asked?

Notice they admit to crafting a press release about at least 17 countries surveyed, though much of the data is conspicuously partial after that to build up their case:

"It includes 17 countries--China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Israel, Armenia--and the Palestinian territories. These represent more than 55 percent of the world population."

In the press release, notice for 'the symbol of disagreement' their polling, reports on "Armenian opposition", which I am sure is more palatable to their desire to influence the discourse than a report about "Brazilian, Colombian, Bolivian, and Venezuelan" opposition.

Taking this theme a bit wider, notice the conspicuous absence of any country/area that the US or UK are warring against or making mad at present, respectively: they were certainly uninterested in querying the Middle East at large or Europe for example.

Certainly for the latter, they would know that Germany and France and much of Scandinavia had taken a completely different tact and dislikes such interventionism much less feelers for 'green coated interventionism' which seems to have been their motivation which perhaps came up short.

So to make a happy press release "finding of widespread popular support"--did it? Did they leave out and are sitting on 7 of 17 other countries to get such a stacked happy press release for 'green coated interventionism'?

There's a battle for geostrategic territory as well as world opinion setting, and they seem to be working with areas they considered "not already accounted for"--with the areas "accounted for" about which they would know already in opposition?

I am unable to imagine that they had a limited budget, so I only suspect that they intentionally wrote off some countries as "uninfluencable to their point of view" so they were left out of the poll originally; second, then it may have been a surprise to them to find a lot of places they did include "didn't like" their ideas of "influencing the policy debate"--what, with 7 of the 17 or so countries left out sometimes? What did they REALLY have to say about their ideas of developmental policy strategies?

So those other countries were left out of their first press release which is all we have to go with so far?

These are just a few of my assumptions and suspicions as I read it, with a half grin at its brave face sort half reportage, i.e., like "we asked the happy amputee to talk enthusiastically about his remaining arm though anything about how he got amputated was unasked and unhappy amputees were unavailable." Throughout the first press release, it did leave out major basic questions of the aggregate data's soundness like you discuss they did in almost every crafted point they wanted to make.

To counteract this, if they release the full data, country methods, and country survey instruments for analysis, that would be good.

I imagine what we want to know was the real report, written privately.

Then they glumly cut away some of the data to make it look good enough for a press release.

I'm glad they left some of the open ended questions and answers about particular countries when they did this.

I bookmarked your website. Thanks for the link.

Regards,


Mark

3/18/2007 1:19 PM  
Blogger ericswan said...

I don't do polls. The questions do not matter. The answers are irrelevant. The only way a poll would be useful is a question like "What do you think?" Otherwise your on a big boat and your room is in steerage.

Try a little harder to pyramid your ideas in print. First line to the point and followed by your evidence. This is not an exercise in decompression. There are plenty of opportunities even on your own blog to make your peace.

3/23/2007 10:21 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hi Eric.

Eric writes:

"I don't do polls. The questions do not matter. The answers are irrelevant. The only way a poll would be useful is a question like "What do you think?" Otherwise your on a big boat and your room is in steerage.

Well, if there was only one poll on it I would agree. Though there is quite a bit of many different polls and they are all starting to look like the same thing demographically.

That's what's called external validity, i.e., that it captures what you think it captures:

External validity is a form of experimental validity[1] An experiment is said to possess external validity if the experiment’s results hold across different experimental settings, procedures and participants.[2][3] If a study possesses external validity, its results will generalize to the larger population. [as well as other experiments aiming to do the same will find similar things.]

(This is indeed occurring across those three opening links.)

This is opposed to internal validity (does the instrument you use to measure external validity actually connect to it in some fashion). A lack of internal validity would be like staring at a seismograph in a deep underground bunker hoping to see the needle move when the sun rises, or predicting election results from it.

"Try a little harder to pyramid your ideas in print. First line to the point and followed by your evidence. This is not an exercise in decompression. There are plenty of opportunities even on your own blog to make your peace."

It's sort of pyramided, in three sections. However, I'm sure reads like a bell curve expanding toward its tips, spread out into an alluvial plain of informative fractal waterways and information silt dump (as Keith sort of noted by his comment on its length) getting wider and wider.

First section: it was small at the top dealing with the external validity issue up front; second section: bit wider with mere summary points that I found more open ended from that recent poll without even discussing the poll; third section spreading out to the event horizon where I dismantled many of the poll's leading questions in general, though had more confidence in the external validity because its proportions for various countries like the U.S. and Britain fit with some previous completely unrelated polls I had mentioned.

This triangulation of many different polls getting at the same thing, finding the same general proportions on similar questions, is what I found as interesting as this global poll's information.

That's why I put that issue of external validity up front for what follows.

I could have stopped after section two, though section three really shows exactly who is interested/concerned about how to appeal to this demographic for clientelizing it--and clientlizing it selectively (as Keith's comment as well as mine to his get into).

"The only way a poll would be useful is a question like "What do you think?" Otherwise your on a big boat and your room is in steerage."

Yes, another interest in the third section was questioning this: asking about the strategy of questions and who was asking whom about what and possibly why. True, since the purpose of the poll seems to have been basically: "how much would you support the CFR if we did this and appealed to you in this way, and forced this particular type of policy on you? If we merely called it green, would you accept it as green? How many of you would we fool, how many of you would accept it or reject it?"

On the one hand, it's an appeal to local interests.

On the other hand, its an attempt to clientelize them--the latter which I fail to see how it would be different from what came before in the basic environmental degradation regime of asymmetrical power, economics, finance, and knowledge relationships--that would only perpetuate more of the same.

Your analogy about some poll's putting people "under the waves in steerage class" by the ship of state is quite apt I think.

Though you have to remember, it's money that makes polls. Polls don't make money. :-)

We're dealing with someone's instruments of power preservation and desires of continuity of their clientelism. Another form of poll more akin to what you would see as ideal would be the rapid rural appraisal sort of techniques, which are rather inventive:

Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) is an approach used by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other agencies involved in international development. The approach aims to incorporate the knowledge and opinions of rural people in the planning and management of development projects and programmes.

* 1 Origins of participatory rural appraisal
* 2 Overview of PRA techniques
* 3 A 'new professionalism' for development
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links

Origins of participatory rural appraisal

In the early 1980’s, a number of development experts were seeking ways of collecting information from rural people that overcame both the reductionism of formal surveys, and the biases of typical field visits.

In 1983, Robert Chambers, a Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (UK), used the term Rapid Rural Appraisal to describe techniques that could bring about a 'reversal of learning' [1]. Two years later, the first international conference to share experiences relating to RRA was held in Thailand [2]. This was followed by a rapid growth in the development of methods that involved rural people in examining their own problems, setting their own goals, and monitoring their own achievements. By the mid 1990’s, the term RRA had been replaced by a number of other terms including ‘Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA)’ and ‘Participatory Learning and Action’ (PLA).

Overview of PRA techniques

Hundreds of participatory techniques and tools have been described in a variety of books and newsletters, or taught at training courses around the world. These techniques can be divides into four categories:

* Group dynamics, e.g. learning contracts, role reversals, feedback sessions

* Sampling, e.g. transect walks, wealth ranking, social mapping

* Interviewing, e.g. focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews, triangulation

* Visualization e.g. venn diagrams, matrix scoring, timelines

A 'new professionalism' for development

A key idea that has accompanied the development of PRA techniques is that of a new professionalism.

Robert Chambers has explained this as follows:

“The central thrusts of the [new] paradigm … are decentralization and empowerment. Decentralization means that resources and discretion are devolved, turning back the inward and upward flows of resources and people. Empowerment means that people, especially poorer people, are enabled to take more control over their lives, and secure a better livelihood with ownership and control of productive assets as one key element. Decentralization and empowerment enable local people to exploit the diverse complexities of their own conditions, and to adapt to rapid change”.[3]

See also

* Participatory action research
* Participatory technology development
* Participation (decision making)
* Wikipedia:WikiProject International development
* Farmer Field School
* Community-led total sanitation
* Community-based participatory research (CBPR)
* Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)




The bioregional state motif is sort of a formal governmental apparatus of participatory localist appraisal, within a context of larger checks and balances on how to demote such larger scale placeless clientelisms developing the crony degradative developmental processes in the first place.

3/24/2007 12:15 PM  
Blogger ericswan said...

Alright Mark. I'm Okay with it. Polls are people too.

I remember being at the founding meeting for the Green Party of Canada back in 1981. I played a part in it. I suggested that we call our leadership hierarchy "facilitators" the main reason being that our French/English documents and the translation of such should reflect what was implied, clearly in both languages. "Facilitator" is the same in both languages.

That was my only contribution. This meeting of thousands of Greens for the founding of a political party was hijacked by "confusers" and "obfuscators". At the end of the meeting, it was decided that we weren't going to elect a Party leader which is easily viewed by many as a "Green" value. The problem then was the legal requirement to have an elected body to represent "our" interests in the current legal framework. We had shot ourselves in the head. It took another decade to straighten that out and get with the program. The moment was lost. The party had been eviscerated and remains to be seen when it will roll over and die.

I remember the couple that was promoting Esperanto as the solution to the world's problems. I remember it well as I had travelled thousands of miles to be there and, to me, every second was absolutely critical. I interrupted their speech, accused them of being CIA and there to disrupt the political process. Many felt as I did but the facilitators had set the agenda and speakers were given their turn. I was there for an election. I know the process and it was going off track. We had to vote on Esperanto. It of course was rejected and in so doing, the party went home without a leader.

A bit of the cart before the horse as it were.

Which brings me back to your post on polling the populace. For me, it's sleeping with the enemy. I prefer action to it's antithesis.

Polling is mind bending. I would prefer polls that lead to action. So far, all I've ever seen from polling is more money, power and disinformation aimed at realligning the poll to the pollsters (aka the money) agenda.

3/25/2007 8:33 AM  
Blogger Syn Diesel said...

Mark, you need to check out Lion Kuntz's ideas.

http://h2-pv.us/phpbb/
http://www.ecosyn.us/Interesting/

5/04/2007 12:17 AM  
Blogger Syn Diesel said...

btw, I understand both Kirkpatrick Sale and High Weirdness. ;-)


- Mark

5/04/2007 12:23 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks, Syn. He's assembled some interesting links there. On the "sustainability and parapolitics" being the same, I've actually seen a "Lion Kuntz, Researcher of Evil" (a memorable cognomen) make a detailed discussion of financial facts corroborating some of the details of the Jules Ascher hard-to-find book The Plot to Seize the White House, here:
http://www.amazon.com/plot-seize-White-House/dp/B0006COVHA/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/103-8225824-0863036?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1178268644&sr=1-2

"btw, I understand both Kirkpatrick Sale and High Weirdness..."

haha. Yes, I think Lion Kuntz would say the same. ;-) Check his Amazon.com review of that book. He could have closed with "the prosecution rests, Your Honor."

5/04/2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

[Definitely 'green majority in ungreen states, revisited,' in the U.S.A.]

Americans Consider Global Warming An Urgent Threat, According To Poll

Science Daily — A growing number of Americans consider global warming an important threat that calls for drastic action, and 40% say that a presidential candidate's position on the issue will strongly influence how they vote, according to a national survey conducted by Yale University, Gallup and the ClearVision Institute.

"One of the most surprising findings was the growing sense of urgency," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change and the study's principal investigator. "Nearly half of Americans now believe that global warming is either already having dangerous impacts on people around the world or will in the next 10 years--a 20-percentage-point increase since 2004. These results indicate a sea change in public opinion."

Survey's findings

Sixty-two percent of respondents believe that life on earth will continue without major disruptions only if society takes immediate and drastic action to reduce global warming.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans support a new international treaty requiring the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050.

Yet, Leiserowitz notes, the United States has yet to sign the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that would require the United States to cut its emissions 7 percent by the year 2012.

A surprising 40 percent of respondents say a presidential candidate's position on global warming will be either extremely important (16 percent) or very important (24 percent) when casting their ballots. "With the presidential primaries and general election near," Leiserowitz said, "candidates should recognize that global warming has become an important issue for the electorate."

Eight-five percent of those polled support requiring automakers to increase the fuel efficiency of cars, trucks and SUVs to 35 miles per gallon, even if it meant a new car would cost up to $500 more; and 82 percent support requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it cost the average household an extra $100 a year.

Majorities of Americans, however, continue to oppose carbon taxes as a way to address global warming -- either in the form of gasoline (67 percent against) or electricity taxes (71 percent against).

Finally, 50 percent of respondents say they are personally worried --15 percent say a "great deal"-- about global warming.

"Many Americans, however, believe that global warming is a very serious threat to other species, people and places far away," said Leiserowitz, "but not so serious of a threat to themselves, their own families or local communities. Nonetheless, they do strongly support a number of national and international policies to address this problem."

Methodology

The survey was conducted July 23-26, 2007, using telephone interviews with 1,011 adults, aged 18-plus. Respondents came from Gallup's household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. The final sample is considered to be representative of U.S. adults nationwide, with a margin of error of ±4 percentage points.

Note: This story has been adapted from material provided by Yale University.

---
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071001102343.htm

10/03/2007 8:18 PM  

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