Sunday, April 20, 2008
Anthony Watts notices that according to a recent poll exactly 0% of American voters regard the "environment and global warming" as the most important issue in the upcoming election, which strongly suggests that almost nobody thinks that AGW has the capacity to destroy life as we know it. Al Gore has apparently failed to scare Americans, or maybe they just do not believe him. Perhaps Americans are with Glenn Reynolds, and will only believe AGW is a crisis when the people who say it is start acting like it is one.
More likely, Americans do not care about climate change because they really have not experienced it to any significant degree, at least compared to Europe. Not only has North America gotten more comfortable during the modern climate change era even while Europe has gotten less comfortable, but the trend is especially strong right now. According to the National Climate Data Center's most recent report, March 2008 was the second warmest on record globally (combining land and ocean temperature measures). In the United States, however, it was an entirely different story:
In the contiguous United States, the average temperature for March was 42°F, which was 0.4°F below the 20th century mean, ranking it as the 63rd warmest March on record, based on preliminary data.
It is almost as though Mother Nature is trying to keep Kyoto unpopular in the United States. Hey, maybe Gaia is telling us something...
In any case, if this poll says anything it is this: Voters care far more about their immediate economic circumstances than an attenuated "crisis" that theoretically creates a big problem in a couple of generations. If nothing else, this is evidence that greenhouse gas regulation that hurts economic growth will be a non-starter with Americans regardless of who is in the White House. Perhaps the AGW activists should start looking for a different solution.
I only wish that Al Gore had failed.
AGW, whether fact, conspiracy or massive con game, is with us to stay, unless our weather starts to look as though a new ice age is coming. Short of that, our European cousins are absolutely convinced of this, at least in the governments and top levels of major corporations that wish to maintain a good public image.
They will taunt us and shame us into doing....something. Something that is probably counter productive and stupid, but that's politics.
Regardless of what the public wants to cling to out of bitterness and resentment (according to BHO), our "betters" in the government know what is best. Heck, I was at Wal-Mart yesterday with my wife and they are pushing "green" consciousness there. When the world's biggest retailer is on the job, somewhere, someone's "consciousness" is going to be raised.
Volker Mrasek at Spiegel Online in Germany: "Europe is heating up much faster than climate researchers expected, and now they think they know why: air made dramatically cleaner by anti-pollution programs."
Link to article (14 Apr 08):
I read that link a few days ago, I think, DEC. The thing I wonder about is what it means. Arguably, the air pollution masked the warming from greenhouse gases, and then when the air pollution went away the gains in temperature shot up. They were spring-loaded.
Europeans push this stuff at least as much to (they hope) punish the US as to justify their continued march towards becoming the EUSSR. I'm not convinced EU elites actually believe this stuff, except as a means of establishing a socialist utopia.
By and large, North America has greater temperature has greater variability over the course of a year than Europe does. Whether the weather jumps to over a hundred degrees, or plunges into the subzeroes, most American homes and business have the climate controls to deal with it.
Where an unusually hot European summer can lead to disaster and depth, similar temps simply means an American mows his lawn at dusk, and complains about the heat at work, where he is inside wearing a sweater.
In any pairwise ranking, the more immediate threat trumps the one over the horizon. Does this surprise you? What is more likely, that one will rush to put out a fire or take preventive steps to ward off future fires and let this one burn?
The environment comes out on top when it does not have competition from a lousy economy, war, and immediate threats to personal health and safety. This is not one of those times. That doesn't mean it is not a significant concern for many, but even I, a professional conservationist, am currently more worried about the cost of basis foodstuffs, home heating oil, diesel and gasoline than I am about global sea level rise. One can have multiple priorities and take action on many fronts, but one also does risk analysis.