14 November 2013

Good news and bad news about climate change from Stanford U

First the bad news, even if it's old news. Stanford University scientists report that not only is the Earth undergoing one of the largest climate changes since the dinosaurs disappeared, it is occurring 10 times faster than any other change in that period. Many species will have great difficulty making the behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations necessary to survive that rate of change. Entire ecosystems will be greatly stressed. As will global civilization.

Well, you know all that, but Stanford also has some good news. Professor Jon Krosnick has released polling data revealing that a solid majority of Americans in every state now believe that global warming is real. Furthermore, they support government action to limit greenhouse gas emissions by industry and in particular by power plants. A majority in every state also supports a cap-and-trade system to limit emissions; tax breaks to encourage the production of solar, wind and water energy; and government regulations or tax breaks to require or encourage improvements in the energy efficiency of cars, appliances and buildings.

Agreement about global warming ranged from 75 per cent in Idaho to 88 per cent in Arizona, New Mexico and Massachusetts. Surprisingly, two very red states, Oklahoma and Texas, agreed 87 and 84 per cent respectively. With most Republicans in Congress denying the existence of climate change or opposing action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the red states would seem to have very poor representation in Washington on climate change.

“To me," said Professor Krosnick, "the most striking finding that is new today was that we could not find a single state in the country where climate skepticism was in the majority.” President Obama has a very powerful mandate to deal aggressively with global warming, from the American people if
not from Congress. And that's good news for all of us.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, Bill, there's a huge disconnect between accepting the reality of global warming and being willing to accept the change necessary to deal with it. This isn't helped by the fear-mongering of the denialism industry that disseminates warnings about having to live in caves in sackcloth and ashes.