May 1, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different
No, not Friday cat blogging. I'm a dog person, folks. But I thought I would pause from the Swine Flu coverage to pass on these interesting findings with uncertain implications from a pair of researchers, Patrick Egan and Megan Mullin (via the Monkey Cage) regarding public opinion and climate change. They found:
For each three degrees that local temperature rises above normal, Americans become one percentage point more likely to agree that there is "solid evidence" that the earth is getting warmer.
I can't decide if this makes me feel better or worse about the politics of passing climate change legislation. On the one hand, I'm banking on a hot summer, which the study suggests would cause support for climate change legislation to rise and, if we're lucky, 60 votes would then magically appear in the Senate. On the other hand, I don't know if I like the thought of the prospects for passing Waxman/Markey resting substantially upon the weather.

On the other hand, Americans aren't exactly a scientifically-aware lot (if polls are to be believed) and it should come as no surprise that low-information voters -- which the study claims are the ones whose opinions are swayed in this way -- would base their opinions on the outside temperature. I suppose the main upside is that even low-information voters bring a certain kind of common sense to the debate. The GOP may be able to lie and obfuscate on the policy details and on cap-and-trade's cost to consumers, but it's pretty hard to convince people in a sauna that they're not feeling the heat.

Chart by Egan and Mullin via the Monkey Cage

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Anonymous Jill Richardson said...

No friday night cat blogging? I reject that!

Blogger Walter Jeffries said...

Uhm... People keep making the assumption that Global Warming is bad. Maybe it isn't. Global Cooling, what they used to warn us we were headed for, is far, far worse. Another ice age would be far more devastating than the worst predictions of Global Warming. The current temperature is simply what we're used to. It has been colder and hotter than it is now even within recently recorded history. The little ice age of the 1800's was a source of great hardship and deaths due to starvation. Global Warming simply means a shifting and adjusting of life. That's part of nature and evolution.

I do agree that people should use less resources and pollute less. Most of all I wish the hypocrites like Gore would stop jetting around the world and spouting so much. They waste more resources in one of their trips than I'll use in my lifetime. Gore should walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Blogger tlaskawy said...

Global Cooling, including the idea that anyone was talking about it in the 1970s, is a myth propagated by the climate denial machine. Joe Romm covers it well in this post, which starts with a quote from a review paper that looked into that very question:

"'There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.'

So begins an excellent review article [PDF] in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society by Thomas Peterson, William Connolley, and John Fleck."

There is no scientific basis to the global cooling myth and it's patently untrue that scientists were "concerned" about it at any time in the last 40 years. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either woefully misinformed or a climate change denier.

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