POLLS: Planet Earth Has Green Majority--in Ungreen States
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:
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.
"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."
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.
Poll Finds Worldwide Agreement That Climate Change is a Threat
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.
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."
"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."
"How do we go about reducing methane?"
"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?
"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."
"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.]
[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."