In a poll on Facebook today, 1001 people answered the question: “Will humans be able to overcome the global warming crisis?” Among them, 50% said no, 31% said yes, and 19% said that “it’s not really an issue.” The poll demonstrates the curious collection of attitudes that exists about the problem: the tendency, highlighted by Al Gore among others, to go immediately from doubting the reality of climate change to believing that humanity is simply doomed to endure whatever it will involve.
The breakdown of the responses by sex is also interesting. Men are much more likely to affirm that global warming is not a problem (24% compared to 12% among women). They are slightly more likely to believe that the problem can be solved (32% compared to 29%). Finally, they are significantly less likely to respond that the problem cannot be addressed (44% compared to 59% of women). It is odd that there is such a tendency towards skepticism among men and towards fatalism among women. Of course, all sorts of problems exist with treating these results too seriously; most notably, self-selection effects make it unlikely that this is a representative sample of even the population using Facebook, much less the general population.
After all, more than 81% of respondents were under 24, and 27.3% were between 13 and 17. Those aged 35-49 (n=44) were the most optimistic, with 39% saying that the problem can be solved. The greatest pessimists were in the 25-34 group (n=130), with 59% saying no. Finally, the most skeptics were in the 18-24 group (n=540), where 22% claim that climate change isn’t a serious issue.