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How much concern about climate change will exist in 2025, according to Google Trends?

At the start of 2019, in a blogpost entitled "Whatever happened to 90s environmentalism?", Scott Alexander wrote:

Imagine that twenty years from now, nobody cares or talks about global warming. It hasn’t been debunked. It’s still happening. People just stopped considering it interesting. Every so often some webzine or VR-holozine or whatever will publish a “Whatever Happened To Global Warming” story, and you’ll hear that global temperatures are up X degrees centigrade since 2000 and that explains Y percent of recent devastating hurricanes. Then everyone will go back to worrying about Robo-Trump or Mecha-Putin or whatever.

If this sounds absurd, I think it’s no weirder than what’s happened to 90s environmentalism and the issues it cared about.

This question is about the extent to which interest in climate change, as measured by Google Trends, will have changed by 2025. It asks:

Let the average monthly value of this Google Trends index of climate concern for the first six months of 2025 be F, and the monthly value for June 2020 be P.

What will be the value of F/P?

The index is the sum of the search interest in the following 10 terms according to Google Trends, over the time-window: 2004-2025-07-01, normalised for climate change:

  1. climate change
  2. global warming
  3. greenhouse gas
  4. greenhouse effect
  5. fossil fuels
  6. carbon dioxide
  7. sea level rise
  8. emissions
  9. renewable energy
  10. climate science

The search terms used to generate the data are:

The normalisation process is explained on the second tab of the google sheets document.


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