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Most Canadians are skeptics, and CBC accidentally says so, then “edits” story

Oops! CBC (the Canadian version of the BBC and ABC) have been caught out editing a story to make it more politically correct.  CBC’s political bias is accidentally on display. The original message revealed a sacred truth that must not be spoken. How would most Canadians feel about being forced to pay money to change the weather if they knew most other Canadians also thought it was a waste of billions? As far as I can tell, the updated version was a complete rewrite of the first half of the article. There appear to be a lot of changes.

The unsurprising news is that 56% of Canadians are skeptics —  which is very similar to all other surveys which show that 62% of Brits are 62% skeptical. As are 54% of Australians. Fully third of the US are so skeptical they think it’s a total hoax.

The survey:

Is Earth getting warmer mostly because of human activities? 56% say NO.

Amazingly 39% of Canadians said the next question that they don’t think humans are even partially responsible.

Earth is getting warmer partly or mostly because of human activities.  39% say NO.

So CBC initially wrote a headline which said this:

Climate change: Majority of Canadians don’t believe it’s caused by humans

But thou mayst never admit that skeptics are the majority lest the masses awaken. Groupthink is so influential! So the headline was rapidly changed to an ambiguous muddy wording:

Updated: Canadians divided over human role in climate change, study suggests

— The GWPF appears to have the original story and Webcache has the original headline.

Those results:

Canada, survey, skeptics, climate change, 2016, Yale.

Click to enlarge.

The hidden topic the public broadcasters don’t want to discuss

Everything hinges on the word “mostly” — is the climate mostly human driven and so we have to take action, or is the climate driven mostly by something else, and our action is mostly pointless? This is key to the billion dollar policy debate. What matters here is not the binary belief or disbelief in the entire spectrum known as climate change. That’s a strawman. But the BBC, CBC and ABC appear to want to keep the debate at this pointless level. As far as national action goes we need to talk about how much humans affect the climate, and whether cutting emissions is worth the pain.

The original headline was as accurate as most headlines are

It didn’t need any change to maintain normal headline standards, but it could be improved. The headline could have been changed to make it more accurate without hiding that most Canadians don’t agree with the 97% consensus of climate scientists*. Here are three minor changes that the CBC didn’t choose but would have solved any ambiguity:

Climate change: Majority of Canadians don’t believe humans control it

Climate change: Majority of Canadians think natural forces control it

Climate change: Majority of Canadians don’t believe humans are main cause

Did the Yale researchers play a role in editing the news?

The update claims the correction was due to a “clarification by the researchers”. So either CBC are making up excuses to hide their own partisan political editing, or worse, Yale are seeking politically correct spin on their research, and the CBC compliant  journalists are too empty headed to see through their excuses.

In the original version the size of the skepticism is the main theme at the top (my bolding):

The researchers, also from four U.S. universities, including Yale, surveyed a total of more than 5,000 Canadians over the last five years.

“The skepticism was a bit surprising,” said Érick Lachapelle, who co-authored the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication study, which is being submitted to a scientific journal for publication and has not yet been peer reviewed. “I think it is partly because Canadians are less knowledgable than one might think on the topic.”

Note the Yale communication geniuses know more about climate science than the surgeons, business owners, engineers and geo’s and others who make up “the public”. But if Érick Lachapelle was surprised at this result it’s only because he hasn’t done much research on their own speciality. Most surveys have shown the same thing (see those stats I put above). Canadians are just like the rest of the West.

The Editors note suggests the original story was wrong factually somehow. I’ve highlighted the key fudge words:

EDITOR’S NOTE: CBC has made changes to this story following clarification by the researchers. An earlier version said that a majority of Canadians surveyed didn’t believe that climate change was caused by humans. In fact, the study found that 61 per cent of respondents believed the earth is getting warmer partly or mostly because of human activities. 

A study co-authored by University of Montreal researchers suggests that while 79 per cent of Canadians do not doubt the reality of climate change, 39 per cent don’t believe it is caused by human activity.

The researchers, also from four other universities, including Yale, surveyed a total of more than 5,000 Canadians over the last five years.

“We asked participants if they believed the Earth was getting warmer partly or mostly due to human activities as an indication of climate change,” said lead researcher Matto Mildenberger.

Erick is not so surprised now. That quote the GWPF recorded has disappeared:

“This is a complex issue,” said Erick Lachapelle, the co-author of the study, which is being submitted to a scientific journal for publication and has not yet been peer reviewed.

“It’s kind of normal that people would have more nuanced opinions.”

The study did not ask what people felt was causing climate change, if they did not believe it was caused by humans.

Researchers did not note whether the proportion of Canadians who thought climate change was caused by humans had changed over the five years of the study.

The clarification note that doesn’t clarify?

The clarification note at the end of the article completely avoids saying that the original 56% figure was correct. The problem with it is that different people define “skeptic” differently and some might have interpreted the headline as saying that 56% don’t believe in any form of man-made climate change. Since billions of dollars and 97% of climate scientists say that humans are the dominant cause, it’s pretty obvious that the figure that matters most for public policy is that 56% of Canadians disagree.


An earlier version of this article said that a majority of Canadians surveyed didn’t believe that climate change was caused by humans. In fact, the study found that 44 per cent of respondents believed the earth is getting warmer because of human activities. The study found that 61 per cent felt it was partly or mostly caused by human activities.

It’s pretty stark — how much influence has science lost if “97%” of a specialty say something is for sure and beyond debate and yet more than half the population think they are exaggerating. Don’t expect to see that debate on any public broadcaster unless it’s framed as telling us how stupid the public are. If there is gross corruption, incompetence and unscientific behavior going on in the science industry, the last place we’ll read about it is in our taxpayer funded news agencies.

In reality skeptics are everywhere.  Even the 97% consensus is only a 43% one. More than half the climate scientists don’t agree with the IPCC statement that they are “95% certain” it’s mostly manmade .

Sell the CBC. Sell the BBC. Sell the ABC. Use the money to pay off public debt that big-government loving agencies helped to create.

Requests to readers:

Can anyone find past studies by the same team to compare the number year on year?

Can anyone find a copy of the whole original CBC story in one link or cache? Can anyone get a screen cap of the original story?

h/t Ian Cameron, David, GWPF.

UPDATE: Paul Matthews found the twitter chain. People, including Leah Stokes, one of the researchers made a fuss about the “awful wording” and “terrible reporting”.

Hre is the original tweet from CBC with reply from Leah Stokes

CBC NewsVerified account
Climate change not the fault of humans, indicates study of Canadians http://www.cbc.ca/1.3458142

Leah Stokes ‏@leahstokes 19h19 hours ago
@CBCNews I wrote this study. This is not AT ALL what we said. Terrible reporting continues.

That most Canadians are skeptical of the IPCC and the “consensus” may not be what the annointed experts said, but it is what the survey showed.

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