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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 10/18/2010

Is new global warming poll cause for despair?

By Andrew Freedman

Poll points way ahead for climate change communication

* Light rain chances: Full Forecast | Good pumpkin weather? *

News flash: Americans are confused about global warming. Of course, that's not exactly earth-shattering news, considering the bevy of polling data released during the past year, much of which has shown declining majority support for the view that global warming is primarily caused by human activities -- a view held by the vast majority of climate scientists.

Now a new poll released by Yale University late last week found that 52 percent of Americans would fail a climate change test, and that only 50 percent of those who think global warming is happening think it is caused mostly by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal.

The poll results reveal a society that has not yet fully engaged with the climate change issue, with 48 percent of respondents saying they have thought about global warming "a little" or "not at all." Perhaps most importantly, from my perspective at least, the poll found that only 11 to 14 percent of Americans say they are "very well informed" about how the climate system works, the different causes and consequences of global warming, and the ways global warming can be reduced (though around 50 percent did say they were "fairly well informed" on these aspects). About 75 percent would like more information before they make up their mind on global warming, with most of those saying the Internet would be the first place they would go to learn more.

Some may see these results as cause for despair -- and indeed there are plenty of reasons for scientists, journalists and climate policy advocates to be concerned. For example, the survey of 2,030 American adults found that a full 21 percent of respondents believe the greenhouse effect refers to the ozone layer, rather than to gases in the atmosphere that trap heat, such as carbon dioxide.

Also, the survey found that 38 percent of Americans say there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether global warming is occurring. In fact, there is very little disagreement in the climate science community about whether the climate is warming and why. The major questions in scientific circles mainly concern how quickly the climate will continue to warm, by how much, and what the specific ramifications will be.

The survey also found considerable confusion about the differences between weather and climate, and a whole lot of befuddlement about specific climate science findings. Much of the poll results seem to reveal that most Americans have never taken a climate science class or attended a lecture on the subject, which is not surprising since many universities have only recently begun offering such classes at the intro level to undergraduates, and high school Earth science classes may not get into much detail about how the climate works.

Americans don't seem to know how quickly the planet's climate can change and has changed in the past, and they are confused about the interactions between temperature and carbon dioxide. A large majority -- 67 percent -- of Americans incorrectly believes that the climate has always shifted gradually between warm and cool periods. In reality, Earth's climate history is replete with instances of wrenching, sudden climate shifts that have altered the fate of species large and small.

In perhaps the strangest finding, nearly half of Americans believe that the space program contributes to global warming. On a related (and similarly strange) note, 43 percent of respondents believe global warming would be reduced if we "stop punching holes in the ozone layer with rockets."

By pointing out where the gaps in public understanding are, the Yale poll actually amounts to a helpful blueprint for future climate science communications initiatives. It may help guide scientists, journalists, nonprofit groups and government agencies whose job it is to communicate climate science information and increase public understanding of this issue. The poll shows that Americans are receptive and even eager to learn more about Earth's climate, as well as possible solutions to the global warming problem.

For example, the poll shows that the public holds scientists in much higher esteem than most scientists probably assume is the case. This is despite the so-called "climategate" emails scandal earlier this year and the discovery of minor errors in the 2007 report by the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Both of those episodes supposedly dented public confidence in climate scientists.

However, there is an important caveat missing from the poll, and indeed from many of the recent lamentations about how little the public seems to grasp about climate science -- that is, even if everyone in this country possessed perfect information about climate change, and understood this information to its fullest extent, that would not guarantee any public policy outcomes.

Psychological studies have shown that individual responses to climate change information tend to be much more dependent on political affiliation and other factors. For example, college-educated Republicans are much more likely to doubt the reality or urgency of the climate change threat than college-educated Democrats.

Risk perception is another part of the problem with climate change -- it is a diffuse threat that appears to exist in the distant future, and therefore is quickly outweighed in most people's minds by more immediate concerns, such as the health of the economy. According to the poll's executive summary, "...many of these questions are outside the everyday practical needs of most people. Most people don't need to know about climate change in their daily life, thus it is not surprising that they have devoted little effort to learning these details."

Any communications push to improve Americans' climate literacy must take such social science findings into account, and recognize that this is not as straightforward as it might first seem, where if only people knew more, then everyone would have the same opinion and the appropriate policy actions would be taken to both adapt to and mitigate the threat. The interface between science, policy and the public is much more complicated than that.

The views expressed here are the author's alone and do not represent any position of the Washington Post, its news staff or the Capital Weather Gang.

By Andrew Freedman  | October 18, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Freedman, News & Notes  
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Comments

I prefer the phrase "not yet fully engaged" to confused. The latter assume that Americans have some knowledge that "confuses" them, whereas Americans seem to lack that one singular feature of our species that sets it off from others. That's the ability to acquire knowledge of the future, make some measure of that information, and devise plans to act on it.

Rather, the powerful fossil fuel companies and their allies have seen it in their interests to keep us addicted to their products--no matter what the cost. And we are complicit in the deal, rather willing to believe the pushers, use their products to excess, and ignore the future price.

No, Americans are not confused. A more apt phrase would be "eager to be ignorant." Anyone heard about what's happening on American Idol this week?

Posted by: lfmiller1 | October 18, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"67 percent -- of Americans incorrectly believes that the climate has always shifted gradually between warm and cool periods. In reality, Earth's climate history is replete with instances of wrenching, sudden climate shifts that have altered the fate of species large and small." And it won’t happen again? 100% of the global warming fear mongers think our climate won’t change if we all go back to living in caves and outlaw cars...... IT WILL... It's up to us to adapt.

Posted by: thatavkguy | October 18, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Before Mr. Q. gets on deck, let me point out that "climate" is defined as the average of weather observations over the years. The NWS seems to make a big deal out of 30-year weather record averages, though the average of weather observations for the full life of weather station records is a better measure of the true climate. In locales such as Washington, weather records have been kept for 120 years or more. This was pointed out earlier this summer during the Russian heat wave...Moscow and St. Petersburg have kept weather records since Czarist times, but few other localities in Russia have records going that far back, including our favorite Siberian cold-pole locales, though George R. Stewart mentioned Verkhoyansk in his now-classic novel "Storm".

One item of note: Someone has recently mentioned that a warming climate may be less disruptive than a period of global cooling, as agricultural land may be lost when the climate zones move toward the Equator. The primary loss of agricultural land during a warming regime appears to be due to drying rather than warming. Of course, desertification of formerly arable land has been an issue for ca. 5000 years; the primary cause of such desertification has been the clearing of marginal forested land by man and his livestock [primarily goats which are very efficient at removing shrubby ground cover in Mediterranean climates].

Posted by: Bombo47jea | October 18, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I have no doubt that you intended to highlight this recent study published in Nature, and I hope you will forgive me as I am certainly spoiling the surprise for one of your upcoming articles.

That said,
--begin quote--
Though the IPCC and their fellow travelers have tried to place the blame for global warming on human CO2 emissions, decades of lies and erroneous predictions have discredited that notion. For anyone still clinging to the CO2 hypothesis, a short perspective article on the uncertainty surrounding climate change in Nature Geoscience has put paid to that notion. It states that not only did other factors account for 65% of the radiative forcing usually attributed to carbon dioxide, but that it is impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity given the state of climate science.
--end quote--

Source of the above quote.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | October 18, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

And, as a botany major, I should also point out that VEGETATION is an important component of a region's climate. Sometimes non-meteorological factors [fire, overgazing...please note my previous mention of the Mediterranean goats] play an important role in determining regional climate. Meteorology plays an indirect role...long dry spells set the stage for periodic fires.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | October 18, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Q., you have evidently ignored the fact that more CO2 may trigger more and longer dry spells, leading to more fires and enhanced deforestation...thus warmer or more extreme weather than the same area would enjoy with a thick forest cover. Of course man and his livestock can further aggravate the situation as happened around the Mediterranean Sea in historic times.

One example of deforestation right here in our back yard is this widening of the Beltway here in Virginia. The highway construction crews have destroyed much of the buffer forest which separated the Beltway from nearby neighborhoods. The immediate effect will be less climatic than an increase in traffic noise in neighborhoods adjoining the Beltway, but the Washington urban heat island will be enhanced by this ill-advised project.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | October 18, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm a moderate conservative with a background in science. I don't believe that global warming is as immediate as is suggested, I believe that there's a little science that has been extremely hyped by people who don't understand that the science isn't good enough to be predictive.

HOWEVER, I think the problem is the focus is on this possible catastrophe (like an asteroid hitting the earth or a nuclear war, which people are used to ignoring). Forget global warming, look at Los Angeles. The air is barely breathable. Almost every major city has a brown haze around it and there is NO DOUBT we cause that and also no doubt we can fix it on a local level. If you want people to go green, focus on what they can see and what they can change.

I am an excellent target for the the media debate on both sides of the 'doomsday' global warming scenario, but I never hear a word about the local, provable problems that already stem from fossil fuel polution. Nobody wants to live in that mess. And if you get people interested in fixing it, you'll have a much better chance at it.

15 years ago my city in California never had a dusting of polution, now every summer there's a brown cloud that just sits on us until a wind comes along. I don't know what impact that has on our health, our machines, our industry or just our mindset if nothing else, but I would contribute in a heartbeat to a serious effort to fix it.

If you put tons federal money into electric cars and local funds to help clean up major cities, you'll get much more support than if you set aside millions for scientists to sit and think about how to clean up the planet and you'll do more good.

Finally, find a way to prove damages from air polution, just like they did with waterway polution that resulted in the lawsuits that cleaned up waste dumping into our rivers and lakes and you'll see a change. I don't expect a company to spend money to save us from a future danger, but I do expect them to stop practices that directly injure their customers, or, failing that, I expect the government to force them to stop those practices. But we need more than correlative research with asthma and the major environmental researchers are all focused on the broad view, where there is no good solution.

Posted by: kngofwords | October 18, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

News flash: Americans Journalistsare confused about global warming

Andy, how can an opinion poll have right and wrong answers? When are you going to do some non-biased honest reporting on this issue? Maybe when your Greenpeace checks stop coming?

"50 percent of those who think global warming is happening think it is caused mostly by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal."

This means less than 100 percent believe the climate is even changing significantly, and of those that do, less than half believe its caused by man. I think you lost your consensus.

38 percent of Americans say there is a lot of disagreement among scientists... In fact there is very little disagreement in the climate science community

Only a climate change alarmist like you Andy would even claim this. Thousands of scientists disagree, more so every day. The Americans are right, you are wrong in your baseless assertions.

"Psychological studies have shown that individual responses to climate change information tend to be much more dependent on political affiliation and other factors.

I agree. People with socialist tendencies like yourself seem to be much more inclined to publicly believe in the global warming fraud.

Of course even if you didn't believe it privately, you get paid to write these propaganda columns, so we really can't trust you either way.

The real question is:

When will the Washington Post end the propaganda campaign that is your column?

Posted by: ecocampaigner | October 18, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

About: "wrenching, sudden climate shifts" I agree with thatavkguy above. Also, the cause of Americans' skepticism of catastrophic global warming is proportional to dogma like the above. People end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater when they hear such fear-mongering. How will gradual warming from CO2 cause a wrenching, sudden climate shift? Answer: it can't. The role of water vapor in climate is essentially to control and moderate the rise from CO2, not amplify it.

The simplest possible example of that is the extra frequency and severity of storms that is allegedly resulting from man-made warming. If that is true, it means that water vapor is becoming more uneven and the more uneven water vapor is, the less it warms the earth as a whole.

Why are the surveyors surprised that people confuse the ozone layer with climate change? Mainly because it is part of the climate change dogma, that global warming will reduce the protective ozone layer (peer reviewed science). Perhaps the surveyors are a little less smart than those they surveyed.

Posted by: eric654 | October 18, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Whatever the real truth about global is, it is certain most of the most dire effects are far down the road. Our country and governments are in very bad shape. We already have government spending that will force a huge tax burden on the current and future generations. Instead of instituting restrictions on people and businesses and spending money to stop global warming we should be spending our resources to fix the current problems being caused by reckless government spending. IF we do experience negative consequences of global warming in the distant future, I am confident science will find a way to fix it without choking off economic growth or reducing our standard of living.

The Congress and current Administration have put the country on a course of reckless government spending that has mortgaged the future of all Americans especially future generations. The only way to fix this long term structural problem is to create a pro-growth atmosphere for business. To do this we must reduce taxes NOW. How many different taxes does a business or individual pay on a regular basis? We must eliminate number and complexity of all these taxes and reduce the tax burden.

We also need to end the micro-management of business and the economy. Until we GREATLY reduce the tax burden on business and consumers and remove the senseless regulations that accomplish little in relation to the cost they impose, our future is bleak.

REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER...VOTE THEM OUT!!!

Posted by: AngryMobVoter | October 18, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry. Anyone who does not see that the world itself is being destroyed right under our feet is living with blinders on so large as to be unbelievable.

There is not a region of the world in which recent, drastic changes in weather, sea level, level of forestation, species diversity, air quality, water quality, and so on have done anything but radically decreased even in the past 2 decades. world fishery stocks are near depletion--can anyone even believe that?

Instead, we argue about "exactly how much humans are to blame" and how to "deal with" climate change--because we pay attention to words instead of reality. Forget "climate change." We are talking about something like a new ice age. look at maps of the habitable parts of the world during the last one. at the amounts of fauna growing.

i hope to god that civilization survives long enough and retains enough of its records that people like mr q -- and the tea party he represents -- for whom *no evidence of environmental harm other than complete global catastrophe would suffice. I think (and so do many scientists) that it is now more likely we will not, than that we will. Does tea party care? No. Let all the people, plants, & animals die--who cares--"someone fudged a figure in a graph so the whole project is 100% invalid" (& the fudging allegation itself was a lie).

I hope to god that life on this planet and records of our world survive long enough that people like Mr Q & his tea party brethren can be seen for what they are: unbelievably selfish and deliberately ignorant ideologues bought and paid for by the commercial interests who believe that their next 5-10 years of corporate profits is worth more than the future of the planet.

This is a clear moment in history. I will predict with ease and 100% accuracy that people like Mr Q will be seen with the same astonishment as the "everyday" italians who went along with mussolini -- as the chinese families who reported on each other during the cultural revolution -- as *collaborators* in a plot that will one day be understood as the height of human evil.

Forget the other words. what Mr Q and his friends are up to is pure, unadulterated evil, and it needs to be called what it is. they act as if they are "concerned skeptics" who "haven't seen convincing evidence." Ladies and gentlemen of the future jury, I submit that they are paid partisans whose opinion is determined in advance and to whom no evidence other than the actual city in which they are standing crumbles into the ocean would persuade them to say "something is happening"--and even then they'd probably pretend it wasn't happening.

evil. it's time to call it for what it is.

Posted by: DvaidGloumbia | October 18, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

To DvaidGlombia:

We are neither evil nor paid. The only person being paid to promote an agenda here is the author of this article.

We deny your fraud because we can see through your lies, and we will not be taxed or robbed to pay off your liberal guilt.

It will be the Alarmists who are put on trial in the future. We will never forget the Ezra Kleins and the Andrew Freedmans of the world.

The time will come very soon when the promoters of this fraud are held accountable. Global Warming Propagandists will be put on trial for their fraud.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | October 18, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

i must add: there is only one political group whose interests happen to align with the view that "nothing humans do has any impact on the environment; business should be entirely without environmental regulations" business that wants to do what it's doing while pretending to itself it causes no damage.

Until the mid-1970s, much of the US was so polluted that signficant bodies of water, air and earth had to be completely remediated.

It was only bdcause of those environemntal laws that the US got cleaned up, SO THAT the tea party could bizarrely argue that we don't need environmental laws--after all, look how clean everything is!!

other countries do not have the EPA.

Please, tea party: name a single region of the world in which there is NOT at least one piece of jarring evidence of one or more vital systems breaking down.

Please tell me that even 30 years ago, "depletion of the world's fishery stock" would not have sounded like "FIVE ALARM FIRE: WE ARE DESTROYING VITAL NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS, AND WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW THE EARTH WILL FUNCTION IN THEIR ABSENCE.

nope: somebody fudged a graph (which was a lie, but who's counting).

letting this planet become almost entirely uninhabitable for humans in the next 25-50 years (which is exactly what we are talking about, if you actually listen) is a morally reprehensible position.

one more challenge: name a vital natural ecosystem in which there has NOT been a number of recent changes involving introduction and/or subtraction of chemicals and geological features, etc., at a percent level so as to impact the entire system. There isn't one. The idea that these cumulative assaults on carefully balanced systems have no effect is ludicrous. Furthermore, the tolerances on many of these systems may be very fine--who the h*** are some corporations to go screwing with fundamental forces that nobody understands?

the tea party is willing to let the planet and most human, flora and fauna populations die.

what part of that is morally acceptable

Posted by: DvaidGloumbia | October 18, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

ecocampaigner says "We are neither evil nor paid."

That's correct, but you are ignorant. Unless you have actually spent a reasonable amount of time reading actual peer reviewed scientific research (and understanding it, that's key) you are merely jumping to a false conclusion based on your own personal political ideology. That, my friend, is not a good method to determine what science does or does not understand.

Posted by: kwinters2 | October 18, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

To all you global warming whack jobs out there ... I again suggest you read Mark Levin's recent book. He devotes an entire chapter to debunking the nonsense that is global warming.

Posted by: RB1019 | October 18, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

thanks mr q. i hear clearly that it's not just that climate change/pollution/environmental destruction thesis is wrong: it could not, ever, be right. nothign could convince you.

i hope people with actual open minds are reading. NOTHING COULD CONVINCE HIM. THERE IS NO CHANCE THE THESIS IS CORRECT.

that is not a scientific position. science is open to every thesis as provable or unprovable.

there is a an amazing worldwide conpsiracy of scientists whose only interest is to manufacture a thesis to sell carbon credits--that's why they are documenting the loss of 25-30% of species, pollution, etc.

focusing on climate change undercuts the evidence by a huge amount. ALMOST EVERY VITAL GLOBAL ECOSYSTEM IS UNDER VERY RECENT AND ALARMING PRESSURE.

or: do you deny the almost complete collapse of world fishery stocks? is that a scientist's lie which the corporations who used to profit from fishing have cooked up? or since it happened it is without consequence? which other global ecosystems can humans destroy without effect? where did you get your evidence?

you are "coincidentally" holding the same positions that every polluting company has maintained, up to and thought eh moment where they are sentenced of the crimes they have committed. they did nothing wrong. the dioxin just fell out of the truck, and it didn't hurt anybody.

evil. and bought and paid for.

Posted by: DvaidGloumbia | October 18, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

> To all you global warming whack jobs out
> there ... I again suggest you read Mark
> Levin's recent book. He devotes an entire > chapter to debunking the nonsense that is
> global warming.


exactly!! after all, Mr Levin, a well-known peer reviewed PhD biologist who conducts frequent primary research on microscopic sea life (declined by 50% in the last decade, but who's counting? and they're so tiny they must not do anything), will definitely be taking an open mind and evaluating the evidence carefully. that's the reason you should turn to him as an authority.

i mean, there is 0% scientific chance that mr levin is a know-nothing shill who made up his mind in advance to take a position that serves the corporate interests with which he "happens" to be aligned; that his position now is that climate change is not simply not happening, but IMPOSSIBLE [an amazing discovery, thank god his lab and mr q's have done such great work on that], so that the idea of turning to him for "insight" on this topic would be the same as reading a white supremacist society pamphlet on race relations--which is presumably just as "open" to the equality of races as mr levin is to the possibility that we human beings are destroying the planet. give me a break.

evil. and paid for. we have to stop it.

Posted by: DvaidGloumbia | October 18, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

btw, i want to suggest my solution to this problem.

as some companies have started to do already (solar, wind), industry and people can work together to proactively create agriculture, transportation, etc., systems that fit and preserve the environment.

that sounds like an amazing, cooperative, even fun challenge to all the best parts of humanity. work togehter to figure out a way to make life here sustainable.

it is possible. and look who is standing in the way -- it 'just so happens' to the the entities whose current business models do not fit into that forward looking plan.

corporations are the solution to this problem, not just the problem, and i do not want them brought under governmental control. i want them to realize the long-term profit incentive in insuring that the ecosystems in which they operate continue to thrive.

Posted by: DvaidGloumbia | October 18, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

DvaidGloumbia repeated a lot of fear mongering about the decline in phytoplankton due to global warming (Nature article last July). But David, if there is more storminess, won't there be more mixing of the oceans, not less, and therefore phytoplankton will do better? There are lots of people who realize that fishing stocks are declining due to overfishing, polar bears due to overhunting, etc. They reject the alarmism that the surveys asked about and will reject it even more as people like you double down your rhetoric.

As for the solution, you are welcome to spend YOUR money on solar. I spent some of mine with no subsidy of any sort to get a few solar panels and deep cycle batteries for incidental power uses. I am not under any delusion that I can get to work or heat my house with such a diffuse energy source. The bottom line is that our economy is sustained by fossil fuel power until we switch to nuclear or something better.

Posted by: eric654 | October 18, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Forget the science and the scientists. Even a youngster can understand the foundation and the consequences of continual and increasing pumping of gases into the atmosphere that result in the greenhouse effect. The real problem that ordinary people have is the short term effect on their pocket book. The real problem that business people have, whose operations depend on the status quo is the possible loss of business growth (and their own income).

Personally, my problem is with the lousy and dangerous world that will affect the lives of my grandchildren and possibly wipe out the lives of THEIR children! unless we are intelligent enough to take action now.

Posted by: garffa | October 18, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

So- like a teacher with the answer key, Yale conducts a survey and finds that the American Public is misinformed about Climate Change?

The American public is not as dumb as the Ivy League Climate Czars would like to think.

This issue has been the political cover-story for radical environmentalism for two decades, and people know it. They simply aren't buying it anymore.

As the saying goes, "All Politics is Local" - the Environmentalists would do far better by focusing on local problems that could actually be solved, than by scaring everyone with global doomsday scenarios.

I'm all for cleaning up the environment. Just be honest about the goals.

Global warming ...er..I mean climate change (or was it climate disruption?!?) is no longer taken seriously by most Americans.

Thank God.

Posted by: jamesstone | October 18, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I reckon the ostriches will keep their heads in the sand until rising sea levels drown them. Of course there have been natural warming/cooling cycles but usually these play out over millenia, if not eons. There's no question that mankind's rapaciousness and indifference to our environment has contributed to the spike in temperatures in the past century.

Bombo alluded to the Beltway widening. I recall a four-lanes wide (total) beltway in northern Virginia going through forested terrain, north of Springfield. That four-lane highway is turning into a 14-lane monster that destroys greenery and encourages the use of more fossil fuel. I gave up driving long ago so I wouldn't contribute to this lunacy. Busses and trains consume energy, but do much less harm to the environment. And walking is still the most energey-efficient form of transportation.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | October 18, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm not "confused" at all. There's no doubt in my mind that the earth goes thru cooling and warming periods that have nothing to do with what man is doing. There's no doubt in my mind that Warmers are simply the new communists, who have come up with yet another political ideology as a means of taking over power. That's not so confusing. It IS upsetting that there are so many sheep that blindly follow.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | October 18, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This should help with general education on climate science:

http://www.skepticalscience.com

Posted by: climatebob | October 18, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the comments about the beltway "widening". Every single bridge is being torn down to add a lane that will create new traffic issues. When I moved to Virginia, route 66 was a tree-filled four lane highway. Now it is stuffed with 8 lanes of traffic at Manassas. Now I do my part on 66 inside a 13 passenger van (I used to ride the bus). The local issues are clear and they are solvable. I get $115 / month public transportation subsidy from my employer and the rest of the $250 / month for the van is cheaper than driving by a good margin.

Posted by: eric654 | October 18, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I am not confused. I both read and understand a mountain of climate literature on a monthly basis. I still deny.

DavidGlombia and The Capital Warmist Gang thinks you're stupid.

If you agree with their opinion, you are smart and informed; if you disagree with their opinion, you are stupid and uninformed.

Does this hold true for other opinions? Are anti-abortion foes simply uninformed? Are all conservatives in general simply uninformed liberals?

End the Capital Warmist Gang Propaganda Now!

Posted by: ecocampaigner | October 18, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

One needs no more reason to be despairing on the issue of global warming than to trudge through the comments above  

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | October 18, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

ecocampaigner - if you look at the sky and think it is red rather than blue, then there really is no helping you.

the issue of abortion is typically considered a moral one. You are comparing apples and trucks and arguing they are the same. A better analogy is evolution and climate change - in both cases there is scientific consensus on a large body of facts, and in both instances a number of conservatives stick their head in their ideological sand pit and refuse to live in the real world.

Posted by: climatebob | October 18, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I refuse to sell my soul on the CO2 issue any longer and I can‘t keep scaring my kids. The new energy we as real liberals need to give is LOVE, not windmills. I am a progressive-liberal and a former CO2 theory believer and now a part of the rising wave of GREEN “CO2 fear mongering” deniers. I suggest you believers do the same. The Carbon issue was our Iraq War of WMD lies and obviously, as we see now, wasn’t sustainable with the consensus that counts, with the voters. So were we the new neocons? We told our kids they wouldn’t have children because there was a climate emergency that “they” needed to fight it to survive. We acted like fear mongering climate cowards condemning our children’s future to a “Death by CO2“. Climate change has done to us what Bush did to the Republican neocons. Are you embarrassed yet? Good. Now it’s safe to say that climatologists and journalists were to science and journalism what abusive priests were to the Catholic Church. Worse still, the Green movement hated “ANYONE” with money, wealth and waste. Not just Jews, as the “you know who’s” did.
Preserve, protect and respect the planet, not save and rescue it from a false war.
We should have stopped spreading fear and lies like we were Bush Jr. babies and instead lead by example for our kids by facing the future with courage, not fear!
Lets’ be REAL liberals again: SYSTEM CHANGE, NOT CLIMATE CHANGE.
Birth Control, not Climate Control.

Posted by: paulmerrifield | October 18, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

@Climatebob

ecocampaigner - if you look at the sky and think it is red rather than blue, then there really is no helping you.

I can see the sky is blue, must be the lack of global warming.

Comparing belief in global warming to evolution or a round-earth is a false analogy. In both cases, the majority (over 99% surveyed) will agree these facts are true. Political affiliation is irrelevant.

In the case of abortion, you will find about a 50% even split, depending on who does the polling and where. Just like climate change, the issue is presented as a moral one, where one side sees only science, and the other sees morality. Just like climate science, political affiliation can predict which side you'll be on.

Only the people like Andrew and Steve who get paid to promote global warming propaganda are in despair.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | October 18, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The comments above about Andrew and Ezra Klein being put on trial can only be read as a threat of retributive violence. As such, it violates the terms of use and should be removed and that commenter barred from further posting. Thank you.

Posted by: 20009matt | October 18, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

@20009matt,

It seems rather obvious to me that ecocampaigner was replying to DvaidGloumbia, who wrote, "Ladies and gentlemen of the future jury, I submit that they are paid partisans whose opinion is ...". It was the comment preceding ecocampaigner's comment which you are condemning.

@DvaidGloumbia,
I do not represent the TEA party, nor am I a member of the TEA party. But, seeing the disdain with which you hold them, perhaps I should join.

You wrote, "Forget "climate change." We are talking about something like a new ice age. look at maps of the habitable parts of the world during the last one. at the amounts of fauna growing." Are you saying that global warming will cause a new ice age? Is it possible that you are confusing science with "The Day After Tomorrow"?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | October 18, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

@20009mat

Nice attempt at censorship, but the language of my post contains absolutely no mention nor implication of violence. You are the first and only person to mention violence of any kind.

I suggest you take your crude attempts at censorship elsewhere.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | October 18, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mr. Q. I tend to stop reading comments after about the third or fourth graf. I missed that. Everyone would do well to remember that personal attacks are violations of the terms of use you scroll past to get to this little blue box *and* are singularly unhelpful.

I mean, sheesh, this is a weather blog. No one is going to be swayed or impressed by belligerence. We need more light and less heat. Pun intended!

Posted by: 20009matt | October 18, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

A very interesting point was raised by climatebob when he wrote, "A better analogy is evolution and climate change." That sent me agoogling for the numbers, and here's what I found...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1859 British scientist Charles Darwin publishes Origin of Species.

97-98% of active scientists accept evolution.
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/turn_out_the_lights_the_teach_the_controversy_partys_over/
(small sample, 71 out of 73; actual percentage likely larger)

40% of Americans accept evolution.
39% of Americans reject evolution.
http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c148221/Science_evolution_2006_SOM.pdf

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1859 British scientist John Tyndall discovers CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

97-98% of active scientists accept AGW.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf

50% of Americans accept AGW.
42% of Americans reject AGW.
http://environment.yale.edu/climate/files/ClimateChangeKnowledge2010.pdf

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
climatebob's hammer meets its nail.

Posted by: imback | October 18, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Actually despair seems to be the prevalent emotion among the true believers in catastrophic AGW. And with good reason; the populace is not drinking the Kool-Aid and the US legislature is about to change direction.

The gravy train will be over. The pretend scientists pushing CAGW may have to actually work for a living. Some of them will possibly be subjected to embarrassing hearings where their 'settled science' will be revealed as proselytizing or worse. Despair should be the order of the day.

The Washington Post is losing subscribers like me who lament the day when one could read both sides of a story here. Siding with the loony left might make the owners feel good, but writers like this one need to start thinking about a reliable source of income.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | October 19, 2010 1:26 AM | Report abuse

18 countries have set their all time high record temps this year, that's 30 % of the land surface of the earth. Zero countries have set all time lows. There are areas in Vietnam that since Friday, have received over 6 feet of rain.

If one thinks that climate change is some far off event, I have a condo in Baghdad I'd like to sell you.

Posted by: DuttonPeabody | October 19, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

The only place climate change isn't underway is on AM Radio, & the News Corp empire .

Posted by: DuttonPeabody | October 19, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

imback, it would be reasonable when quoting surveys to state what was being asked. The physicists who dissented from the APS statement were 90+% on board with AGW, but rejected the extremist CAGW language in the APS statement. They also rejected the use of "unequivocal" for AGW which is also correct on their part.

Americans on the other hand have more of a tendency to reject AGW although it greatly depends on what question is being asked. Although there is an undercurrent of AGW rejection on some forums, I doubt that 42% of Americans reject the GW hypothesis or any other carefully defined theory in a carefully asked question. The carelessness of the Yale survey is on display when they accuse Americans of conflating ozone depletion with climate change when in fact peer-reviewed science has hypothesized that global warming could help deplete the ozone layer. In that case the Yale surveyors seem to know less than the people they were questioning.

Posted by: eric654 | October 19, 2010 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Have a look at this new site, 90k hits in the first week, it explains the mechanism of sun spot production and the link with global temperature variation, the answers will surprise you!!

http://www.solarchords.com

Posted by: howardsway | October 19, 2010 5:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't expect many to read down this far, but for what it's worth, if you don't think expert climate scientists disagree with the "consensus" promulgated by the UN's IPCC, you can download a free 868-page scientific rebuttal of the IPCC scientists at:
http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/2009/2009report.html

I am a physicist rather than a climate scientist, and you can read what I think of climate science in general, and the global warming controversy in particular, in a short article at:
http//theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/10/runaway-global-warming-is-scientific.html

Posted by: hdhuffman | October 19, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"Comparing belief in global warming to evolution or a round-earth is a false analogy. In both cases, the majority (over 99% surveyed) will agree these facts are true. Political affiliation is irrelevant."

Please let me know if you can find a Tea Party candidate who will declare that the Earth is clearly more than 6000 years old.

Posted by: kevinwparker | October 19, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

The official APS climate change statement is conservative mainstream science.
http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/07_1.cfm

The fringe group opposed to the APS statement represented less than 0.5% of the APS membership, tended to be no longer keeping up with science, and had nearly zero expertise in climate science in any case. Their petition had no merit and was shot down. This same fringe group also wrote the discredited NIPCC reports.
http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/2009%20science%20bypass%20v3%200.pdf

Posted by: imback | October 19, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the APS petition, the APS bypassed their rules and made it as difficult as possible to get petition signatures, so the percentage is not very relevant. What is most relevant is the content of the petition which is a much more accurate statement of the state of climate science including "20th 21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent," and "Current climate models appear insufficiently reliable to properly account for natural and anthropogenic contributions to past climate change, much less project future climate."

The full petition is here http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4286

Posted by: eric654 | October 20, 2010 5:39 AM | Report abuse

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