A “megatrend”, apparently hardly worth mentioning

The Ipsos MORI global trends 2014 kept surprising me. This time I looked into the report that summarized the results of the survey. One of the trends Ipsos MORI noticed in 2014 was, you guessed it, Climate Change. But although it is considered a “megatrend”, there is hardly any mention of it further in the report!

There is only a brief mention of three of the eight questions on environment. The most interesting questions like “I am tired of the fuss that is being made about the environment”, “The government is just using environmental issues as an excuse to raise taxes”, “Companies do not pay enough attention to the environment” and the two “The climate change we are currently seeing…” questions weren’t even mentioned at all. The question “Even the scientists don’t really know what they are talking about on environmental issues” was hidden in an artistic, but reader unfriendly, summary at the beginning of the report.

ipsos-globaltrend 2014 part page 2

Yet environment was one out of the eight subjects that were polled about. Speaking of a, ahem, false balance. 😉 If Climate Change is such a big issue, worth having it as a separate item in the survey, then why incorporating only three questions in the report?

This is how this “megatrend” is explained:

MEGATREND 4: Climate change
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is happening faster than predicted. Most scientists agree, even if the short term impact is unclear.

Half the world lives in urban areas breathing dirty air which fails to meet WHO’s air quality standards, including many developed countries. Yet is the change really that we are now able to measure it accurately? With the rise of Nest and Hive in western markets, it remains to be seen whether the tipping point lies between consumers changing their habits, or governments enforcing or ‘nudging’ behaviours, although Ipsos MORI’s view is that some heavyweight ‘shoving’ may be needed!

That was it. A rather short and confusing way of explaining it. The explanation we got was one sentence about the IPCC (I can certainly understand where that comes from), but then the “dirty” air remark… Do they mean that CO2 is dirty air? Or do they mean that polluted air in the cities is leading to climate change? Not just a small change, a “megatrend”. The Nest and Hive remark is probably about the smart meters in the UK, so do they actually thinking that consumers might be able to fix the climate by using smart meters? Or governments by force those meters onto their citizens? I wish I could have a brief peek in the mind of the author of this piece, because these sentences don’t make much sense.

Rather funny was the “Most scientists agree, even if the short term impact is unclear” statement. I agree that the impact on the short term is unclear, but make that also for the long term impact… As far as I know the scary stories are build on mathematical models, based on a still very limited understanding of the climate system, on limited observational data and a lot of assumptions.

I have heard such things many times before. The science is settled, scientists agree, but the great unwashed fail to see this and they have to be force fed to fix the climate. It is for our own good. English is not my mother tongue, so some details may escape me, but when looking up the word “shoving” and “nudge” in the dictionary doesn’t make me optimistic. Especially not when combined with “heavyweight”.

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