Citizen Action Monitor

“America has turned agnostic” on climate change

No 302 Posted by fw, October 17, 2011

“In 2008, both the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, Barack Obama and John McCain, warned about man-made global warming and supported legislation to curb emissions. After he was elected, President Obama promised “a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change,” and arrived cavalry-like at the 2009 United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen to broker a global pact. But two years later, now that nearly every other nation accepts climate change as a pressing problem, America has turned agnostic on the issue.Elisabeth Rosenthal, New York Times article, Where did global warming go?

Indeed. Where did global warming go as a pressing problem in America?  Below is a summary account of Rosenthal’s evidence that “America has turned agnostic” on climate change. (Click on the linked title to read the full article).

Over and above Rosenthal’s excellent reporting is the high quality of the first half-dozen or so of over 300 readers’ comments, two of which are included below my summary of Rosenthal’s evidence.

Where Did Global Warming Go? by Elisabeth Rosenthal, October 15, 2011

Elisabeth Rosenthal is a reporter and blogger on environmental issues for the New York Times.

ROSENTHAL’S EVIDENCE

  • Among the Republican presidential hopefuls, only Jon M. Huntsman Jr. said that he trusted scientists’ view that the problem was real. The others agreed with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas that “the science is not settled” on man-made global warming
  • Obama’s focus has shifted from climate change to green jobs as a way to improve the economy, not the environment. He didn’t even mention climate in his 2011 State of the Union address and never mentions the issue in public
  • Obama’s administration is seeking exemption from Europe to charge airlines for CO2 emissions when they land on the continent.
  • Few will be surprised if Obama approves of the Keystone pipeline later this year
  • American public concern about climate change has plummeted in the polls. And America trails badly behind many other countries when it comes to passing climate change legislation
  • Generally speaking, Americans continue to prefer bigger cars, bigger homes, value personal freedom, mistrust climate scientists, and are suspicious of any government intervention to address climate change, especially if perceived to threaten lifestyle choices
  • Of course the fossil-fuel industry has been funding climate change deniers and effectively lobbying  politicians to delay or block legislation

TWO READERS’ COMMENTS

Chris Stahnke, McLean, VA, October 16th, 2011 — Some of the comments here are pretty strange. We are talking here about potential catastrophe not inconvenience. Because of inadequate science education our culture suffers and we appear incapable of making a rational analysis of anything. Let me put it to you out there who seem so mentally slow. Nature is ruled by systems that operate within a range of temperatures. We, for example, have a range of temperatures–if we rise from 97 degrees to 99 that’s not a big deal–we may feel a slight bit of discomfort but we may also feel nothing. If we move from 101 to 103 then we feel it quite a lot. When we move from 104 to 106 we die–we change state–the system breaks down. Now, assuming that the models are correct, and we face the possibility of dramatically higher temperatures in the future shouldn’t we take it seriously? The record that has been gleaned from Iceland and elsewhere has shown that catastrophic events that are equivalent of a change of state do happen. Wake up out there! Look at how life-systems work–do a legitimate risk-analysis. Is risking your children’s and grandchildren’s future worth playing with your pathetic toys? Check out what the climate is doing to poorer countries right now–how unpredictable weather leads to food shortages.

Global Problem, Long Beach, California, October 16th, 2011 — When I was in high school in one of my math classes for some reason the topic of discussion changed to global warming. I stated my opinion that I thought that global warming had been in effect for years and was an important issue. My teacher said that it had been very cold that winter which was his reason for not believing that global warming existed. No one else in the class seemed to believe in global warming either. I think this is one of the reasons that global warming or climate change is not an issue to most Americans. Like it says in the article most people in America seem not to be big believers in science and seem not to know all of the facts. Many believe that since it’s cold there’s no global warming but they don’t take in the fact that global warming causes extreme weather changes. It can become extremely cold, hot, or cause severe weather similar to some of the events this world has been having. For example this country had the worst tornado season in ten years this year. In order to change public opinion and have stronger restrictions on our CO2 emissions America’s citizens need to change their opinion. Americans, it seems, don’t like change or more restrictions even if it is for the greater good. Most other nations are emitting less and less CO2 each year but not many Americans want to change the environmental policies. I know that the recession has caused a lot of problems but that doesn’t mean that America needs to avoid all other sources of conflict. I think we need to make a change to help solve world problems and not just think about ourselves.

Read All Comments (328) »

MY COMMENT – I would add to Rosenthal’s evidence the American public’s deplorable scientific illiteracy, the failure of America’s corporate-controlled mainstream media to keep the public responsibly informed, and the failure of the scientific community to find ways to successfully communicate climate science to politicians and the people.

RELATED POSTS

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog, Citizen Action Monitor, may contain copyrighted material that may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material, published without profit, is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues. It is published in accordance with the provisions of the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling and its six principle criteria for evaluating fair dealing
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: