Public Concern and Scientific Warnings Diverge

Thanks to the AAAS blog Science Insider:

• According to PEW, a declining number of Americans see climate change occurring, 58% in October 2009, down from 71% in April 2008. The numbers seeing climate change as anthropogenic are down to 36%, from 47% in 2008.

More people believe the problem is serious than believe it is anthropogenic.

Very Serious/Serious/Don’t Know
2008 44/29/3
2009 36/16/3

Fewer see solid evidence of global warming, from 2008 to 2009:
%2008—>%2009 (net change)
Dem 83—>75 (-12%)
Rep 49—>35 (-14%)
Ind 75—>53 (-22%)

Half of Americans favor setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions even if energy prices go up, though only 14% have heard a lot about cap and trade. Of that group, emissions limits are opposed 2 to 1.

• From the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre comes a new world map showing the effects of 4°C/7°F increase in temperature, expected some time this century, perhaps as early as 2060.

Where I live,
• Temperature would rise 6 – 7°C (increase is greater on land). Forest fires would increase.
• Some crop yields decrease 40%, perhaps more because estimates about decreases in crop yield don’t include more weather extremes.

• Assuming a population of 7.5 billion (OK, where did the others go?), 3 billion would be living with water shortage, less than 1000 cubic meters/year.
• Now, 600 million are living within 10 meters of sea level, so any rise would increase flooding and reduce freshwater availability.
• In eastern North America, the hottest day of the year could be 10-12°C, 18-22°F, warmer.
• Water runoff could decrease 70% around the Mediterranean, southern African, and large areas of South America.
• Himalayan glaciers will be reduced significantly by 2050, even at less than 4°C increase. Almost a quarter of China’s population lives in regions where glacial melt is the principal dry season water source, and 70% of the Indus river basin flow comes from glacier melt.

2 Responses to “Public Concern and Scientific Warnings Diverge”

  1. Kim says:

    I’m getting depressed over the doom and gloom.

  2. Bush Quaker says:

    It is truly depressing that the American public is slipping away like this. Is it a failure of the politicians? Or a measure of the success of the deniers and the conservative media?

    In some ways it is natural and understandable that people should wish to deny the reality of the impending catastrophe. It is also puerile and futile. The more we ignore it, the worse it will get. We need to take responsibility before we will stir ourselves to action.

    I am reminded of the words of an activist I knew some years ago, who prophesised that “our children will die cursing our names, as the sea waters lap at their feet, and the parched earth ceases to produce food to sustain them” for all the layers of the selfishness of the current generations. What I once believed to be hysterical hyperbole, gets closer to reality with every passing day of inaction.