Friday, October 23, 2009

Global warming, still a tough sell to a skeptical public despite overwhelming evidence

Pew: "Fewer Americans See Solid Evidence of Global Warming."

Of course, most Americans -- and most of us generally -- think far more about the weather than we do about the climate. And that makes sense. The weather determines a good deal of how we lead our lives from day to day, even from minute to minute, while climate changes and their consequences are generally slow-moving and difficult to see if you're not, say, tracking avian migratory patterns or measuring the depth of Arctic sea ice, or if you're not impacted by them directly, like, say, the native inhabitants of Canada's north are. Indeed, even many of those who are impacted directly, like the residents of the Gulf Coast who have suffered through hurricanes of increasing intensity, or the residents of low-lying areas around the world who have experienced worse flooding than usual, may not make the connection.

It's too easy to say, as I was going to when I first thought about writing this post, that Americans should just get their heads out of their asses and deal with reality. I still think they should, and need to, but the results of this poll also indicate just how difficult it is, and will continue to be, to generate broad public support for a meaningful collective effort to address the most pressing crisis of our time.

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