28 June 2011

Say “Yes” to Dodgy, Partisan Polls

“Judgment Day is inevitable.” —Terminator,
in “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”.
According to Sky News:
A leading climate change advocate maintains public sentiment for climate change action is improving despite a poll showing support has dropped to a record low.
According to the Lowy Institute poll, 75% of Australians believe the federal government has done a poor job addressing climate change.
Just 41% think the issue is a serious and pressing problem, down five points from last year and 27 points since 2006.
Australians are also much less willing to pay a price to tackle climate change, with 39% not prepared to pay anything extra.
John Connor, chief executive of The Climate Institute, a non-partisan and independent research organisation, said the polling was undertaken in April.
“It’s a worrying trend but not a surprising trend,” Mr Connor told AAP.
“We’ve picked up at least a change in the momentum since we launched the Say Yes campaign.”
Analysis of talk-back radio by the institute showed an improvement in support for climate change action since February, Mr Connor said.
“I’m not at all relaxed but I think we are seeing a turning point.”
The polling had tracked the decline of the debate over the years into one that is now extremely partisan.
“There was bipartisan support for action and the emissions trading scheme and an international legal agreement (in 2007),” Mr Connor said.
A strong commitment by the UK to act on climate change had also improved attitudes by Australians to a carbon price, he said.  [Right, John, keep thinking that.]
The Climate Institute is “a non-partisan and independent research organisation” though its representative admits involvement in a decidedly partisan “Say ‘Yes’” campaign?  It seems that The Climate Institute is a non-partisan and independent research organisation because it says so—and in the same, contradictory, post-modern way whereby a promise not to introduce a ‘carbon’ tax is parsed as a clear undertaking to impose the tax, and any conflictual evidence or incorrect prophecy from a climatologist constitutes a proof of whatever he conjectures.  Well, Say “Yes” to More Taxes, a leading, non-partisan, institute of analytical excellence in natural philosophy, says, “Rubbish.”
Here is what we can learn of The Climate Institute from its own web-site:
Who is The Climate Institute?
Established in late 2005, The Climate Institute is a non-partisan, independent research organisation that works with community, business and government to drive innovative and effective climate change solutions.  We research.  We educate.  We communicate.
Our vision is for an Australia leading the world in clean technology use and innovation, with clean and low carbon solutions a part of everyday life throughout the community, government and business.
The Climate Institute is primarily funded by a donation from the Poola Foundation (Tom Kantor Fund).

Climate Change & Faith
Faith is an important part of the Climate Institute’s perspective on climate change.  Religion, spirituality and faith provide an ethical and values based foundation to motivate actions for a better environment and a sustainable future.  The Climate Institute’s activities draw from close connections in many community and faith groups, and reflect concerns of these groups as well as their aspirations to create a more harmonious planet.
Climate Partners” of The Climate Institute include The Westpac Group, GE and KPMG.  It is hard to discern any vested interest there.

Science out of thin air.  Energy out of taxpayers’ pockets.

As well as John Connor, who is destined to defeat an empire of robots amassed by the rogue military supercomputer, Skynet, the board of The Climate Institute also includes Andrew Demetriou, CEO of the Australian Football League since 2003, and Clare Martin, former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.
So, clearly, from the same people who promote computer-modelling over empirical data, we now have the supremacy of talk-back radio analysis over a nationally representative opinion survey.
For an example of some egregious push-polling, see “A Survey on a ‘Price on Carbon’”.
(Thanks to a tip from Patrick Kelly.)

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