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A Return with a Vengeance

Sorry there has been such a long gap between posts. A combination of personal and medical issues kept me away for awhile, but I am taking this as extra motivation. And talk about perfect timing!

A recent poll by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication (Home Page) examined the change in American public opinion after this cold winter. A few highlights from the poll:

  • Nearly two in three Americans (63%) believe global warming is happening. Relatively few – only 16 percent – believe it is not. However, since Fall 2012, the percentage of Americans who believe global warming is happening has dropped 7 points to 63%, likely influenced by the relatively cold winter of 2012-13 in the United States and an unusually cold March just before the survey was conducted.
  • Those who believe global warming is happening are more certain of their convictions than those who do not. Of the 63% of Americans who believe global warming is happening, most say they are “very” (33%) or “extremely sure” (27%). By contrast, of the unconvinced, fewer are very (28%) or extremely sure of their view (18%).
  • About half of Americans (49%) believe global warming – if it is happening – is caused mostly by human activities, a decrease of 5 points since Fall 2012, but similar to levels stretching back several years.
  • This is exactly why I started this blog. This poll highlights the TERRIBLE job the press has been doing educating the public on even the basics of climate change science. Politicians and celebrities tend to throw a lot of confusion into the mix, whatever view they hold. Finally, to a lesser extent the fault also lies with the scientists and institutions researching the topic.

    I have to admit that one of the biggest stumbling blocks when discussing climate change is trying to explain that climate change is not seen in one weather event, one season, or even one year of weather.

    Take the EF-5 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma. It didn’t take long for Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island to blame the tornado (along with other disasters) on climate change. Such a ridiculous claim did nothing to move the conversation forward, and it served only to provide fodder for every conservative commentator, pundit and blogger to first ridicule him, and then by extension, every proponent of global climate change theory.

    It’s time to change the conversation.