Why are Americans so apathetic about global warming?

Climate activists gather in Marseille, souther...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

From Australia to Addis Ababa, demonstrators delivered the same message.

At some 4,300 locations across the globe, people passionate about climate change flashed  or formed the number 350, a reference  to the upper limit in parts per million of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that they hope world leaders meeting in Copenhagen this December will embrace as an achievable target to combat global warming.

While the demonstrations made for colorful pageantry, they followed by a few days  the release of a report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press showing a growing malaise among Americans about the threat of global warming. Despite a strong scientific consensus that the Earth is warming, the polar ice caps melting, and the planet prone to much more violent fluctuations in the weather as a result of manmade pollutants,  barely more than one in three Americans (35 percent) consider global warming a very serious problem, Pew found.  And just 36 percent of those polled said they believed it is because of the activities of man.

That a majority of Americans seem to shrug at widely held expert agreement baffles and concerns. But then, this is a country in which a majority of those polled by USA Today early in the last presidential cycle didn’t care one way or the other whether a candidate believed in evolution (another 15 percent said they’d be more likely to vote for someone who didn’t).

Why are Americans, in the ninth year of the 21st century, at best lackadaisical about science and the evidence it provides and documents? Is it because we teach our students to memorize such things as the periodic table to ace mandated standardized tests instead of engaging their minds in applying the scientific method? Is it because we are a nation so corrupted by the money of lobbyists and so mesmerized by the zealotry of true believers that we can no longer step back to engage the evidence? Or are we as a nation and people simply so overwhelmed by daily life that we are incapable of coming to terms with anything beyond tomorrow’s headlines?

I personally feel increasingly disconnected from the beliefs and values of the country I live in and love. Some of it, I know is a matter of getting older. Change is a constant of any culture and it’s driven by the young.  But I also wonder whether the fracturing of civil discourse in a cyberspace world in which “community” is nichified and to a significant extent shuttered stifles robust inquiry as we migrate only toward those with whom we agree.

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About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at www.jerrylanson.com. My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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43 Responses to Why are Americans so apathetic about global warming?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Jerry Lanson - News Prints – Why are Americans so apathetic about global warming? - True/Slant -- Topsy.com

  2. fleetlee says:

    Another reason we seem to be slipping as a country in comparison to the rest of the Planet

  3. Bill Dupray says:

    Ummm, they are apathetic about global warming because there is no global warming. The earth is cooling. Apathy toward a non-existent phenomenon is a sign of good sense.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Bill,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The source of your link suggesting that global temperatures are declining since 1998 is broken. Whatever the “research” behind it is, I’d urge you to look into who funded it and why.

      Here are a few facts:

      1. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the warmest year on record in the United States was 2006.
      2. The Union of Concerned Scientists reports that every single year between 1993 and 2006 was among the 20 warmest on record across the globe. I don’t know how to embed links in comments, but I’d urge you to go to http://www.ucsusa.org. The site has a detailed section on global warming. Try typing in “evidence” and “global warming” in the search bar for further information.
      3. The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that there is a greater than a 90 percent certainty that emissions of heat-trapping gases from human activities have caused “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century.”

    • itfitzme says:

      To say that “it has been getting cooler since 1998” just demonstrates a lack of understanding basic math.

      Let’s see, the global warming trend is a 100 year trend of average increase. It’s been getting cooler for two years.

      Hmm.. lets see, for the last ten years, I’ve saved an average of $10 a week. Some weeks more, some weeks less. Last week I spent $300 from my savings on a new set of tires. That $300 dollar withdrawal doesn’t change the average savings over ten years. I sill have $4900 in the bank. Especially when my next paycheck comes in and I start putting $20 a week in for a while.

      In the short term, it goes up, it goes down. In the long run, it just keeps going up.

      I try real hard not to call people stupid. Sometimes, it’s not a point about AWG. Sometimes, it’s the point that this guy is just plain stupid.

  4. Brian In NYC says:

    I think the reason the American voter seems apathetic towards global warming is “issue overload”. Health care, two wars, an economy though on it’s way to mend still in trouble is just about all the public can handle at this moment.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Brian,
      Thanks for the comment. I suspect you’re right. These are very tough times. I also do believe, however, that Americans today have become so suspicious and cynical that they can’t tell the difference between science and spin. They don’t look at evidence. And it is leaving them out of step, as someone said in an earlier comment, with most of the world’s population.

  5. Todd Essig says:

    Sad but true post Jerry. In addition to people confusing civil discourse with a Miller Lite ad in which people shout positions at each other, I really appreciate your pointing out our failing educational system. People seem incredibly unaware of how science works, what counts as data, and how to interpret scientific data–even when they can ace a standardized test.

    While I’ve learned from some of Bill’s posts, his comments about climate change come from misunderstanding expectable variation in a complex system, something the climate scientists who actually study climate change just don’t do. Instead they do science and have shown we’re destroying the climate that birthed civilization and we Americans lag behind the world in appreciating that fact.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Your point about science education has sadly been true for many years. More than four decades ago I was in high school in New York State, which at leat back then anyway required any student completing a high school course to take a “New York State Regents Exam. Books were written to help prep for the exams, which were all multiple choice. I had been a mediocre chemistry student at best, relying on my lab partner to do all the real work. But the weekend before the Regents I sat in my backyard and reviewed the Regents prep book for hours. I got the highest grade in the school on the chemistry regents. My point is not that I had suddenly mastered the subject. Anything but. I just understood the system for appearing to understand that I’d learned something.

    • itfitzme says:

      Todd, while I agree with your comment that many do not fully understand variability in complex systems, I’m afraid in Jerry’s case, your being too generous. Apparently, his checking account is too complex of a system for him.

      It goes up, it goes down. Then every so often when there’s a couple of extra bucks, I put some in my savings account. On average, my checking account keeps accumulating a little bit even though every two weeks I make a paycheck deposit and during the following weeks, I pay a bunch of bills.

      It’s just not that hard to understand if our actually trying to understand it first, before pulling some dumb argument out of our assets.

      I’ve heard much more intelligent questions about the science. And the intelligent ones are usually predicated with, “I’m not saying that AWG is wrong, I’m just not sure about this thing.”

      What I find is that there are more ways to be dumb than there are ways to be reasonably intelligent.

  6. bradleyfikes says:

    Scientific debate still continues over global warning and possible causes. You might try reading up on the effects of cosmic rays, on climate, described by Henrik Svensgard recently in Geophysical Research Letters, a peer-reviewed, scientific journal: http://j.mp/kLDNm

    A good science journalist should be acutely aware of politicized science, wherever it comes from. The Union of Concerned Scientists, which you recommended, is a left-wing political action group in scientific drag. They’re not an unbiased source of scientific truth. A journalism professor should know better.

    • Brian In NYC says:

      Bradley I guess you didn’t check out the links on the page you posted:

      Climate Change Is Not Caused By Cosmic Rays, According To New Research

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080403083932.htm

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Brian,
        The paper you cited was published last year. The article I cited was published this year.

      • Brian In NYC says:

        The point is that you can site contrasting views on any aspect of global warming. That being said there is there is no debate that they are far more compelling reasons to be cleaning up our act and ending our dependence on fossil fuels; environmental, economic, security, and human health all demand we stop the bullshit and get on with it!

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Brian,
        You cannot refute a new scientific paper with one published before those facts were presented. That’s the point you didn’t take the time to consider before dashing off your response. You were more interested in refuting me than discerning the facts.

        That in a nutshell is what’s wrong with the global warming discussion in the media. People are too emotionally invested in what they believe to consider that they could be wrong.

        The rest of your response is bumper-sticker phrases, good for politics, but bad for science. There is most certainly plenty of debate on whether it’s wise to end our dependence on fossil fuels. One reason is that the alternative of biofuels may wind up increasing carbon emissions: http://j.mp/xowMr

        It’s for reasons like that I’m skeptical of this great political campaign for drastic action on global warming. The science is not settled; the dueling publications on cosmic rays is evidence of that.

        And even if you accept that carbon dioxide is causing global warming, it’s possible to delay action on airborne CO2 for decades, if other actions are taken on the ground, according to a study by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute: http://j.mp/scripps01

        But these rather nuanced scientific points have been glossed over in the increasingly hysterical, politically motivated calls for immediate, drastic action. When journalists take part in such crusades, and exaggerate and distort the evidence, they make themselves less trustworthy to the public. But they don’t know how to connect the dots between the two.

      • Brian In NYC says:

        Interesting you chose to ignore my primary point, there are far more compelling reasons to be ending our dependence on fossil fuels than there aren’t. Global warming is only one part of the puzzle. Even if you take global warming off the table there is no compelling reason for us as a society to be using them any longer than absolutely necessary, unless of course your primary concern is the profits of big oil and coal. Usually the case with global warming deniers. And btw it’s an absurd notion to not think that all science is political.

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Brian,
        Regarding your point about there being other reasons to phase out fossil fuels, I didn’t ignore that. But those are mostly political reasons, not scientific ones. I’m only interested in seeing science properly represented.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Hi Bradley,
      Thanks for the comment but spare me the scolding. I acknowledge that the Union of Concerned Scientists takes political positions. Its members also do very good science (and include MacArthur genius award recipients). Let me again say that the consensus on global warming is extraordinarily broad. I’m not going to refight the issue in the comment section of a 400-word essay. I linked to that site because it provided a good primer. I’m sure you’ve seen Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth and rejected its findings. I’d imagine you’re familiar with the work of NOAA — an arm of the federal government — and have rejected that. I imagine that you’ve heard of James Hansen, a prominent NASA scientist who took on the Bush administration over the issue of censorship and global warming and reject what he has to say, too. But most of the world — and scientific community — does not. The melting permafrost, the rise of annual global temperatures and sea levels, the increasing severity of storms around the globe are all pieces of the climate change puzzle.

      I’ve been around long enough to remember a few decades when the tobacco industry insisted cigarettes really didn’t cause any harm, and trotted out scientists to back them up. That’s about where we are with global warming deniers right now.

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Hello Mr. Lanson,
        No, I haven’t seen Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” FYI, Gore is a politician, not a scientist, and “An Inconvenient Truth” is not a peer-reviewed scientific publication. Revealing that you’d bring it up.

        Instead of learning my science through politicians, I prefer to go right to the scientists. As a journalist, it’s very easy for me to get the articles on demand and read what they actually say.

        And regarding scientific articles, I see you have made no mention of Svensmark’s cosmic ray publication. His work is the subject of fierce controversy, and those supporting conventional global warming have published many articles attempting to refute his claim.

        When there’s controversy, by definition the science is not settled. You’ve only been paying attention to one side of the discussion, and so have misrepresented the state of the science to the public.

        The difference between science and politics is that science looks carefully for contrary information, to see if a belief or theory might be wrong. That’s why relativity theory has been given so many tests attempting to disprove it.

        But in politics, the goal is to persuade people to your point of view. Stacking the deck is perfectly acceptable, as is any other of unscientific approaches, such as appeals to authority and fear-mongering.

        I choose to take the scientific view in reporting on scientific subjects. I suggest you try it.

      • itfitzme says:

        Well, let’s see. Al Gore worked in politics, and spent decades studying AWG. And that he began studying it before you learned how to wipe your asses and personally knows more AWG scientists than you’ve even read about pretty much makes his “Inconvenient Truth” presentation based on more informed information.

        See, the problem is, that “Al Gore is a politician, not a scientist” isn’t an argument for or against the science of AWG. It’s a lame attempt at an argument about something else entirely.

        Like I said, there are more ways to come up with a dumb argument than there are ways to present the actual facts.

    • itfitzme says:

      There is no debate over global warming.

      That would be like saying the Ski Patrol, while rescuing a skier, is debating over whether the skier broke his leg.

      It’s like saying that two people looking looking a road map and discussing which road to take are debating where their going.

      It’s perfectly clear that there is global warming.

      1) Temperatures are at the highest ever as far back as the data goes, that’s like 2 millenniums.

      2) The ocean record demonstrates the sea level has continued to get increase.

      3) CO2 levels have continued to increase right along with the temperature and sea level rise.

      Maybe there is debate among the misinformed.

      But that’s like saying that there is a debate over the mental health of the patient because some schizophrenic guy in he corner of the room keeps arguing with himself.

  7. bradleyfikes says:

    Jerry (sorry for the last name use in the previous comment),

    Regarding the Union of Concerned Scientists, to say that it “takes political positions” is a huge understatement. UCS is an explicitly political organization, founded to advance political goals. The “Concerned” in its title is a rather big hint.

    The National Academy of Sciences would be a much more respectable source. It is truly a scientific group founded for the advancement of science.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Sorry Bradley, but I can’t let the last two posts pass unchallenged.

      Visa-vie your conversation with Brian, you seem to suggest that whatever scientific study came out last is the one that’s right. We both know that’s absolutely bogus. Science is built on replication and the accumulation of knowledge. One study that’s an outlier or flies a new theory doesn’t trump years of accumulated data. It never has. On April 25, 2005, The Indepdent of London, wrote an article titled “The Shame of Climate Change Deniers.”

      Let me quote: “More than 10,000 reputable, peer-reviewed climate scientists believe the evidence the rapid shifts in global temperature are caused by human activity. Seven,’that’s seven’ doubt it.”

      That the press or public give equal weight to those few, whether seven, seventeen or 70 is evidence of much confusion about what science is, the precise point of my essay. Now, when you refer to all the scientific papers you read directly, forgive me for bowing out. I’d be happy to continue the discussion offline if you’d like to call me in my office at Emerson.

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Jerry,
        “Visa-vie your conversation with Brian, you seem to suggest that whatever scientific study came out last is the one that’s right. We both know that’s absolutely bogus.”

        No, you failed to read what I said:

        “You cannot refute a new scientific paper with one published before those facts were presented.”

        I hope you now understand.

        You wrote:

        On April 25, 2005, The Indepdent of London, wrote an article titled “The Shame of Climate Change Deniers.”

        Let me quote: “More than 10,000 reputable, peer-reviewed climate scientists believe the evidence the rapid shifts in global temperature are caused by human activity. Seven,’that’s seven’ doubt it.”

        The Independent is a newspaper, not a scientific journal. BTW, would it have been so troublesome for you to provide a link? Where are the names so I can examine them? As a science journalist, I prefer the primary source, not second-hand press accounts.

        In any case, science is not a matter of belief, it is a matter of evidence. And I’ve pointed out evidence on the cosmic ray connection that needs to be examined on its merits, not tossed aside because it doesn’t fit a favored theory.

      • Brian In NYC says:

        This is the same shabby tactic used by the right all time, no different than what we see happening over health care reform stall and delay.

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Brian,
        If appealing to peer-reviewed research is a “shabby tactic,” I’d hate to see your idea of solid evidence.

      • Brian In NYC says:

        Bradley try selling this crap pile to someone else, I aint buying. You want to make a case for defending pollution go for it, but I don’t believe for a moment believe the “integrity” of science is a concern of yours on any level.

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Jerry

        Now, when you refer to all the scientific papers you read directly, forgive me for bowing out. I’d be happy to continue the discussion offline if you’d like to call me in my office at Emerson.

        It’s not that difficult, really. You can get them at EurekAlert, and the scientists are generally very good at explaining their work to journalists. I just wish that if you do so, please read all sides in the research, not just the one you’ve made up your mind is accurate.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Forgive me if I don’t quote directly from The National Academy. But Scientific American has long been a respected, non-political publication in the sciences aimed at a scientifically literate community. I quote here from an article published Feb. 1, 2007 titled “Climate Change Science Moves from Proof to Prevention.”

      “In the six years since the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Charge (IPCC) report was released, the science and certainty of global warming has grown markedly. ‘In the first IPCC report in 1990 there were no real observations demonstrating that climate had changed, only a prognosis that it would change,’ says Herve Le Treut, atmospheric physicist at CNRS (France’s National Center for Scientific Research) and a lead author of part of the fourth IPCC report set to be released on Friday. ‘By 2001, there were many signs that climate is changing and now we are already seeing the patterns described in the first IPCC report.’
      Simple observation confirms the basic science of climate change. ‘All six years since the last report (2001 to 2006) are among the seven warmest years on record,’ notes Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and another lead author. ‘Northern Hemisphere snow cover has decreased and Arctic Sea ice has been at record low levels in the past three years.’
      In addition to such ice changes–accelerated melting in Greenland, western Antarctica and from mountain glaciers throughout the world–scientists have improved their understanding of the atmosphere’s workings.”

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Jerry,
        I accept that carbon dioxide is probably causing AGW. I am next to a great research center, Scripps Institition of Oceanography, that has done some pioneering work on it. I even wrote recently about an SIO study about how to delay the effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide for several decades: http://bit.ly/scripps01

        What I don’t accept — because the evidence doesn’t support it — is that the scientific case is closed, that consensus has been reached. If that were so, you would not see a scientific debate on cosmic rays and warming in the scientific press. Failing to acknowledge that scientific debate gives a false idea of what’s happening in science.

      • Jerry Lanson says:

        Bradley,
        I’m beginning to get a clearer sense of your perspective. I have not argued that there is a consensus about what should be done to stop global warming. I have argued that there is a consensus that it exists and that man has played a significant part in it. You seemed to be denying that. But your last post suggests you essentially accept it. On your other point. Of course, science writers should get news on scientific studies directly from those who write them. No dispute. I, too, have worked as an environment writer and a science editor. Here, however, I was commenting on public perception, as measured in a poll, and how widely it differs from, yes, that word again, significant scientific consensus on the problem. Scientists agree in lopsided majorities on the cause if not the “cure.” Finally, I have not linked (but given dates and publications) because I do not know how to link on the comments part of TrueSlant. (Yes, I am a technological incompetent.) I will, however, gladly read your links. Goodnight, sir. Thanks for the lively back and forth.

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Jerry,

        I have argued that there is a consensus that it exists and that man has played a significant part in it. You seemed to be denying that. But your last post suggests you essentially accept it.

        No. I don’t think a consensus exists. I think AGW by carbon dioxide is probably true, but the evidence is not conclusive. Here’s what I wrote, with the pertinent part bolded:

        I accept that carbon dioxide is probably causing AGW. I am next to a great research center, Scripps Institition of Oceanography, that has done some pioneering work on it. I even wrote recently about an SIO study about how to delay the effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide for several decades: http://bit.ly/scripps01

        What I don’t accept — because the evidence doesn’t support it — is that the scientific case is closed, that consensus has been reached. If that were so, you would not see a scientific debate on cosmic rays and warming in the scientific press. Failing to acknowledge that scientific debate gives a false idea of what’s happening in science.

        I hope that clarifies my view on the subject.

      • bradleyfikes says:

        Jerry,
        As far as linking, just take your long link to an URL shortener, like bit.ly or j.mp and get a short link. Then paste the link into the text.

        You can also try embedding the link into the text with standard HTML. I don’t know if it will work here. So I’ll try it with my article on the SIO study.

        If I succeeded, just click on the last sentence to get the story.

  8. mememine says:

    I predict that the IPCC, NASA and the MET will soon do what most science organizations are doing now, distancing themselves from this failed CO2 theory. (Not to be confused with real pollution) I’m also predicting that the CO2 theory will migrate to the Universitys because after all, they invented political correctness didn’t they? And there is nothing more organic than bull $ $ it.
    You will see these organizations saying that the last 23 years of this theory show just how challenging climate study is and how we should not stop trying to understand climate change and it’s possible….bla bla bla bla.
    You believers reading this will look like the loser who showed up to the party in white pants and high shoes just as Disco was ending.
    History will call Global Warming and Climate Change, the Disco years for science and each and every one of you modern day witch burners will deny having any part of this death wish for our kids.
    History will not be kind so get ahead of the curve now. Renounce the CO2 theory, Climate Change and Global Warming so we can respect our world, not call it dead, dying and in need of being saved with pointless and cowardly fear.

  9. mememine says:

    Global Warming will be as damaging to liberalism as Bush was to conservatism. Only our mess is 23 years old now. We progressives must get past our own WMD scam and gain back our credibility. At least we can honestly say climate change was a mistake, not a lie.
    I can’t keep threatening my kids with this recklessly irresponsible saving the planet fear mongering.
    I may become a small C if the left does not stop leading us to war against a CO2 blunder.
    If you politically correct kids out there are going to the Climate Changer Protest, make sure you take a nice warm jacket with you.
    Ta Ta!

  10. mememine says:

    -All pollution stays in the air for ever?
    -Evolution and it’s implications of time are not in the CO2 equation,why?
    -Humans are killing the planet? That is a superstition, not science.
    -Humans are stronger than Nature? That is uncivilized to even consider.
    -CO2 is a poison, ya, go tell a tree that.
    -Who was Rachel Carson? Never heard of the chick.
    -Volcanoes are natural and good for the planet?
    -Humans are an alien pest?
    -Nature is weak, fragile and very very very very sensitive?
    -So what’s wrong with politicians promising to lower the temperature of the planet Earth with more taxes? What could go wrong?
    -Deny the deniers. They are evil and paid by EXXON?
    -Capitalism is killing the planet.
    -We are living longer now than at any time in history but is it worth it?
    -Trust “the” scientists.
    -The planet is helpless.
    -Why love this planet with all its glory and spender. This love is just breaking our hearts as we abuse her. We must worry and tend and care for her now by paying alimony in the form of taxes and quality of life sacrifices.
    -There is no hope in optimism.
    -Yes little Billy, you and or your kids and grandkids will all die on a dying planet if we don’t act now.
    -Doing the right thing is doing the right thing and every little bit helps.
    -Sustainability is not poverty? Think of it as clean living.
    -There is nothing more organic than Bu l l $ hit.

  11. mememine says:

    At first they just came for the light bulbs and I did not speak out.
    Because these days, I like to hide out in the darkness of my nice warm basement.

    Then they came for the plastic bags and I did not speak out.
    Because I was already using the replacement bag they had issued to me as per the minimum consumption laws made of 100% Polyester (imitation weave no less).

    Then they came with this giant, tandem diesel powered monster of a truck to pickup and compost my “bagged” leaves and I did not speak out because I didn’t have any bags.
    So they issued me their new paper bags with 100% of the 30% portion being recycled paper, or a 70% loss in real trees.

    Then they came for my oil and I did not speak out.
    Because they had already confiscated my Smartcar and recycled it into a wheelbarrow that they forced me to use every Earth Day to help them discover new sites to plant more and more and more trees.

    Then they came for the BBQ and I did not speak out.
    Because it doesn’t matter what the F*&% you do to a vegetarian hotdog, it still tastes like $hit.

    Then they came for the air conditioner and I did not speak out.
    Because by this time, the inevitable cool climate trend had cycled in once again as it has for billions of eons all by it’s poor little self, for reasons we do not and may not ever understand.

    Then they came to register me to vote, and I did not speak out.
    So they impaled my poor little weed infested, pesticide free front lawn with one of their plastic Green Party reelection signs.

    Finally they came for me and I COULD not speak out.
    Because there was nothing left to give, or take.

  12. Jerry Lanson says:

    It’s remarkable how noise echoes around the blogosphere. Why do Americans get confused about the scientific consensus on climate change? Read the comments here for a hint. Science can and should be questioned (it turns out the world is not flat) but not selectively manipulated. The overwhelming weight of scientific papers and evidence on climate change stands. It’s well documented. Its implications are indeed “very serious” though just over a third of Americans see it that way. Let me leave you (and I won’t be back, which is what I meant by bowing out a few posts ago, with the point with which I started):

    “Why are Americans, in the ninth year of the 21st century, at best lackadaisical about science and the evidence it provides and documents? …. Is it because we are a nation so corrupted by the money of lobbyists and so mesmerized by the zealotry of true believers that we can no longer step back to engage the evidence?”

  13. jeffgoldstein says:

    It’s all about education. Those loud voices espousing that GW is not real, or that it is certainly not from human activity, are swaying those that are willing to listen. We’re doing a bad job of informing and educating those willing to listen with regard to climate change. The level of misinformation is stunning, and it is presented in a manner that seems reasonable to folks.

    I’ve tried to do my part-
    Here’s a post on the myth that increasing concentrations of a TRACE gas like CO2 can’t possibly impact the global environment:
    http://bit.ly/1HN3VE

    And here are some PERCEPTION-CHANGING posts on Climate Change and Global Warming at Blog on the Universe.

    Understanding Human-Induced Climate Change: “A Day in the Life of the Earth”
    http://bit.ly/2uhzdO

    How many more people on Earth in a day, a week, a month, a year? (Stunning)
    http://bit.ly/b6APK

    The biomass of the Human race must be huge to impact climate! Uh … nope.
    http://bit.ly/HJqIC

    Apples – and the fragility of the Atmosphere
    http://bit.ly/p6YNs

    Dr. Jeff Goldstein
    Center Director
    National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
    USA

  14. Pingback: David Knowles - Paradigms Lost – The myth of ‘global cooling’ - True/Slant

  15. bradleyfikes says:

    Dr. Goldstein,
    I’m not interested in PERCEPTION-CHANGING material, I’m interested in facts And as a reporter who covers science, I’m shocked at the low level of argument and the unwillingness to confront contrary data on the global warming issue — by AGW backers as well as deniers.

    A fair look at the issue would examine all the evidence, including that which doesn’t fit in with AGW, like the cosmic ray hypothesis. It’s published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Pro-AGW scientists plainly regard the hypothesis and want it to go away. One team even built a computer model to try to discredit it and quash any future research. How very scientific.

    If we’re going to teach children about the way science works, let’s discuss critical thinking, and the need for skepticism. And let’s spend some time on the need to address the stronger points of opposing ideas, instead of the scientifically invalid and illogical trick of attacking a straw man.

    I don’t see that in your lessons for teachers. They seem more like a parody of Gaia-worship, the religion of global warming, Paul Ehrlich’s discredited nonsense. In their demand for unquestioning belief, your “science” has more to do with creationism. Disbelief is bad!

    Children taught your way will only learn a dim parody of science. Are you so afraid that a fair evaluation of the facts might go against you that you so intellectually debase yourself by resorting to this propaganda?

  16. graham says:

    I don’t know if man-made Global Warming is a hoax or not. I do know the issue has become so politicized that a fair discussion of the true data is virtually impossible. Those who believe (and in many cases are profiting from the theory) are so blinded they are willing to falsify data, suppress conflicting evidence and brand anyone who questions the theory as “holocaust deniers.”

    Add to that a national media that has abdicated its role as guardians of truth by almost universally amplifying the worst propaganda of the Global Warming theory without serious investigation.

    The melting of the Greenland ice sheet alone will cause sea levels to rise 20 feet? Do the math. It’s a ridiculous assertion. When we are force fed garbage like that, skepticism is healthy.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Hello again, Graham. The question in such cases is who politicized what?
      For example, you may or may not be among those who believe that Charles Darwin politicized creationism. Others might call that science. Science and fervent belief aren’t the same thing.

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