17 July 2015

Are we reaching a critical mass on climate change?

Convincing people that anthropogenic climate change is real is a tough slog. Quite aside from the difficulty of selling inconvenient truths, powerful interests have been arrayed against the science. Nonetheless, people around the world are coming to recognize the reality.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that publics in 19 of 40 nations cited climate change as their biggest worry, the most widespread concern of the issues included in the survey. Most of these nations were in Africa and Latin America although they did include India, the world's second most populous nation. Most of the people in these countries declared they were very concerned.

In Western countries where you might expect the well-informed populations to be very concerned, the main worry is in fact ISIS. This is not only unfortunate, as these tend to be the most economically influential nations, but their worry about ISIS is irrational. Understandably Middle Eastern nations are concerned about the fanatical group, but it is hardly a significant threat to the West. It is, after all, under assault from more enemies than you can count on both hands—Syria, the United States and various allies, Iraq, Iran, Iraq's Shia militias, the Kurds, etc. That Western nations are so frightened of this bogeyman that they rank it more serious than global warming is a tribute to a rabid press and hysterical politicians.

But I digress. With many publics now expressing great concern about the climate change threat, a critical mass that the governments of the world cannot ignore may be developing. This bodes well for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December.

1 comment:

  1. My greatest fear, Bill, is the rapidly closing window of opportunity to implement effective action according to scientific consensus. Yes, those 19 countries most fear climate change because they're already bearing its scourge. The fact is, for most of those places there's really no going back.

    The wave of migrants reaching for southern Europe is ample evidence of peoples leaving areas where it's already too late to expect a livable ecology. The US is preparing to meet a similar migration out of Central America and, according to Gwynne Dyer, they're preparing to meet it with force. It's likely that Europe will follow suit out of necessity.

    It's great that attitudes are changing but, among the countries that matter most, the nations that we need to make the really great changes, it's still ISIS.