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Thursday, September 15, 2011

THE POLITICS AND PSYCHOLOGY OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Over the past couple of days, op-ed pages have published an article by Peter Frumhoff (Union of Concerned Scientists) and Kerry Emanuel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), one a Democrat and the other a Republican (not sure which is which), chiding political leaders for their refusal to recognize the reality of climate change.  They equate Governor Rick Perry's attitude as being similar to that of the tobacco industry prior to being nailed, former Governor Mitt Romney for backing off his initial stance to cater to Tea Party types (who are legion in their denial of global warming, at least as caused by Man), and Governor Chris Christie for, while recognizing the authenticity of this phenomenon, yet avoiding taking any real action.

They further indicate that Republicans, especially those affiliated with the Tea Party, are especially noted for their pooh pooh attitude.  A little more than three years ago, one of my HuffPos was entitled:


This was written before the Tea Party appeared, so the situation has now been worsened (I believe in global warming--I tried to balance the situation to some degree, but in the right column is my current take on the subject under WE MUST TAKE ACTION ON GLOBAL WARMING NOW!)


The latest Gallup Poll (see above) indicates that 72% of Americans personally worried about our atmosphere warming in the Year 2000.  This year, this percentage is down to 51.  Thus, belief was 43% higher about a decade ago.  However, this figure was down to 50% in 1998.  Why?  Oil prices dropped to an all-time low (yes, even lower than just before the first Energy Crisis of 1973 in terms of real dollars.
By the way, in the United Kingdom, 83% view climate change as a current or imminent threat.  Nielsen's online survey showed that 69% of 25,000 internet users in 51 countries were concerned, down from 72% in 2007.  The questions are slightly different, but not much.  Americans just don't care as much!

But why?  Well, attitudes on climate change can be affected by the price of oil, but also by the noise level of politicians.  Those that capture the attention of the masses speak the loudest and most outrageously, and there is an almost direct correlation to denial from those whose campaigns gain the support of fossil fuel companies and corporate boards in general.  Former VP Al Gore, even after his Nobel Prize and books, has almost become a term of derision.  A good measure is a survey conducted this year with the question:  

“To the best of your knowledge, what proportion of climate scientists think that global warming is caused mostly by human activities?”

It is generally acknowledged that 97% of climate researchers believe humans are responsible for global warming.  In the poll only 15% thought that 81%-100% of these scientists believed so.  Corporate America, scientists bought out by those firms and Republicans appear to be gleefully enjoying their success at destroying Planet Earth and Humanity.  Unbelievable, but explain to me why, also, with our educational system, up to 90% of Americans believe in Heaven and an afterlife?  That was my Chapter 5 in SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity, which was serialized beginning on 23December2009 in this blog site.



Graphs like the above are ignored.  We pass off future doom like climate change and death.  We have this proclivity to believe in what is more psychologically pleasant, real or not.  For the former, it helps that "responsible" decision-makers are questioning the validity.  For the latter, we have religion.

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What a week, the Dow Jones Industrials zoomed up 186 to 11,433, with world markets almost all also up.  Gold sunk $35/toz to $1790, with the Brent crude at $115/barrel and WTI at $89/barrel.  Greece remains vulnerable.

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Tropical Storm Maria, now at 70 MPH, will attain hurricane strength and could well skirt Newfoundland, bounce off Greenland and head to Iceland.  A hurricane?  Well, Scotland got the brunt of Katia last week:
Global warming?

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