By Andrew C. RevkinÂ
A new poll suggests that Americans, preoccupied with the economy, are less worried about rising global temperatures than they were a year ago but remain concerned with solving the nationâ€™s energy problems.
The findings are somewhat at odds with President Obama, who has put a high priority on staving off global warming and vowed Tuesday in his Inaugural Address to â€œroll back the specter of a warming planet.â€
In the poll, released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, global warming came in last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists. Only 30 percent of the voters deemed global warming to be â€œa top priority,â€ compared with 35 percent in 2008.
â€œProtecting the environment,â€ which had surged in the rankings from 2006 to 2008, dropped even more precipitously in the poll: only 41 percent of voters called it a top priority, compared with 56 percent last year.
In contrast, dealing with the nationâ€™s energy problems ranked sixth in the poll â€” just behind education and social security â€” with 60 percent of voters endorsing it as a top priority.
The declining interest in global warming and other environmental issues might be unsurprising at a time when Americans face far more imminent threats to their jobs and homes. â€œStrengthening the nationâ€™s economyâ€ was the top-ranked concern of voters in the Pew poll. A relatively cool year and a harsh winter in North America and Europe have not helped, inspiring some commentators and a small cluster of scientists to make skeptical remarks about â€œglobal cooling.â€
Social scientists say that environmental concerns are often the first to fall off the table when any more immediate threat surfaces. Andrew Kohut, the president of the Pew Research Center, said a similar pattern was seen in the Pew poll after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when second-tier issues faded in votersâ€™ minds.
â€œConcern for terrorism overshadowed all else,â€ Mr. Kohut said.
The publicâ€™s waning interest in global warming poses a challenge for Mr. Obama, who emphasized climate change throughout his campaign and pledged to seek a cap on emissions in the United States of heat-trapping gases, led by carbon dioxide, which come mainly from burning coal and oil. Such a cap, even if it includes various mechanisms intended to ease the cost, would by design raise the price of energy coming from those fossil fuels, which still underpin the American and the global economies.
Mr. Obamaâ€™s political foes have already seized on the cooling of public concern.
Marc Morano, the communications director for the Republican minority on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has been sending out e-mail alerts, sometimes several a day, highlighting stories on winter weather and other surveys suggesting a shift in public attitudes.
I wonder what this country will be like with the landscape pock marked with wind turbines and vast fields of solar panels. Not to mention the many, many miles of transmission lines necessary to carry the power to population centers. Yeah, what an environmentally friendly solution.
When will people get it through their thick skulls that alternative energy is called alternative for a reason! Solar and wind only produce energy when the Sun is shining or the wind is blowing. What will we do on cloudy days when the wind is calm? Shut down the country? Wind turbines can only turn so fast before they fly apart. They have to be stopped in that case. So there is only a certain range of wind speed that they can produce energy. What do we do when the wind is blowing too hard?
Ethanol will never be THE fuel due to the fact that it’s made from corn. All we need is one bad growing season, and bam! We’re screwed. Not to mention we would be using land to grow the corn that is currently being used to, um, feed the whole freakin’ planet!
These people are dupes! They have been duped into believing in peak oil, global warming, and that Capitalism is evil.
I think they one day may figure out they are mistaken, but I fear that day will not come soon enough.
Here is an article that seems to tie together what I was talking about global warming and anti-capitalism. But I have to revise my opinion now. They’re not dupes. It is much more insidious than plain stupidity can explain.
You know that website called not evil just wrong? I have to respectfully disagree now. I belive they are not just wrong they’re evil. http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/01/the_age_of_anticarbonism.html
The climate. People still behave as if it’s okay. Every scientist in the world who isn’t the late Michael Crichton knows that it’s not. The climate is in terrible shape; something’s gone wrong with the sky. The bone-chilling implications haven’t soaked into the populace, even though Al Gore put together a PowerPoint about it that won him a Nobel. Al was soft-peddling the problem.
It’s become an item of fundamentalist faith to maintain that the climate crisis is a weird leftist hoax. Yet, since the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, an honest fear of the consequences will prove hard to repress. Since the fear has been methodically obscured, its emergence from the mists of superstition will be all the more powerful. Unlike mere shibboleths of finance, this is a situation that’s objectively terrifying and likely to remain so indefinitely.
During the Permian/Triassic mass extinction, 95 percent of species on the earth perished, apparently from runaway global warming. The isotope signatures of this era show a huge discontinuity, apparently from the release of methane from methane hydrates. Temperatures soared, and tropical plants grew in polar regions.
Widespread release of methane from hydrates has happened a couple of other times – once apparently during the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum, and apparently back in the Precambrian, in a really huge event that rescued the earth from a frozen “snowball earth” state.
It could happen again, and is probably happening right now. It can still be stopped, maybe, but not easily.
This time it could be bigger, and could tip the earth’s climate into a new stable state, resembling the surface of Venus, killing all life on earth.
Here is a bit of good news! http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/397959_murdockonline30.html
Rob N. Hood: welcome back! Did you read the article I just posted? Seems it is no longer a right-left issue. And on your other points you are just plain wrong. Let it go Rob! Embrace the truth! Global warming is a scam and you have bought into it hook line and sinker. Even Fonzie said he was wr-wr-wr-ong. You can do it! Come on, it will liberate you. Let go of the fundementalist faith you hold worshoping Al Gore and James Hansen. Your numbers are dwindling, and you are going to soon find yourself on the wrong side of this issue.
What am I saying? Rob, you are and always have been on the wrong side of this issue.
That was an interesting article – I posted it on the main page.
Rob N. Hood: When I said earlier that you were just plain wrong about your other points, I did not elaborate. I will now. Point #1 “The climate. People still behave as if itâ€™s okay. Every scientist in the world who isnâ€™t the late Michael Crichton knows that itâ€™s not.” You assert that there is concensus in the scientific community on global warming. If that is so, how can it be that this, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6764 exists? And if the debate is over, why does this,
Point #2. “somethingâ€™s gone wrong with the sky. The bone-chilling implications havenâ€™t soaked into the populace, even though Al Gore put together a PowerPoint about it that won him a Nobel. Al was soft-peddling the problem.”
Now, if Al Gore is such an honest, wonderful guy, how did this ever happen? http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/corporate_law/article2633838.ece And as far as the Nobel prize, they don’t always get it right. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/10/08/MN111567.DTL
There is nothing wrong with the sky! It performs every function that it has performed for millions of years. Even with the many tons of CO2 that are released by Man. That CO2 is not something that doesn’t belong there. There is a natural carbon cycle, and with our activities we may be slightly tweaking a parameter in that cycle. To say that something has gone wrong with the sky is just blithering emotional B.S.
Point #3. “Itâ€™s become an item of fundamentalist faith to maintain that the climate crisis is a weird leftist hoax.- Since the fear has been methodically obscured, its emergence from the mists of superstition will be all the more powerful.- this is a situation thatâ€™s objectively terrifying and likely to remain so indefinitely.”
First of all I just want to say that I believe there is a God. But my faith is not fundamentalist or anything else. I don’t believe in religions. I don’t belong to any church. So you are wrong about that. Personally, I just have a good B.S. detector. In the beginning, just like you, the fearmongering worked on me. I was afraid, just like you are now. I bought into the idea that we broke the sky. Then I started to question things. Actually I began my journey by questioning religion. I came to the realization that religion is a way to control people. That control is accomplished through fear of God’s retribution on sinners. (And for the Irish, add in a heavy dose of guilt.) And so I began to see the correlations to the use of fear in the AGW theory. You are exactly where they want you. Afraid, and terrified. They got you.
Point #4. “During the Permian/Triassic mass extinction, 95 percent of species on the earth perished, apparently from runaway global warming.”
OK. So what? Even if it were true, which it’s not. http://park.org/Canada/Museum/extinction/permcause.html What does it have to do with what, claimed by your side, is going on today? Absolutely nothing, that’s what! Every single one of the mass extinctions you site were caused by natural events. And if something similar happened today, what exactly would you propose to do stop it from happening? Well, what?
Nothing, that’s what! It’s just another fear tactic. And you have swollowed it hook, line, and sinker.
Ouch! Touch a nerve? You guys are all nerves. Talk about hook line and sinker. I actually don’t believe much, from anyone. Just like messin’ with you guys- you seem so sure of yourselves – and you seem to be afraid of something too. Do you think you really know something about something this complicated just because you like to read things that you are pre-programmed to believe in? Adn thanks for taking the time out of your “busy” day to research and refute what I wrote. How can we, the people of earth, ever properly thank you?!
Thank you for your efforts.
The peak oil / fossil fuel scam needs to be exposed.
So Rob, you’re acknowledging that you are refuted?
And FYI, my parents were Liberals. Which means I was pre-programmed to believe the Left wing positions! My beliefs today are a direct result of questioning my pre-programming.
But you do have a good point, we are afraid of something. And that something is the end of this country as we know it! The end of freedom! And if you are not troubled by what the “solutions” that are being proposed are, then you have no idea about how things work.
Wind, solar, alternative biofuels all have serious problems, and no amount of subsidies that are thrown at them will ever make them viable.
And let me ask you this. If the levels of greenhouse gases have been increasing over the last decade, why have’nt the temperatures risen to correspond with that increase? Why have they, in fact, decreased? Kind of puts the lie to the catastrophic claims of Gore, Hansen, Schmidt, et al, don’t it?
And to answer your very first question, you did strike a nerve. Because I am very worried about the future of this country. And you don’t seem to give a wit about what kind of control the government will force upon you, or what freedoms you will give up for an unproven scientific theory. I find that troubling
This new era of omnipresent, omniverous and omnipotent government is being ushered in beneath a cloak of fear on many fronts.
Perpetuating fear within a populace first paralyzes it and then manipulates it. Liberal policies have been tried before and failed repeatedly, but it seems the American populace wants to buy into victim politics and trade their freedoms and responsibilities for “security”.
I have lived in the developing world where liberalism reigns. The corrupt leverage the government to make money and those so enriched live in their compounds with their high walls, topped by glass shards and razor wire while the rest of the society degrades into violence around them. However, they are not safe. Their security systems, guards and dobermans cannot protect them from encroachment.
In 1994, I sat on a flight with an earth scientist who told me about the coming “storm” of climate change alchemy. Well, it is here and it is just another tool of an arrogant, power hungry, intellectually dishonest elite. We should all be deconstructing these arguments before they deconstruct America.
Tacowell: Nicely put! I spent 2 years in Germany. Not exactly a developing nation, but the Environmentalists reign supreme there. And when tou leave the USA for any length of time, you KNOW that you are not in America anymore.
But the sad fact is that will change. Yup that is really what P-BO meant by change. He wants to take this great nation and change it into a crappy one like any you’ll find in Europe. After that it will be easier to form the one world government. Which is what I think is the goal of the elitists has been from the start. And it starts with the deconstruction of America.
So yes, global warming is just one front in a greater conflict, and “Perpetuating fear within a populace first paralyzes it and then manipulates it.” Is exactly what they are doing.
I recognised that a long time ago. The question is: how do we get the people who buy into this AGW, hope & change, economic nationalization B.S. to realize and recognise it?