While denial of global warming is without a doubt from bandwagon appeal furthered by campaign donations, I get the impression that the acceptance of global warming by politicians is also primarily a result of the bandwagon effect. The bandwagon fallacy being

[An argumentum ad populum] that concludes that a proposition is true because many or most people believe it: "If many believe so, it is so."

The main reason I think so is because it is not a major issue for most of them. I get the impression that if they knew how serious it is, then it would be a major issue for them, and they would have made more efforts to combat it.

  • $\begingroup$ There are 2 different opinions backed up with science which oppose each other when looking at the science of global warming. Which scientific opinion you follow is purely down to what you believe is true and that would be down to opinion. This comment I have made is my opinion made from looking at the arguments based on science and unfortunately opinion is not on-topic for questions and answers here. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 9:13
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    $\begingroup$ I don't feel this is on topic here. It is only tangentially related to psychology. At a minimum, I would rephrase as "Can the acceptance of ..." instead of "Is ...". Quite certainly, nobody will be able to give you a 'universal' answer to the latter. Given that you seem to understand what the bandwagon effect is, you can understand that the former question most definitely can be answered with 'yes'. This, however, does not mean it holds true for everyone. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 11:24

2 Answers 2


If we stay with the Western democracies, the politician's agenda(s) are shaped mostly by their own desire to remain in power (i.e. self-interest) more so than to satisfy the needs of the electorate. If it behooves the politician to accept "global warming" to received more votes, than the politician will support such a cause or viewpoint. Hence, they will join the "global warming" bandwagon irregardless of its scientific validity.
This is unfortunate and certainly not the ideal or preferred behavior of our elected officials. Nevertheless, even a cursory review of US history shows us that the political mind, when at work, prefers "popularity" over "science" or "reason". After all, our elections are about popularity more than anything else. And political agendas are shaped mostly by the power structures within society that "shape" the masses (via media, education, etc.)

I don't particularly like this situation -- but there it is.

Here also is some further reading that I found interesting though there is much in the article to disagree with.


First off, political agendas in Western democratic countries are, of course, shaped by the masses.

Secondly, global warming is becoming a science in its own right. Climatology is important and is based on models based on historical data to predict the future, taking into account current greenhouse gas concentrations, melting of the polar caps, sea levels, population growth and what not. In other words, it is far too complicated a subject to be completely understood by the regular ground folks.

Thus, indeed, [intelligent, capable] politicians rely on scientists to do the thinking for them. In turn, politician's agendas are shaped by the populace so their focus is, and should be guided by the masses.

This should, however, not be a reason to adhere to hypotheses and theories to be correct or incorrect based on the people's opinion. And hence I do not agree that politician's opinions in general are shaped according to the bandwagon appeal.


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