While nearly 75% of the world thinks climate change should be a top priority for governments, only 44% of Americans agree, says a new survey. Why the disparity? Are scientists not communicating the dangers of global warming clearly, as our bloggers Rebecca Goldman and Peter Kareiva think? Are Americans not (gulp) educated enough? Are we distracted by reality shows and social media and consumerism? Or is it good ole U.S. of A. skepticism about still-unproven speculation? Let us know your theories — leave a comment below.

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  1. Until it affects them personally, Americans won’t try to understand it. Then it will be too late.
    Americans don’t want to change their consumerism, capitalistic lifestyle, and they refuse to listen to the facts.
    We are a very self-centered society. Outwardly, many people seem to loathe the greed that has created so many world problems, but inwardly, people wish they were the ones who were living the life of unrestrained luxury as touted every day in all kinds of media. Sad.

  2. When you boil it all down there is one main problem. Americans are not educated enough on the major issues of our time. Whether it be health care, conservation, energy, or climate change. If the issue isn’t immediately impacting someone, most Americans will not put forth the time or the effort to educate themselves on a subject. That leads to the potential for selective information to fill the gaps and serve as a fake knowledge, so long as it fits into their preconceived notions of an issue. This issue allows Americans to be extremely open to exploitation, confusion, and misinformation at the hand of those that have the most at stake in keeping the public ignorant to what may be in their own best interest.

    My hope is that as the population becomes more able to access information online, that it will be easier for more people to find their own path of learning. However, I fear that most people will not have the ability, want to spend the time, or even the slightest inclination to understand their media sources to ensure they are getting unfiltered and unbiased data. We may be back in the same place we are in today, with more junk than ever confusing the minds of the disinterested public.

  3. Perhaps other countries do not have the same incredible amounts of money going to misinformation campaigns and lobbyist forgeries that keep many good ole Americans very confused on this issue.

  4. The problem stems from the concerted effort of right-wing commentators and corporations to spread “doubt” about the science and thereby to convince people that the government should do nothing. Industrial-strength disinformation is at the heart of modern corporate efforts to block regulation on almost any topic. Their right-wing buddies and conservative politicians profess doubt about the science and spread confusions either (a) because they get money/support from industrial opponents of GHG regulation or (b) because they think defeating the administration will help the Republicans’ political prospects or (c) because they adamantly refuse to believe anything they hear from “liberals” or “Europeans” (i.e., belief trumps evidence). The opponents help spread their message through repetition and apparent “conviction”, which lay audiences confuse with evidence-based analysis (i.e., surely the opponents must have some factual basis or why would they say it?).

  5. Chrissy’s got it right!
    Driving thru Charleston WV there are numerous billboards that proclaim:
    Coal: the carbon neutral energy source.
    Sold out scientists mouthing industry pablum have brought the planet to the brink.
    The former administration attempted to ‘Junk’ Real science and substitute
    ‘What Sounds like Science but ain’t’
    in an attempt to continue the desecration of our planet and the continued dominance of the old aristocatic/robberbaron,sea caption oppressive, corrupted, heavy handed self serving legal scam we all labor under.
    All the negative press aimed at alleged illegal aliens is appalling since Americans spend less of their income on food than any other nation, and the only cheap thing about food production in Amerika are the wages paid to these hard working people,
    who have freed up mass amounts of
    Amerikan’s income so they can buy all this stuff and then start covering up the landscape with storage units to store all this stuff.
    While those exposed to the highest levels of agricultural chemicals are denied health care and humane working conditions.

    PS the HIPPA laws are not about privacy but rather an attempt to hide the truth about the horrific effects of industrial pollution.

  6. Much of this discussion has been based on why people don’t believe in climate change, detailing how varying interest groups have successfully “duped” the American public into believing climate change isn’t real or urgent.

    However, recent polling shows that the vast majority of Americans believe that climate change is at least a somewhate serious problem — 73 percent according to a July study by Pew research.

    So the real question is not “Why Americans don’t believe in climate change?,” but rather “Why aren’t they acting on it?”. The American Psychological Association (APA) thinks it’s psychological, and I tend to agree. Humans are psychologically wired to respond to threats that are immediate and apparent, not gradual and distant.

    We respond to threats like national security, terrorism and economic downturns with swift and focused action because the effects of these threats happen to us in the present.

    On the environment side, acid rain — which is often held up as a model for combating climate change — was only addressed when the threat of dying ecosystems in lakes and rivers became too apparent to ignore anymore.

    This is the insidious threat of climate change. We may not truly act — even if we are true believers — until we see dramatic effects from the problem. By that time any action we take will be far too little too late.

    The challenge for those who care about climate change (scientists, communicators, policymakers) is to stop talking about what climate change will mean to their children or grandchildren (or even to them ten years down the road); but to tell us what’s happening now and what the solutions will mean for us now.

    Without immediate gratification, we’ll never take real action.

  7. Dave,
    I’ve heard the psychological argument before and, to a certain extent, it makes sense. But why is it that other nations have been able to overcome their instinctive discounting of future threats and Americans have not? I think, as previous comments have suggested, that the (false) suggestion of doubt/disagreement among scientists frees Americans from making the effort to overcome their instincts.

  8. I agree with Mary C. Most American’s don’t realize what a problem is until it becomes one of their own. It’s not completely their fault though. I think the media and our ways of mass communication are a great deal of the problem. I feel that most Americans would love to understand a little bit more as to what’s going on around them in our environment, but I think everyone is too busy dealing with their own problems and issues that they put large scale problems on the back burner. When there is free time available, unfortunately it is being absorbed by things like Reality TV. People are more interested in Jon and Kate’s relationship more than they are about their own and the issues around them.

    I brought up a conversation about Cap an Trade the other day in a group of people my age (25-28 year olds) and they had no Idea what that was. I had to explain how it worked and most of them were on the subject talking about it for quite a while. I was glad that I introduced the idea to them and made them think of a real life issue that could bring on major changes for our environment. But it just goes to show that people are uneducated.

    Ultimately there are tons of factors but I think the major one is that we Americans take things for granted but mainly because the real issues aren’t being reported in the right way. Instead of having 4 or 5 old politician/government officials sitting around having a discussion using words that most scholars don’t know the meaning of, sounding as boring as a catholic mass, we need new ways of teaching these issues to everyone… who knows what it will take but at this rate, one day will come when everyone will learn it at the same time, and that is the exact date that it will be too late and although actions will be taken, it will only be a delay of the inevitable.

  9. http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm1723.cfm

    Could it be that the Americans surveyed actually do “get it”, and were able to make a more informed response because we are exposed to all sides of the issue? Of course not! My fellow bloggers have relegated the lower percentage numbers of Americans wanting the government to prioritize climate change to be the result of distraction, misinformation, insidious advertising and mental imbalance. Because, for goodness sake, the REST OF THE WORLD, has it figured out correctly. That same world in which more than 50% of the countries have no free press.
    Interesting . . .

  10. To start with this “Global Warming” thing is just another money making scam. There are far too many people out there that are looking for more drama. Just flip through the channels on TV. Drama, drama, drama. If pollution was really a problem, we would not be sitting in front of a computer reading about it. I have spent a lot of time in third world countries, Central and South America, and these are far more polluting than the U.S. could ever dream of. These people live from day to day never knowing of trash collection or a sanitation service. When they get a pile of trash and tires and plastic and styrofoam and animal waste, and whatever else you can think of, they pour some oil or gas over it and burn it. If you mention pollution they don’t know what you are talking about. All they know is that they have to get rid of it and the most feasible way is to burn it. Here in the good ole U.S., if your car detects a little to much carbon it throws an error and off to the mechanic we go and heaven forbid you get it inspected with and error in the computer. I guess what I’m saying is that we are being way to hard on ourselves. We have gone above and beyond our global duty. We are definitely not the main contributors to this problem. Honestly, I don’t think the pollution problem is going to be changed when you have so much poverty and lack of concern that other governments around the globe have. These countries cannot afford to do anything about it. They can’t even keep there citizens fed much less worry about how many tires and trash bags are burned or thrown in the river or buried. Don’t be so hard on yourselves out there.

  11. Having worked for 45 yrs on environmental issues in the NW I find the problem being the scientists. Those that work for the govt have used bad science and have tampered with evidence to their advantage. Those that work for big business do the same thing and some that work for enviro groups also do the same. So who do you trust and believe. Until you take the money out of the equasion you will have non-believers. I have seen lots of this over 45 years.

  12. I’m not quite sure of the statistics quoted in the main post here. I don’t believe that 75% of the world believes that climate change/action should be a top priority of the government. I do more believe in the latter stat about Americans, though I think it’s a tad too low.

    To answer the question, I think one can attribute it partially to the First Amendment which grants free speech to all. Basically there is a lot of money funneling into companies and largely to lobbyists that will spin any statistic into their favour thus often giving a lot of misinformation out to the public. When the major source of news is misinformation, it’s becomes increasingly hard to blame the public.

    The main thing that I believe needs to change is not allowing such grossly incorrect information to be spread like it is. Should real information reach everyone, and have it in such a manner that they can actually relate to it, on a true and fundamental level, then it will make sense to them. That is something that’s not being done very well at the moment.

  13. While I believe that there is a real need to gradually change the way we interact with nature, I find it hard to believe that humans are the sole reason for climate change. This planet has been changing from its inception, we as humans are but a speck of dust in the overall history of the climate changes this planet has seen.

  14. Here is an interesting snippit of misinformation generated within this very comment thread.

    “I guess what I’m saying is that we are being way to hard on ourselves. We have gone above and beyond our global duty. We are definitely not the main contributors to this problem. ”

    Burning trash in developing countries has NOTHING on the emissions generated in the US over the past half century.

  15. I agree with Dave, I am not certain the issue is with agreeing/disagreeing climate change is a problem but rather incentives for behavior change.

  16. As noted above, it really comes down to one of the failing pillars of society – the U.S. education system.

  17. They get it but like anything else “they don’t think it can happen in their backyard” or “don’t give a ****”.

  18. I am really green. I am also really sad about the level of discourse on AGW.
    The whole green movement is going to get a black eye once the curtain is finally ripped back and the new data on the climate destroys the hoax perpetrated on all who had the best intentions. I encourage the Conservancy to drop agw and stick with other pollution issues.

    Don Thrift

    P.S. Don’t believe me? Be brave enough to take your best evidence and look for rebuttals on the net. Do your own research!
    It is there and convincing.

  19. I’m glad to see burning trash has nothing on emissions of the U.S. We gotta be at the top of something I guess. Education is definitely not one of our great achievements. Third world countries should not give it a second thought when two thirds of the people want to burn there daily trash and most of there vehicles have smoke pumping out of the tailpipe. Sorry for the misinformation.

  20. In my opinion, there is one reason and an underlying cause for this reason and it is that Americans are not educated properly on any issues ranging from climate change to politics and even when they are partially educated they are not made out to understand them and the reason people in other countries grasp the concept of climate change is because they do something that Americans never do LISTEN! They watch the news, read newspapers and books and keep themselves informed.

  21. Is it man made, natural, or both? The climate does change on its own with or without our help. I have seen a lot of disinformation on both sides of the issue. The climate change bills in the UN appear to be income redistribution scams. The United States has the most to lose if these bills ever pass. Most nations are exempt and can pollute all they want and sell carbon credits to the few developed nations that are dumb enough to pay for carbon credits. Does anyone actually believe that Brazil will ever stop illegal logging, ranching, or mining even if we pay them carbon credits to stop?

    The United States is not going to reduce it energy usage. The so called “Educated” people are the same people who try to stop every green source of energy. They start a new law suite over every Solar, Wind, Hydroelectric, Nuclear, and every power lines project that is proposed. These law suits cost a lot of money and delay or stop every project. That’s why Americans do not support it. It would destroy the economy of the United States and China will still build a new coal power plant every week.

  22. Why is it “climate change” now, and no longer global warming?

    1. It’s both. The Conservancy calls it climate change, because it’s not always about warming — some places are going to get cooler, and in a lot of places “warming” doesn’t encompass all the potential effects on precipitation, wind, etc. But “global warming” has a powerful hold on people’s minds, so they’re basically interchangeable in popular parlance.

  23. I believe that American’s are skeptical about CC because we stand the most to “lose” by changing our behavior. We lead the world in GHGs emissions (except for GHG emissions from deforestation I suppose) so reducing our carbon footprint would require huge lifestyle changes: good bye SUVs, good bye 4,000 sq. ft. homes. People aren’t dumb or “uneducated”, they’re just attached to a certain way life that is clearly threatened by a low carbon economy.

  24. So let’s get rid of computers, right?

  25. It is that age old axiom: ignorance is bliss. Or, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. It is simply just easier to come up with excuses and justifications than to fundamentally change the way we live. And that’s what’s it’s gonna take…

  26. I think it boils down to the fact that Americans need to be shocked through catastrophe to believe anything. We’re too comfortable, and we never seem to make changes to our lifestyle before a catastrophe; rather, we wait until disaster strikes and marvel at how the evidence was all there as a warning beforehand. I hope we don’t wait to face major disasters as a result of climate change (in fact, they’re already occurring, but largely in places/countries that don’t affect us directly – therefore, no need to change OUR behavior, right?), but the fact is, we may not wake up until we’ve had that slap in the face from climate change.

  27. In short, we’re spoiled and selfish. Do only 44% believe, or are many just unwilling to admit it because they are not willing to make the sacrifices needed to lessen our impact on climate change? we are a disposable society, disposable lighters, disposable diapers, disposable resources, and disposable quilt. We will continue to deny, or blame others because the majority of Americans are simply don’t want to be bothered.

  28. I’ve lived for 31 years in the Netherlands, and i found out that most landscapes there are artificially made by man. In most parts of Europe there is no real nature left, for most was destroyed by man over the last centuries, through over population, war, and greed. Many Europeans escaped to the America’s and they found a pristine continent. Only one problem: They had to get rid of the indigenous people they called the Indians. After they almost extinct these Indian communities by destroying there primary food source (killing all 60 million Bison’s) and bringing war and disease on these people they captured the land. They started to exploit all its resources because there was so much of it. The modern human think that they own this planet and that it is up to them what to do with it. The Indians lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years and in only 2 centuries the white man destroyed not only his own continent “Europe” but most parts of the world they conquered during their hunger for wealth. Still you think that it is only the Americans that are doing wrong?? Like Michael Jackson said with his song “man in the mirror” You should also look at your own carbon footprint and what you will see you won’t like. It is easier to talk about the Americans (and they truly are the biggest polluters) but all developed counties are in debt to the situation the planet Earth is in. The greed of the rich countries is to blame for the situation we are now in. As I said I lived for 31 years in the Netherland and I noticed that the people there where convinced that they where doing a good job saving our planet. They where thinking “green”. But thinking green is not enough to save our planet when you still get in to your beautiful car, buy beautiful hardwood garden chairs and tables, fly the world around in those polluting airplanes, using so much energy, buying plastic consumer goods etc etc.
    Where do you think all the hardwood is coming from, a factory?? No… it is from our beautiful rainforests with all its biodiversity!! Destroying it all in only a few seconds compared to the time it took to develop for billion years. Stop pointing fingers and start to change yourself and live closer to nature because if we destroy nature it eventually will destroy us. I’m now back in Suriname trying to fight the criminals (greedy politicians, businessmen and Brazilians) who are destroying our rainforest for some yellow metal they call gold (a cursed metal) and polluting the rivers with mercury infecting nature and innocent people living along the river. Here they also think that we have so much forest left that they (our corrupt government) do not intervene in this destruction.

  29. I just stopped by after finding your post about Sandusky Bay. That is a beautiful area and i am hoping that you can help!!

  30. Someone please explain to me how the glaciers melted in the Mohawk Valley (NYS) 1,000 years ago and there were no cars, factories or humans causing the biggest period of global warming in our history. How did it happen? This is why I refuse to believe that man has caused the problem. We are simple a pimple on the earth and have no influence on its climate.

  31. free press

  32. Many Americans do not want to know or believe in Global Warming. It would require them to make sacrifices, to reconsider their ideas and comforts,and to reconsider their politics, and religion. Education in science has been largely a failure over the last few decades in the U.S. The situation with Global Warming is little different from that with belief in evolution. American do not want to stretch their minds. They are more content with crystal power, superstition,
    and wishful thinking than reality. We are in some ways entering a dark age of the intellect in this country.

  33. I agree with the majority of the comments above. What I don’t see mentioned is the almost total lack of serious coverage of these issues on the morning and evening TV news programs. ABC, for example, will devote more time to promoting its own network’s idiotic “Dancing with the Stars” program, than covering serious news. And when TV news consumers are fed a constant diet of drivel rather than hard news that truly impacts their lives (as well as their families’ lives), they stop paying attention. News programming must stop being “entertainment,” and become informative, useful and unbiased. And it doesn’t matter whether the topic is global warming, healthcare, or whatever. It must be presented in a way that the viewer understands that THIS WILL IMPACT MY LIFE IF I DON’T PAY ATTENTION! Oh, Uncle Walter, I wish you were still with us…

  34. Because “man made” climate change is a hoax! The purpose is to try and scare people into higher taxes and goverment control of private business. global warming? think SUN it has been warming everything for years now, thought you would have caught on by now !!

  35. My theory is that we Americans have been “distracted” by weighty matters at the core of our nation’s identity and future as well as ephemera.

    We were the epicenter of the global financial meltdown, precisely when our generation’s most important Presidential election reached its climax. This particular election tapped into four centuries of racial concerns and fourteen millenia of gender concerns and lasted two years. Whenever Election and Hollywood fought for viewership, the Election won.

    A fifth of our wealth has vanished into the aether whence it came. Two Administrations intervened in the economy over six months with astounding, radical measures that, in retrospect, may have been too timid and conventional.

    As the stock market hit bottom, our neighbor to the south developed a particularly virulent form of swine flu and our ships were attacked by pirates. Al-Qaeda’s bosom buddies took up position 100 km from Islamabad and the codes to Pakistan’s nukes. At least all three of these are now in abeyance.

    We’re in a health-care debate that most of the developed world resolved 40-60 years ago, and our President has decided to keep a promise that appeals more in a falling economy than in a stable one. Enter the loons packing heat at Presidential appearances.

    Meanwhile a fifth of the population firmly believes that the world will end within a few decades. The conflict between a state almost as secular as France in its laws with a population about as devout as Ireland used to be occupies many of our best minds and our worst demagogues.

    Global warming/climate change got lost in the shuffle. Perhaps we consider the fate of 46 million uninsured, the possibility of North Korea obliterating Tokyo and Seoul, ongoing crime and homelessness at home and two wars more pressing.

  36. I think Americans aren’t terribly trustworthy of other people’s opinions and prefer to form their own. The lack of education would only make a difference if you could give people understanding of longterm weather trends. We have cold years and hot years. As most American’s lifestyle is not dependent on the seasonal weather patterns (yet!), its hard for them to notice long term trends. But the biggest underlying reason is that most people see this as losing ground economically to countries that would not have the same pollution control, this is good ole American exceptionalism. In anycase it requires an extremely high burden of proof and fear. We will lead only when we are convinced our competitors will follow.

  37. Take this thread as a whole and you’ve answered the question. Increasingly polarizing comments laced with distrust, innuendo, and blame.

    Not a good sign.

  38. I am saddened to see the Nature Conservancy get duped by the “human induced climate change” panic brigade. I am an environmental scientist and I have financially supported the Conservancy for over 20 years, ever since a colleague told me about the no-nonsense approach they take to habitat preservation. Keep It Simple, Stupid!! Don’t get above your raising, We Americans *do* get it — the scientists who are in on the gravy train are exaggerating their results in order to get more money. I am all in favor of climate science but anyone who really believes that these models are more than just poor approximations is fooling themselves. There are *so many* current issues that the Conservancy and like-minded organizations can be busy with — notably, habitat preservation — without having to puff it up with poor science. When the books are written on this episode in 20 years it will stand as a cautionary tale of delusion and over-interpretation of data — remember phrenology? I am renewing my membership for one more year because the Conservancy does lots of good things, but when I read the magazine and all the gratuitous references to human-induced change that can be stopped by the bogus cap-and-trade and reforestation scams (where do you think all that money will go?? Think Mobutu and Swiss banks) I want to retch.

  39. I like the comment on wealth, it dictates what americans do. If we cant make money on it then we dont feel the need to bother with it. What americans need to realize is how to go green and still profit from producing the goods and services that hampers our lifestyles. all to many are on drugs, and all too many feel that they are too poor to do anything about it.

  40. There are lots of opposing forces to “the green movement” most of the opposing forces are invested in coal, oil, and chemicals. They create “stasis through obfuscation”. They make claims that muddle the facts so people get tired of listening and go back to status quo or motionlessness, non-movement. Any science regarding global warming, climate change or renewable energy gets stagnated by oil, coal, and chemical industry claims.

    Also we’re too hard on businesses that are trying to protect the environment and create jobs we feel good about going to. We pick on them for not being green enough. We should support them and encourage continued improvements, rather than telling them they are not good enough.

  41. Americans do get it. It’s just another green scam with a hint of science buried under all the politics and money transfers. Yawn.

  42. Jessica has it right. There is just as much science debunking man made global warming as there is supporting it. You just have to look and open your eyes. Global warming and cooling had been going on for a lot longer than we have been around. I’m not saying we don’t need to take better care of this planet we live on because we do, but to destroy economies over this myth is not necessary. We may use use more than our share of resources here in the U.S. but the rest of you all put together don’t come close to doing the good things the U.S. does in this world. Example Haiti. The land we have set aside for conserving nature puts any and all of you to shame. It’s amazing how everyone likes to cut down the U.S. until they need us to bail them out. If you want to help this planet out then we need to start controlling population. We can do all the “green” stuff we want, but if the worlds population keeps growing we are all screwed eventually anyway. Period.

  43. I believe global warming to be a myth or an outright scam. In the 70’s they told us we were heading for the next ice age because the earth was cooling. Just a few years ago we were told the effects of global warming were hundreds of years away. Many replied,”then it’s not my problem”. Suddenly, the dangers became imminent. It’s probably about the money. It always is and the above anticapitalist posters can claim to be above it if they want but the rest of us can see through their charade. I have been a member for decades and I continue to get membership renewal notices. I think I’m out.

  44. The majority of Americans havn’t historically responded to crises until they are personally effected. Unfortunately, in this case, it will probably then be too late to take effective action.
    Hopefully a few environmental mini-crises will get our collective attention or we can wait for the mythical scientific “silver bullet”. In the meantime, the rest of us need to bring greater pressure to bear on the political establishment for real change.
    Joe Sortais

  45. I know i’m coming kinda late to the party but what the heck.When will you all understand that the only thing we know about climate change for sure is…that we don’t know for sure!In relation to the age of the earth,climate from the industrial age on is a mere blink of an eye. It’s simply wrong headed to conclude that somehow we can read the climate “tealeaves” and predict what’s coming down the pike over the next 50-100 years. We can’t even get the seven day forcast right for goodness sake!
    Now,I’m all for respnsible stewardship of the environment but let’s be sure to identify the culprits before taking what could be irreversible ecomomic and social action on a global scale.Saving the rainforests might be a good start in putting this right with old mother earth again.In particular. it’s time to give up on the CO2 booyman. As Clinton would say, that dog ain’t gonna hunt!Besides, a little extra CO2 may well be good for the plant life and forests of the world.I mean, look at the levels in your local greenhouse. They are generally much higher than even the predicted catastrophic levels of the IPCC, not that anybody gives that “august” body much credence anymore. I mean, a railway engineer in charge of the climaate file? Come on!
    I guess I’m starting to get really wound up now, so I’ll make this short.Everbody just calm down and start putting our brains in gear before we put our mouths in action. That’s why God gave us TWO ears and ONE mouth afterall!Thanks for listening

  46. I know I an coming in late here as well. But I am all for green and keep my part up. But the cap and trade has not saved anything as countries just sell their excessive credits to another. All it resulted in I read was that your electric bill went up 50% as did most in Europe. So it did not seem like a resolution to me, nor does it for the lower class of citizens and elderly trying to make ends meet.

    I expect the government stimulus packages and other compaines must fund reasearch it and not poor citizens. This way their patents and technologies they can profit from it. Am I wrong in my thinking?

  47. Of course its all about the almighty dollar! One year we have many hurricanes and they say its global warming next year we have very few storms and they claim global warming and all of a sudden they see there error in the name so they say hmmm oh heres a good one! CLIMATE CHANGE” catchy catchy heres an idea for you KOOL-AID fans, kill yourself and save the world

  48. It’s simple and I suspect that you already know the answer and are just playing dumb. It’s time to wakeup. American is not as stupid as you are pretending to be… or maybe you really are, but I hope not.

    The amount of evidence that supports it being caused by mankind is virtually zero. I’ve be in and around the scientific studies since the early 1990’s and while we can show that global warming is real, mankind’s effect is probably so minimal that it doesn’t account for much of anything. If you disagree, just explain why methane follows the heating curve better than carbon. You also need to explain the 15th century European warming trend if carbon is the cause. But you cannot explain these.

    Explain to me how much carbon was released by Mt. Saint Helen is just a few hours and compare that to mankinds total carbon in the past 200 years. Why didn’t we get an increase in temperature from Mt. Saint Helens or any other volcano that released tons of carbon per second into the atmosphere.

    The reality is that the amount of radiation coming from the sun provides the greatest correlation to the heating patterns we are seeing world-wide and that is backed up with real data. Unless mankind is doing something that is causing the sun to put out more heat, it’s not caused by mankind.

    Now add in all of the lies from people like Al Gore and others, no one including himself has bothered to explain why he removed the error-bars and the 15th century warming trend from his famous hockey-stick curve. Then you find out that they turned off hundreds of cold-weather monitoring stations just to get the average temp to go up in the statistics, etc., etc. Then you start to get an idea of why the American public is skeptical of anything related to global warming being caused by us.

    Not to mention that just 20 years ago these same people were screaming about global freezing. This isn’t about science, it’s about politics. The American public isn’t stupid and understands this. Just just know better. If you are trying to use lies to support your political agenda and environmental concerns, you are no better than those that you are fighting against.


  49. Perhaps it is because that unlike most of the rest of the world’s population, those fine folks who simply hear and believe the “news” they receive, Americans for the most think to arrive at a conclusion or opinion. We live in a country that presents many sides to the same story, whether it be print media, radio, network or cable news. Americans who are not blindly biased can look at all the information presented to them and make up their own mind. “The Nature Conservancy” is very big on ‘green issues’, so that naturally turns it toward the liberal side. There is nothing wrong with that. Like I said, there are many other sources of info for the same percieved problems. Take Jon’s comments, certainly an about-face from the mojority of comments on here. But he has done his research and made his stance known. Excellent, Jon. I have looked at and studied many, many graphs depicting the acceleration of global warming, most coming to the conclusion that the only life on Earth will one day be Brazilian earthworms. Wearing sweaters. I have also looked at many (but not AS many) graphs showing just the opposite. Truth is, anyone can twist a graph chart to show anything that will enhance their agenda. As Americans, we have the opportunity to look at these issues from every angle, and make a somewhat intelligent decision. Of course, it IS easier to just listen to and swallow what a former VP says.

  50. I am a student at a high school in Vermont. For one of our assignments we have to comment on a blog, this blog caught my eye. So here is my comment: I am currently taking an environmental science class. On of the main topics were learning about now is global warming. Even though I am a student and have little education on global warming and climate change, I just do not agree on the statement ” Americans are not educated enough on the major issues of our time. Whether it be health care, conservation, energy, or climate change. If the issue isn’t immediately impacting someone, most Americans will not put forth the time or the effort to educate themselves on a subject”. I think that many people are educated, in schools now climate/global warming is one of the main topics and everyone is trying to improve their life styles. I think it’s unfair to say that most people are not educated in this. I completely agree with Mary C’s statement: “Until it affects them personally, Americans won’t try to understand it. Then it will be too late.
    Americans don’t want to change their consumerism, capitalistic lifestyle, and they refuse to listen to the facts.
    We are a very self-centered society”.

    I think our whole problem is laziness and not willing to change, although I think that we can stop global warming, we have the potential we made American and we can Save America.

  51. The important thing on global warming/ climate change is that the opposition to the theory is very vocal and has spokes people in high places. Way back when I was in high school in the late 1970’s we were discussing global warming. This was at a time when there was very little evidence of it. I live in Wisconsin and cross country ski and you can’t deny that there is something going on. That being said we have an amazing number of deniers. These are the people who point out the big snowfalls and say that there is no global warming. The big snowfalls are about moisture not temperature. Most big snows are within a few degrees of being big rains. Last winter our State known for cold weather hardly had any days below zero, spring came early (first week of March snow statewide gone) and it has been unseasonably warm since. Again people think it is nice and there is no global warming. We have seen the effects and it hasn’t changed minds. I’m afraid that by the time people think that it has affected them it will be too late, because it has already affected them.

  52. Try to digest this: Climate changes occur in cycles. The Earth’s climate went through warming and cooling cycles millions of years before Man came on the scene, or his industrial revolution. The warming cycle is happening again now….and will again sometime in the future, when Man is no longer around.

  53. Climate changes occur in cycles, and these “warming” and “cooling” cycles did start way before man came. Although, even with this, there is still evidence that the “warming process” is rapidly increasing due to human impact and pollution, which is not natural.

  54. If you follow the money trail you will find that millions per year are being been spent by coal companies, the Middle East oil sheiks, and political wonks to disinform the American public via AM hate radio, Fox News, and in the mainstream media. Never mind that our own US military is deeply concerned about global destabilization and other strategic implications of climate change.

    We would rather go dancing with the stars. Face it. A vast number of Americans are shallow and willfully uninterested in even the simple mathematics of these long term weather and ocean statitics. Sorry to be so glum on the subject, but many of the college educated people I know think that there is doubt or some kind of conspiracy involved. The crooks have done their work very well, if the latest public opinion polls are correct.

    Do a web search under the various military branches along with the term Climate Change to see what our own top brass thinks. They are worried!

  55. Leland: the comment you made
    “Vast numbers of Americans are shallow and willfully uninterested in even the simple mathematics of these long term weather” I agree with completely, although it scares me. Do you think that. not just Americans but humans in general will every change their “comfortable ways”? because if they aren’t now, when the evidence is right in front of them, what will change their minds?

  56. Question: Why don’t Americans get climate change?

    Answer: Because it is a fraud perpetrated in the interest of redistributing economic power, which was ultimately undertaken to control man’s mind.

    Sub-Answer: Mankind has witnessed the power of his own mind and the courageous among us will not denounce it to save you your tears.

  57. The earth’s climate has been in change for 4 billion years. Man is not the cause! cooling and warming are simply a temporary cycle, in the scheme of things. After all, we are only here today because of this great warm cycle that melted away the Central Park glaciers. Enjoy the warmth…someday soon when an ice age is beginning to take hold, you will cry out for global warming, but it will not come back in your lifetime.

  58. They don’t get it because they do not care. If it’s not going to interfere with what they are going to watch on TV tonight or what restaurant they are going to eat at, then it’s just not that important.

  59. After witnessing firsthand both sides of the argument its my opinion that there are 2 primary psychological reasons why many Americans reject AGW:

    1. Rooted in evolutionary psychology, humans are hardwired (literally) to be cautious of change. Back in our initial stages of evolution, change represented risk. Risk represented death. Thus, when you approach a group of people in our current-day and ask them to make radical lifestyle changes (as they see it), you will automatically be met with resistance and defiance – its unfortunately a very human trait, but thankfully, one that is being overcome as our evolution, once again, marches us down the path to being more successful mammals.

    2. Rooted in behavorial psychology, people obviously dislike feeling guilty. This is exacerbated by our current consumer-driven lifestyle where we’re constantly bombarded with messages that say “its ok to be selfish. You deserve this. Youre entitled.”. After 20-30-40 years of these messages, trying to approach someone with something like AGW, the acceptance of which equals responsibility on their part (flying in the face of those marketing messages theyve always believed in), will – obviously – not be welcomed.

    These two factors are patently obvious even in these comments. A person impacted by the above will cling to any piece of evidence – feasible or not – to remove the guilt and assuage their fears of change. In example, commentor jrothlander states “The amount of evidence that supports it being caused by mankind is virtually zero”. However, a simple google search would’ve lead them to this:

    Since 2001, 32 national science academies have come together to issue joint declarations confirming anthropogenic global warming, and urging the nations of the world to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

    In essence, this poster truly believes that these 32 global academies – from France to Belgium to Uganda to Mexico – are somehow in cahoots with eachother… and he/she never explains his reasoning why either. He/She probably doesnt even understand their own resistance – understandably so, since its related to the very depths of his/her instincts.

    Another poster – Warrick Walker – is a perfect example of second reasoning. He states “Now,I’m all for respnsible stewardship of the environment but let’s be sure to identify the culprits before taking what could be irreversible ecomomic and social action on a global scale” – Aside from being passive aggressive, his statement can clearly be interpeted as “I don’t want to take the blame and/or disrupt my current lifestyle”.

    These are issues that must be overcome.

    The ironic part of all of this is that the tools that directly led to the second issue – marketing and advertising – may be the only way to reverse the destruction and truly save us. Because without a majority in this democratic nation, changes will be a tremendous challenge.

  60. Ok first off, I am an american VERY concerned with global warming/climate change. I can’t help to wonder if this BP oil spill was a conspiracy to “better” the effects of the suns harmful rays warming our oceans today? I don’t agree with the idea but ya gotta admit it just might have a faster effect on cooling the globe than waiting for the emissions produced from petroleum fueled sources to meet several guidelines and standards. The new standards are a great idea and in turn do actually emit safe nitrogen and water vapor into the atmosphere! But let’s face it, it would take several years before we would see any REAL climate changes by this idea! Maybe this spill isn’t such a bad thing after all! Think about it!

  61. We don’t see global warming as a by-product of our actions because we are addicted and addicts are blind to responsibility..
    The word is out there now on the true costs of fossil fuel addiction. It runs the gamut from deaths from gas explosions, deaths on oil rigs, deaths in coal mines, to major environmental catastrophes such as the oil spill in the Gulf which is in the process of destroying the local environment and economy and threatens to spread further, and the Alaskan Exxon Valdez spill, the destruction of the Niger Delta for export of LNG, the costs of global warming- which affects the entire planet, to the costs of the Oil Wars in the Middle East and the related costs of destabilization of global relationships ( ie: the World Trade Center ). How much does this add up to? What is the bottom line? Is it enough to get us to look seriously at changing our life styles to one more sustainable and to our working towards free renewable energy?
    Addiction is a terrible thing, and we are addicted in the worst sense of the word. We are addicted to our outdated world view and our old materialistic habits and we resist sacrifice of the smallest sort. I first understood the power of addiction when I heard stories of children sold by parents for money to feed their heroin habits. Yet we are trashing the globe and sacrificing our children’s future to feed our fossil fuel addiction. How is that different? Where is the evidence for our claims of being an intelligent species?
    What does it take to convince enough people that we are on a very fast track to hell itself on this planet? Massive disruptions will come faster and faster and on a more and more major scale because that is the nature of explosive population growth combined with explosive exploitation of resources- combined with unethical practices. Like true addicts we are in the process of throwing it all away for the quick fix.
    We need a revolution in our world view and we need it right now. We need to wake up and see that this planet is the true home, the only possible home, of the human race. We need to see, value and understand the natural world and understand how we can work in harmony with the resources of the globe instead of exploiting them. We need a viewpoint that sees and understands the true costs of our actions. Only the mentally disturbed do not recognize the costs of their own actions. We need a revival of moral and ethical relationships within our communities, our countries and towards our environment. Nothing less than that will give our children a recognizable future world.

  62. I am a dual-citizen; German/American, who grew up and spent half my life in Germany, so I understand the difference in mindset between Americans and say, Europeans

    Why Don’t Americans Get Climate Change? It’s because WE American’s have been so spoiled by prosperity, that we have become very egotistical and selfish.

    If something doesn’t threaten our narcissistic, flamboyant, lazy and luxurious lifestyle this very moment, then who cares? We have malls, restaurants, movies and parties to go to. If something does not effect us right here, right now, then let somebody else worry about it. Let the generations that follow us worry about it. Let our children and our children’s children worry about it.

    That’s messed up! But unfortunately, that’s how a lot of Americans think in today’s “me” society, even if but at a subconscious level. Even if they don’t even realize it. Even if they won’t admit it.

  63. Not enough Americans are truly outdoor people. They are insulated from the environment enough to not notice the change. Outdoor oriented people can see and feel it.
    To many people focus their attention on other things to really pay attention to the world about them. Culturally they are out of tune. The change is observable and it amazes me when people cannot see or understand it.

  64. Oh, where to begin…
    Education: American education used to be the best but in the 40 years since I graduated from high school I’ve watched the “progressive” political correctness movement and rampant unionism of teachers destroy our basic education system to where many of the above don’t even know the difference between there/their/they’re, to/too, suit/suite (although that may have been a typo and the writer is from the Netherlands) and that “extinct” is NOT A VERB. The product of our education establishment is not a free thinking people but people who’s heads are filled with mush.
    Who to believe: Al Gore? $140 million+ richer since he became a global warming “terrorist” and fat, flatulent hypocrite (big private jets, giant houses, huge gut). Scientists? Which ones do you believe? The one’s who admitted they lied to us to further this agenda? Or the one’s paid by whomever to advocate the position of those who paid them? You all can go on from here on your own.
    Catastrophe? Disaster? Can’t let a good one go to waste I think was the way Rahm Emanuel put it. So let’s call everything a disaster to pass our agenda, whoever we are.
    Isn’t that enough to make you a skeptic right there?
    Skeptic: Isn’t CO2 good for plants? Why hate America because we don’t want to live in caves, or shacks, or hovels? Since I participated in the first Earth Day 10,000 years ago, America’s done a pretty good job of cleaning up it’s act. Rivers don’t spontaneously catch on fire in Cleveland anymore. Don’t hear much about acid rain, Love Canal’s, or Los Angeles smog days. Cars hardly put out any pollution. The Nature Conservancy and other groups have performed miraculous projects that have greatly improved countless areas of the world. Awareness is greater than I’ve ever seen. However, we are beset by people and groups that do want us to go back to times when we had a worse “footprint” on the earth. I don’t want to have to live “au natural” so to speak. I also don’t want to re-distribute “wealth” to those unwilling to clean up their own act, just because we are wealthy, which is what most of the “plans” and “laws” are all about, not the environment. And whether man is THE cause of warming/change or a very tiny additive (which hasn’t been shown honestly or conclusively to me or anyone yet) all we can SENSIBLY do is urge the current trend forward without the Chicken Little hyperbole, gnashing of teeth, and wringing of hands, especially in third world countries were controls are non-existent.
    Finally: Evolution has never been proved in any way. Nor has biblical creationism. Nor has man-made global warming/climate change. Who cares? The point is to clean up after ourselves, try not to pollute more only less in all our human endeavors, fix what we can, and stop creating excess hot air with all the yelling, already! And let’s not destroy our economies by forcing the world to adopt inefficient “technologies” that cause more pollution to make than they save or prevent (certain fashionable autos, for example) or “hip” “green” things that don’t work half as well as what we have. Stop forcing people to do what they don’t want; it only breeds trouble. Lead them to it by showing how good it is. Blah, blah, blah….

  65. Comment from Cragg Utman

    Oh, where to begin…
    Education: American education used to be the best but in the 40 years since I graduated from high school I’ve watched the “progressive” political correctness movement and rampant unionism of teachers destroy our basic education system to where many of the above don’t even know the difference between there/their/they’re, to/too, suit/suite (although that may have been a typo and the writer is from the Netherlands) and that “extinct” is NOT A VERB. The product of our education establishment is not a free thinking people but people who’s heads are filled with mush.

    K-12 education in America suffers a good deal more than what you allege, I’m afraid. For one thing, teachers are paid crap wages so we should not be surprised when their product is dumber than a box of bolts; funding cuts, as occurred in very radical ways in California after passage of Prop 13 back in the 70’s, reducing that State’s once proud K-12 system ranked 1st in the nation to a shadow of ts former self within 25 years, ranked near the bottom.

    Add to this the cacaphony from the commercial sector that touts digital gadgetry over intellectual substance and dreams of debt ridden consumerism as a real way of life, and you have a disaster in educational achievement on your hands, it’s everywhere you care to look.

    Who to believe: Al Gore? $140 million+ richer since he became a global warming “terrorist” and fat, flatulent hypocrite (big private jets, giant houses, huge gut).

    This is disinegenuous and largely untrue; rumor mongering.

    Scientists? Which ones do you believe? The one’s who admitted they lied to us to further this agenda? Or the one’s paid by whomever to advocate the position of those who paid them? You all can go on from here on your own.

    Actually, if you cared to look, there is a scientific concensus on the questions of global warming and climate change, elegantly represented in the IPCC’s AR4 report, all 3,000 pages of it. It’s a free download off the web too, so there are no excuses for not having studied it, which you plainly have not.

    Moreover, there are no fewer than 50 national science organizations and some 150 profssional scientific associations on the planet who have endorsed the theory of anthropogenic global warming, or AGW.

    If we can’t belive these folks, who can we believe, pray tell?

    Catastrophe? Disaster? Can’t let a good one go to waste I think was the way Rahm Emanuel put it. So let’s call everything a disaster to pass our agenda, whoever we are.
    Isn’t that enough to make you a skeptic right there?

    No, it isn’t, not when the science case for GW and climate change is overwhelming and the physical evidence of it is piling up every day for all to see. Disaster or not, the current D Congress didn’t even take up a Climate Bill this session, in case you hadn’t noticed.

    And just today, Bjørn Lomborg, one of climate science’s most pronounced and noted denialists announced he’s done a 180 on the question and now considers GW and climate change the most pressing issue facing mankind. Lomborg, the self-styled “sceptical environmentalist” is famous for attacking climate scientists, campaigners, the media and others for exaggerating the rate of global warming and its effects on humans, and the costly waste of policies to stop the problem. Now, he’s seen the light.

    Skeptic: Isn’t CO2 good for plants?

    Well, yes, it is, but too much of it in our atmosphere isn’t good for our climate, and we are adding to how much is up there by the gigaton with each passing hour, so much so that its concentration now stands 40 per cent higher than the preindustrial norm (390ppm versus 280ppm). C02 is a greenhouse gas, it traps heat in the atmosphere, causing the earth’s temp to rise, whichj it is in fact doing, undeniably so.

    Why hate America because we don’t want to live in caves, or shacks, or hovels?

    Nobody has to live in caves or shacks or hovels in order to colve the global warming problem, that’s a bad rumor, please dismiss it ASAP and start learning what the realities are.

    Since I participated in the first Earth Day 10,000 years ago, America’s done a pretty good job of cleaning up it’s act. Rivers don’t spontaneously catch on fire in Cleveland anymore. Don’t hear much about acid rain, Love Canal’s, or Los Angeles smog days. Cars hardly put out any pollution. The Nature Conservancy and other groups have performed miraculous projects that have greatly improved countless areas of the world. Awareness is greater than I’ve ever seen. However, we are beset by people and groups that do want us to go back to times when we had a worse “footprint” on the earth. I don’t want to have to live “au natural” so to speak. I also don’t want to re-distribute “wealth” to those unwilling to clean up their own act, just because we are wealthy, which is what most of the “plans” and “laws” are all about, not the environment.

    The improvements you cite are all well and good and were necessary, but they do nothing about solving the problem of global warming. That’s a special problem in and of itself and to date we’ve done little to nothing to deal with it. And the time we have left in which to act is growing short, else we will have polluted the atmosphere with so much C02 that intolerbale warming will have been built-in to the climate system, and there won’t be a damned thing anybody can do about it then.

    Solving the problem does not rewquire redistribution of any wealth, that’s a strawman.

    And whether man is THE cause of warming/change or a very tiny additive (which hasn’t been shown honestly or conclusively to me or anyone yet) all we can SENSIBLY do is urge the current trend forward without the Chicken Little hyperbole, gnashing of teeth, and wringing of hands, especially in third world countries were controls are non-existent.

    All you do here is show how ignorant you are on this matter; none of what you say is true, not a word of it. Quite the contrary, the earth is warming and we know why and we know at what rate it’s occurring.

    Finally: Evolution has never been proved in any way. Nor has biblical creationism. Nor has man-made global warming/climate change. Who cares? The point is to clean up after ourselves, try not to pollute more only less in all our human endeavors, fix what we can, and stop creating excess hot air with all the yelling, already! And let’s not destroy our economies by forcing the world to adopt inefficient “technologies” that cause more pollution to make than they save or prevent (certain fashionable autos, for example) or “hip” “green” things that don’t work half as well as what we have. Stop forcing people to do what they don’t want; it only breeds trouble. Lead them to it by showing how good it is. Blah, blah, blah….

    Well, you’re certainly not helping to “lead them to it,” now, are you?

    Tell ya what, drive through Banning Pass in California or along the Columbia Gorge in Oregon and what do you see? Thousands upon thousands of wind generators, cranking out the energy we need to run things. And then come back and tell us about all those things that “don’t work.”

    Meanwhile, do some study, get yourself up to speed on the issue, because right now you are choking on the dust the rest of us are kicking up in our fast moving tracks on this thing, way behind the curve. It isn’t 2003 anymore, and you come off like you think it is. Those days are gone, and you will continue to suffer their angsts if you don’t get to work and bring yourself up to current knowledge and standards. So c’mon now, time’s a-wastin’!

    If Bjorn Lomborg can do it, so can you.

  66. The earth will warm and cool regardless of the activities of man. History shows us this is true.
    The real hoax is that by sending more money to unelected bureaucrats,greedy poliicians and scamming corporations (G.E.) that we can “pretend” to alter the climate.

  67. Since alot of people who posted here, such as jrothlander, don’t really know how many different ways there are to cause havoc with our environments, let me give you a basic example:

    There are approximately 3000 tigers (of all kinds) left in the wild, and without swift intervention, they will become extict in a few years time. If tigers become extinct, the population of the mostly herbivorous prey items they feed upon (deer, buffalo, wild boars, etc..) will increase exponentially, in turn, the plants and shrubs that most of these animals feed upon will eventually become extict as well since they will be over-consumed (also, the habitats of many other smaller animals will be destroyed)

    In turn, when the rains and winds come, soil erosion will become common, since there will be little holding the soil in place, in turn, many of the organisms which maintain the soil will lose their habitats and thus die, resulting in the eventual deterioration of the soil, in turn, this will destroy the larger plants and trees that remained, and no more trees = no more birds, causing the insect population to explode, after many years of this continuous cycle of environmental degradation, the overall result will be a total ecosystem collapse, and, in the end, this will cause the collapse of any human settlements in that area

    Now, while I admit that the above example may not be 100% accurate, I do believe that it effectively highlights the way in which one change can lead to another if a certain animal, especially a final consumer, such as the tiger, goes extinct, the end change of which will always be inhospitable terrain for humans

    And if people don’t start waking up and protecting their environments, the next thing on the list of the environmental holocaust will be the extiction of the Jaguar, and the eventual collapse of the Pantanile

  68. I am quitting my job and moving overseas, as I am totally disgusted with the US and how backwards it is…I have two Masters in Envir. Science and Planning and can’t find a job in my field in conservative region in an overall ‘blue’ state due to politics, and due to backwards retired persons running all local boards here (not representative of other places, hopefully) who basically put their fingers in their ears and go ‘la la la, I can’t hear you”….if you try to ‘change’ anything…while critizing Obama for ‘change’ at the same time…

    you can see brains turn off almost literally in between some racial epithet or slurs (all white board members, med. age of 65, in this entire county).

    apathy of young is appalling, as well..there was more outcry in CA over tuition hike than over climate crisis which is accelerating…

    if you use science, nobody cares…if you say you have such and such degree, right winger says ‘prove it’ or ‘so what?”.

    american idiots with guns and no sense. ‘the world is flat and sun revolves around us. evolution is a myth’ should be tea party slogan.

  69. When will you “obama zombies” wake up to the realization that global warming is just a hoax? If I told you the sky was falling and that scientists proves it to be true, you guys would be huddled in a corner praying to obama to save you and your little twigs of grass. Get out and explore nature with a rifle. Shoot an animal and eat it. It is healthy and promotes P.E.T.A. people eating tasty animals…

  70. America has 2 political parties and can’t see beyond that. If someone says we have AGW then the Republicans accuse them of liberalism. If someone says there is no such thing as AGW then the Dems accuse them of being ultra-conservative. Every action and nuance is relegated to party politics.

  71. I find it disheartening as I read this thread and see comment after comment disparaging Americans, calling them ignorant made by people that are themselves obviously ill informed.

    We the people had bloody well hope we can warm up the climate and figure out how to do it a LOT more efficiently than we already might be doing it, or our kind will perish from this planet right along with most the other life as we know it.

    Anyone of you ever heard that the Earth’s most natural state is commonly refered too as Glacial? That’s where it’s mostly covered in ice. Yep, that’s the norm. Of course our species evolved during what has been one of the LONGEST Inter-glacial (look it up) periods experienced by our planet, and it will continue until the glaciers on both poles have completely melted.

    Yes, that’s happened before many times and WITHOUT the help of ‘us’ big headed, ego inflated humans . . . and it’s happening again.

    Sooooo perhaps we should quite trying to take credit of a naturally occuring phenomena and work instead on how to install Wi-Fi in igloos.

  72. Americans are simply more sophisticated on this subject. This topic suggests that Americans don’t get climate change because they don’t give the wrong answer to an oversimplified question on a complicated subject. The topic itself is designed to promote ignorance on the subject. The world is being lied to on this subject by false prophets looking to profit. Let me break this down for you. We know that CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere. There are models that suggest that this will cause some degree of warming. There is a reason for concern and for funding efforts to fund research into technologies that will mitigate CO2 emissions whether the models are correct or not.
    Now for the lies; some are promoting the idea there are data that support a warming climate associated with the rise in CO2. This is false as no such data exist; some are suggesting that promoting technologies that are not mature will somehow mitigate CO2. This is false as things like cap on trade, solar, wind, etc. will increase CO2 because they will ripple through economies creating inefficiencies that will need to be made up for elsewhere. The result will be increasing poverty, increased destruction of natural places, and yes an increase in the rate that CO2 enters the atmosphere. The people promoting these dangerous ideas have put themselves in a position to profit and care nothing about conservation or have a flawed incomplete comprehension of man’s relationship with the environment. They will profit on the backs of the poor and at the expense of conservation.

    I will be glad to explain further if intelligent carefully worded questions should follow. What I expect is silly, pretentious, proclamations of knowledge from people who are not educated in the sciences or have given any thought to what has been said. Ask yourselves if you would be so sure if your political allies were not expecting to profit from cap on trade, or from poverty in general.

  73. I’d like to refer anyone who doesn’t “get” global warming to skepticalscience. This handy website provides rebuttals to common arguments against climate change.

    Now back to the original issue, why do so few of us “get” climate change? It’s an important question, because without broad public support any federal legislation will have a tough time getting through Congress, or will face serious repeal attempts of the kind we’re soon to see with health care. Or if you prefer a more libertarian approach, we’ll never solve anything through individual efforts (more on that later) if most of us don’t even acknowledge the problem.

    I have four points: my own observations as an American. First, we tend to minimize the importance of long-term consequences. Climate change may have fallen into this trap, since its chief result in the popular understanding is rising sea levels, developing slowly over many decades.

    Second, we tend to be more motivated by threats to ourselves, somewhat less by threats to people we know, much less by threats to people we may never meet, and even less by threats to, say, polar bears. Yet most climate-oriented marketing campaigns (from NRDC to Nissan’s Leaf) seem to focus on polar bears.

    Third, most of us are, rationally enough, reluctant to take personal responsibility for the aggregate effect of everyone’s actions. Moreover, our choices as individuals are rather limited by the systems in which we live. Really significant change comes from changing the system. I think we know that, and yet we hear mainly about “steps YOU can take …”

    Fourth, when we weigh the effects of climate change against the supposed burden of emissions reduction measures, we tend to exaggerate the latter and discount the former.

    Americans will, I think, take climate change more seriously if we focus on how it affects us and our own communities in a time-frame we can appreciate. And Americans will, I think, come to embrace emissions reductions sometime after 2012. That’s the year California implements its own climate policy. We’ll have a real-world example demonstrating the many benefits of limiting CO2, and soundly refuting the economic nightmare scenario painted by fossil-fuel-funded skeptics.

    Maybe that’s the ultimate answer: we’re waiting for someone among us to show us the way.

  74. @Mark Moeller

    nice post, you do indeed talk a great deal of sense, and I agree that people should do research on climate change/other environmental topics before they start shooting their mouths off on these forums, myself included

    Just one thing that confuses me though. In your above post you state that “We know that CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere. There are models that suggest that this will cause some degree of warming.” While at the same time you state that “some are promoting the idea there are data that support a warming climate associated with the rise in CO2. This is false”

    Forgive me if I turn out to be missing the point, I’m just not understanding this though. Can you explain?(No sarcasm)

    PS: I love the point you gave that efforts in creating green alternatives turn out to create more CO2. So true. I wonder if anyone here knows that the mining process which is needed to create nickel which forms part of the casing of a hydrogen fuel cell engine creates more CO2 than an SUV? :S

  75. Because most Americans are just too busy driving a quarter-mile (not walking) to the post office; or motoring a half-mile or more to the nearest strip mall; or driving their children seven or more miles (one way) to the nearest centralized school (which, architecturally, probably resembles a prison). Of course, all this motoring around burns up a lot of crude oil and its refined product, gasoline. A great part of the problem stems from our very lifestyle — living in great, sprawling subdivisions in which the only way to get around (much less get food) is by driving solo in the family car.

  76. Americans don’t get climate change because they just don’t care!

  77. I was frustrated by this TODAY in my Environmental Philosophy class at University of North Texas. The majority of the class agreed it was happening, but insisted its a natural process so there is not much to do about it. And some did not believe it was even happening. UHHHH frustrating. I think it will unfortunately take another catastrophic disaster to hit home before people wake up.

  78. The real hoaxters are the ones that have totally confused everybody with there political rhetoric and greed.

    If you say this is just the natural process that has caused global warming then explain.

    1. How is it that CO2 levels in the atmosphere just accidentally started increasing since the 1800’s ( industrial revolution )?

    2. How is it that global average temperatures correlate with the CO2 increase?

    3. Since you say the world continually goes in cycles, where is the cycle here? We have been continally going up in global ave temperatures since the 1800’s. They say we’ve been due to go into another ice age, but no, we’re warmer than we ever were!

    4. The human population is threatening 7 billion. Do you really believe that with all the energy and resource use by those 6+ billion that humans could not be overburdening the Earths natural CO2 sinks???

    5. The Earth may have been warmer before but the process took millions of years, and here we are and we’ve done it in 200!

    6. The claim that somehow humans do not have such power over the Earth is a completely phony notion. The Earths process formed naturally over billions of years and developed like a finely tuned machine. If you poor mud into your Farrari instead of oil, how do you think it will run. Similary if you poor gunk into Earths natural process why do you think their will be no effect?

    The proof is around everywhere from the glaciers melting, extreme temperatures ( both cold and hot ), extreme flooding, extreme droughts, animal migrations, oceans going more acidic, etc, etc, etc.

  79. I recommend this site to everybody who is interested in and/or wants to learn more about global climate change.
    There are several tabs on the left with links to images, movies and all sorts of great information.

  80. Climate change scientists are not of one voice and there is plenty of data to rebut the ‘data’ of the ‘true believers’ who think anthropomorphic global warming exists.

    The Conservancy would do itself a service to focus on what it does best: Conserve natural places, and avoid being sucked into the alarmist branch of the green movement.

  81. @Wes Nason:
    …there is plenty of data to rebut the ‘data’ of the ‘true believers’ who think anthropomorphic global warming exists.

    It should therefore be easy for you to provide some, instead of making a bald assertion with zero content.

  82. This is such a complex issue and I think there are many reasons why Americans as a whole are skeptical of the global warming issue. First, it is very political. I think that this issue has been compartmentalized into two categories: true or not true. Beyond that, it is not the professionals who are out there talking about it, it is politicians, media, and pop culture. Scientists are failing and in my opinion, are on trial. It appears that with this issue scientists are being questioned more than the science. It is time for scientists to come out of their ivory towers and sell/explain/teach their science. It is not so much that Americans don’t understand the science, it is that they don’t even know the science. What they hear is how we need to raise taxes, we need more regulations and it is going to hurt the economy. All of those things rub Americans raw. Also, the title “global warming” has been disasterous. People hear that the earth is warming and the experience the worst winters they ever have. Their experience tells them something different than what they are hearing. Environmentalists are failing. We have turned a serious but changable situation into a hysterical, end of the world religious tyrade. People don’t like it from environmentalists anymore than they do from religious zealots. I was recently on Yale’s website and they have a new degree called “Global warming communication.” Someone is thinkin.

  83. The problem is very simple actually. Americans would prefer to believe that it doesn’t exist in order to avoid changing the way they live their lives. It is fact people. There is no legitimate method in which to validly argue against man made global warming. I can guarantee that none of you on this blog that are disputing the evidence are scientists, have read any actual peer reviewed literature denouncing AGW, gotten your information from credible scientific sources, or been intelligent enough to process that information if you COULD get your hands on it. None of you. Not one.

    Science, by its very nature is objective and unbiased. All this “junk science” talk is ludicrous. Scientists are more critical of each other’s work than any outside source, and yet have managed to reach a consensus, or at least as much of one as exists for any topic. ALL research if funded or it wouldn’t be done. Blaming funding sources or availability is done by those who have no idea what they are talking about.

    So the dumbing down of America through laziness, religion, reality TV, and country music has led us to the point where people feel justified in “not believing” in facts that don’t fit their opinions or perceieved quality of life. These same people aren’t bright enough to distinguish between climate and weather. Hence “climate change” is the dumb-downed version of “global warming”. It’s a way to try and guard against the fact that if it gets cold, the uneducated will stop believing in facts again.

    So in summary, global warming is a fact. Human caused global warming due to the release of various greenhouse gases is FACT. Whether you want to do anything about it is up to you. It’s no longer a discussion for scientists.

  84. cires.colorado.edu/blogs/mccaffrey/2010/12/03/social-denial-climate-change/

    This article, posted just recently, hits this exact topic and is very insightful. Some highlights:

    Sociologist Kari Norgaard “found social denial as a way for people to protect themselves by resisting disturbing information, helping them cope with the inherent guilt and fear of the future that is often part and parcel of living an affluent lifestyle while others less fortunate suffer.

    “… it is natural for human beings to want to feel like we’re doing the right thing, that we’re good people. And we create individual and national myths to buttress that urge to approve of ourselves and our conduct.

    “… because we are immersed in a society totally dependent on fossil fuels and human activities that impact climate … we focus on other areas of our lives that we feel we have some control.”

    Norgaard’s new book should be available soon.

  85. As Americans, we cannot feign ignorance about what is happening to our beautiful planet. Information is everywhere! Both in schools and in the media. The sad truth, as has been pointed in other comments, is our greater attachment to convenience than to what boils down to survival. That seems illogical, but materialism as seen here is illogical. Greed blinds, filtering out everything but what I perceive as good for me. Self-delusion becomes normal. We have the distinction of being the only species that actually is self-destructing, knows it is self-destructing, but continues to do so. That is the most unintelligent thing that one can do. It borders on a “death wish”. But, the addiction to the “quick fix” of things we buy, giving only a temporary reprieve from our psychological discontents, is so pervasive and profound that it is akin to a heroin addicts need for drugs. Materialism is our drug and we are “fixing” ourselves to death. This is a spiritual problem that Carl Jung spoke of many years ago. Will we wake up, not only here but worldwide, because it is just a matter of degree from country to country. The problem is pervasive and in evidence on every continent. It is just that we have perfected it to a greater degree here. Even John Muir saw it in his time. Can we wake up in time? Of course! Will we? That is far from certain, and in my deepest heart I perceive that we are still very much asleep. And, as a lover of the earth and the animals and the plants, it brings me great sadness.

  86. @Jeremy,
    I don’t think there is any reason to pick on people. I understand where you are coming from, but that is not the way to address any issue when it comes to differing views. Don’t forget that PR firms are also involved in this issue. Two recommendations here: “Doubt is their product: How industries assault on science threatens your health,” and a blog that uses peer reviewed material to address global warming skeptics: skepticalscience.com/.
    I agree with you that it would take a lot for most Americans (even you and I if we really looked at it) to make dramatic changes in their lifestyles…but most people have to have “why” answered and telling them they are stupid doesn’t seem like the most effective way.

  87. @Mary and Justin,
    I don’t think people can make the link from the environment to themselves. I think that if you asked most people if they cared about the environment they would say yes. Most people want clean drinking water, crops, clean air, etc. The bridge to cross is why and how they are a part of it. I was recently in a conversation where the other person was mad at the environmentalists taking care of the Chesapeake Bay watershed because of all of the regulations but then went to the mountains to camp. She didn’t realize that the ability to camp somewhere pristine and taking care of the water is done by the same people. The problem is that environmentalists don’t want to cross disciplines and learn from philosophers how to engage people and win them over. It takes relationship…not tag lines, exacerbation, or insults.

  88. There are so many undisputable simple facts but they are not being put out in front of people and being masked by the greedy who want to confuse the issue.

    2010 was just confirmed by the NASA Goddard Institute to be the warmest year on record. That makes the last 15 years as 15 of the hottest years in the last 200 years. Is that just a coincidence, I don’t think so! They also said Hudson Bay in the Arctic was 10 degrees C higher than normal in November. Come on now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that if we lose the Arctic glaciers, the worlds refrigerator, we’re in for major problem!

    I think the Conservancy and other organizations need to start flashing the hard undisputable facts into peoples faces, as the deniers have no facts. We need the population in general to understand there’s a problem so that they can force or shame the politicians to deal with the most important issue at hand in our lifetimes!

  89. I’m a bit discouraged after learning that after sacrificing our forests for wind power it looks like just another get rich or richer quick scam. Government subsidies going to investors and transmission lines being paid for by locals. Cheap power going to another state.

    As a world we are in this together but if I have to subsidize progress in my back yard I think I should get some benefit other than a warm feeling…if it’s making someone else rich.

    Many Americans are just tired of being taken advantage of and are skeptical of bad science or any science for that matter that they think is just being used as a way of someone else getting rich.

  90. Honestly, I don’t think that facts sell…or motivate people to change. The benefits have to outweigh the costs…do people know what the benefits are? If wind power costs more than coal generated power then it is a no brainer for most people. If you had to convince someone of global warming what would you say? Would you hand them the IPCC report? What would get you to listen to something that you didn’t believe in, lets say a religious belief? The other thing to consider is, why is warmer a bad thing? Many people do not think that warmer temps is a bad thing. Can you engage someone on this issue and go the distance?

  91. Its hardly at all about just being warmer.

    First you need to give them simple common sense reasons why it is the human pollution that is the cause. We are seeing an increased chaos and randomness to our climate because the heaviest pollution is coming out of the big cities. That disrupts local wind patterns and is throwing our normal global wind patterns completely out of whack.

    If for instance can’t be just the Sun thats the problem, first of all because the Sun always heats the air near the equator so even if we were getting hit by more heat the weather patterns would generally stay the same. But another reason it can’t be the Sun is that the Sun generally goes from its high to low energy output every 7 years and so that doesn’t at all explain why we’re seeing the highest temperatures we’ve ever seen in thw last 15 vs. the last 200+ years.

    Oh this is going to effect people with a lot more than warmer temperatures! We’re already seeing extreme droughts and floods. Wildfires all over the place. More acidic oceans. Extreme cold and extreme heat. Crop failures, food and water shortages etc etc.

    Even if you think lightning won’t possibly ever hit you, you don’t go swimming when there’s a storm outside. Even if you don’t believe you’re going to die you take out life insurance for your family. Yet people are going to stake the only home that they will ever know on whether they believe climate change is happening? That is stupid and completely irresponsible! Every responsible organization takes out some sort of Risk Management strategy even if they think the worst won’t happen.

    Yes even if we put our all into it, it might take decades to see the effects. But if we wait to see who was right we have no chance of slowing the effects until after the brunt of the damage is done.

    What exactly is wrong with putting in a Risk Management strategy for the world that has given you everything that you have ever known?

  92. I’ve read nearly every one of the preceding and I agree. It’s the fault of media, Congress, and ourselves, but mainly the top five percent of those that have the money! Poor-decision making. It is what benefits them as is shown with the recent tax cuts and not what benefits society or the world as a whole. If it doesn’t affect them personally and immediately, then it is not a priority, and our future and current generation doesn’t have a chance. I give them 15 years until it affects them personally and immediately and then it will be too late. I have my facebook wall filled with causes and websites to back it up, but if it is just you and me, then it makes no difference. By then the polar bear could actually be extinct, the waters can rise so high, that it covers an 1/8 of the world’s population by then, including the people that manufacture their products, and more and more pipelines will rupture from the water pressure of water that was never there before, taking money from their pockets to fix what should never have been there in the first place. It’s sad. I tend to be optimistic. But, they have their heads up their asses save a few of the richest Americans like Warren Buffett who puts his money into causes and research and keeps coming up the richest man in America. He is a decent man, and it’s too bad more rich people weren’t born with the conscience that he has.

  93. While right wing ideology is entrenched with an infantile dismissal of climate change, et al, the basic premise of the debate can be simply (apolitically) stated.
    Why – for any reason – should the human race abandon a constant effort to minimize air and water pollution? Why? Do we not aspire to become smarter than our ancestors?
    I often use a conversational example as follows: How would you explain to a visitor from another planet that the primary method of propulsion for 99% of all vehicles on earth creates noxious and extremely toxic gases that immediately and cumulatively poison the same air that all forms of life require for survival? How would you further explain that industrial waste and farming chemicals foul the world’s water supply every day, also an element necessary for the survival of known life forms?
    Really, the argument is silly if not for its catastrophic potential. To rally “for” continuing to pollute our air & water is to rally for stupidity.

  94. I’m amazed at all the postings on The Nature Conservancy’s blog of denial of global warming/ Climate change. I have done a lot of reading on both sides of the fence for and against. All I know is what has affected me personally. I keep seeing posts from people saying that “until it affects us personally people won’t change their habits or won’t believe it’s happening.” I don’t understand what people haven’t experienced the effects of climate change? I personally have been affected by it numerous times. I lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina happened. Everyone there knew that a hurricane of that magnitude was just a matter of time due to the erosion of the barrier reefs due to offshore oil drilling. Now the entire Gulf Coast is dealing with an oil spill. I moved to Atlanta GA after Katrina and we here are dealing with the worst droughts in this regions history. We have no water source except for one tiny little river, the Chattahoochee. And now water wars are raging between Georgia, Florida and Alabama on damming the water in reservoirs ic, Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. When I go for hikes anywhere I’ve ever lived or just walks down the street or in my local park, you can’t go anywhere without seeing trash and litter. I have to pick up litter in my front yard every day to due to careless citizens throwing their fast food trash out of their cars. Really. I’m sick of this. I’m sick of the finger pointing, I’m sick of the denial. Come on people, lets stop the arguing and just do what needs to be done. Most of us are at least TRYING.

  95. Climate Change is due to the Human War On Nature.

    Halt the War On Nature Now! Halt WON now!

  96. I think I should explain and expand on what I was saying.

    Nature has its natural CO2 Sinks such as the oceans, rainforests, marshes etc, and it has developed this process over billions of years to deal with atmospheric CO2.

    In the past, before humans, the natural temperature changes happened over 10s thousands of years, if not longer and nature had time to adapt to these changes.

    The problem when we came in is that we raised the global average temperatures nearly 1 degree C in 200 years. We raised the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere from 280 PPM to 391 PPM in 200 years. That rate of increase is way beyond what nature is capable of, except for say some catastrophic event like asteroid or meteor hits.

    So basically we saturated nature with so much CO2 that it couldn’t hardly process it all so it lingers in the air and causes havoc to our jet stream and eventually ocean conveyor belt.

    So ultimately we are to blame for it whether we intended to do it or not. We are starting to get serious about it. Renewable energy production in the US is nearly almost equal to that of nuclear. That makes 20% of our energy is clean. We have become more efficient to nearly 5% more effecient according to the Energy Infomation Administration. The thing is we can’t stop now, we’re just getting started.

    It would be great if we clean up or help out our natural CO2 sinks so they can absorb more. I’ve read that some trees in the rain forests get wider cause they’re trying to take in more and more CO2. But don’t really know if we’re getting anywhere on the nature front?

  97. @Gern Blansten

    Sorry to blunt your enthusiasm, but all scientists were cleared of any wrong doing in 5 independent investigations 6 months ago. Climategate was just another one in the infinite number of failed attempts by the opposition!

  98. The blame for so many Americans not believing in climate change goes something like this.

    It’s not unlawful for media to write or talk about a subject and give false information. Information that has not been thoroughly checked by authorities in the field (for climate science – i.e. scientists) As an example, just look at Fox news and their reporting on climate change.

    Media are treating the subject as political where they believe they need to give equal space to both sides of the story. However putting peer reviewed scientists from credible organizations against the common man with little scientific background or pseudo-scientific background funded by right wing organizations that depend on fossil fuels is just wrong, and they should know it.

    Scientists are not blame-free. James Hansen and Canadian Andrew Weaver are of the few scientists who speak openly about global warming, most scientists prefer to just do their work and let others explain global warming to the public. Scientists must get more involved and thankfully there are signs they are starting to.

    Scientists have shown that we must reduce our carbon emissions by 50% just to maintain and not increase the CO2 level in our atmosphere. That reduction is dependent on our land and ocean sinks remaining the same and the Amazon, now in 2010 suffering from the second 1:100 year drought in 5 years is changing. We are not close.

  99. I think everyone in the west is so over-marketed from all media sides, they won’t believe anything new until their own backyard has changed, like under water, burned up, too toxic to live on, or just plain unaffordable. Pain then awareness of the cause. …and there’s the ‘first one on the block’ to dare stand up & change syndrome

  100. So many reasons! For one, most people are apathetic to things that don’t directly affect them. Especially if it’s something that will require them to make a sacrifice, or a change. People don’t want anything to disturb their “comfort level.” Second, I think people, having been lied to, cheated, and duped by their governments and leaders throughout history, are somewhat inherently distrustful and suspicious of new ideas. Especially when combined with the first reason. People are extremely obstinate in their thinking. Reasoning, and even clear and irrefutable evidence often isn’t enough to convince them of something.

  101. Because to admit we are in part to blame – without guessing at exact percentages of how much we are to blame — would mean each of us would have to look at the natural world around us and probably feel devastated. Humans cannot handle emotions like that. Just the way that if we all watched what it takes to get meat to our tables we probably would feel differently about the animals .

  102. Merchants of Doubt, a book published in 2010 by Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway, explains very clearly much of what’s happened re the climate: a massive decades-long public relations campaign paid for by big business and fronted by the same former physicists who used to testify in Congress that there was some DOUBT as to whether smoking killed, or DDT was bad, or mercury fillings were bad… you know, everything’s a controversy. Between that and new ownership of several key news organizations, the bad news on climate and other such issues has been largely shut down in this country.

    That said, I think it’s just human not to see the problem, because looking forward even 40 years, the picture is so nightmarish that most sane people will think it just cannot be so, it simply cannot. We’ve got these Stone Age brains that seem wired to produce a certain cheerful optimism, which must have been the way to go in the Stone Age: If a danger was huge, there wasn’t much you could do, so why waste your strength on anguish? The best way to survive would be to get on with killing that cave bear… Too bad that inbuilt aversion to worry will not help us now. It’s healthy, but not helpful.

    I’ve known about climate warming since the early ’70s, and followed it closely, and written about it, and seen it for sure in my own little garden (a need to plant early, the wrong pests, the wrong weeds, roses in December)… and even so I have moments of disbelief. I came home the other night to find my grandchildren making brownies and giggling and looking SO CUTE, I just melted. It was an archetypal moment, the kind of delightful nonevent that you hope and expect happens everywhere, for everyone, generation after generation. But it won’t in the future, I can see that. Such a moment depends on a relative peace and plenty that cannot hold—for anyone, however rich—once shipping stops and seas rise and heatwave gets normal and refugees start swarming. I KNOW that. Yet in that moment, as I stood in the doorway enjoying my granddaughter’s pink and purple tutu and my grandson’s tufty cowlick, I just couldn’t believe it. That this won’t continue!… It just did not seem possible. So I think that’s why even sophisticated people often don’t get it—healthy minds don’t dwell on disaster.

    The good thing is, we don’t have to believe in disaster in order to act. We just have to say, as someone already suggested above, that it’s stupid to gamble with the future, so let’s take out some insurance. “Let’s cut emissions just to make sure the worst doesn’t happen.” Or, “Humanity will have to clean up the aquifers and streambeds sometime, why not now?” Or, “Let’s solarize and weatherize all housing [jobs!], which will cut our energy costs so much we won’t NEED to triple the electric grid.” And so on. “Let’s wear sweaters and not crank up the heat.” There’s an infinite array of small changes that will add up, once we get going. In that way, individual and local action can do much of what needs doing, including convince our governments to act.

    I am part of an embryo organization that seeks to mobilize the grandparents of the world (and anyone else who wants) to just act now, just in case. Is anyone out there interested? We’re forming the hard core and doing the legal work right now. The website (CallingAllGrandparents.org) is very scattered and it’s all me so far, but that will change, too. I’d appreciate any constructive feedback that anyone offers.

  103. With all the Earthquakes, Tsumnis happening, could this be a portion of what is to come in 2012? Could this be Nature’s way to say, hey Wake up Humans- Stop hurting Nature- Stop Polluting and Contaminating Mother Earth?
    Nature is Important to the planet to be in better condition. She must heal from our Destruction and Choas.

    We must learn to live in harmony with her, not against her.

  104. Americans are independent thinkers and do not buy into everything espoused by scientist, pseudo-scientist and politicians. The evidence clearly does not support the theory of global warming. Weather records and history show a cyclical weather pattern. The real evidence shows the world to be at the apex of a warming trend. The last couple of years have globally been cooler that the doomsayers have been able to grasp. Their strategy? Change the terminology from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change”! Climate change is a good thing. Nature appreciates the climate change. I am no pseudo-scientist not politician but I am a logical thinker who understands “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” to be a way for some to gain recognician and/or make money! Look, “the sky is falling!”

  105. I read some of the above posts and agree with quite a few, but the word that kept popping into my head (as though I was expecting it to be in the next sentence) was “comfort zone”. Each of us has one (some require more comfort than others), and I’m guessing we could apply the word to a collectivity, to a country, an area where the notion of “standard of living” involves a certain level of comfort.

    The establishment of the ‘collective American comfort zone’ probably involves the American Dream, the optimism that came from the ‘years of progress’, and the successes that came with the improvement of American lifestyle.

    With media and television (in the 50’s and 60’s I guess; I’m thinking of ‘Happy Days’, etc.), Americans became conscious of their quality of life (as opposed to that of the rest of the world), and this image has been constantly nurtured even though the level of living has fallen for many Americans AND the dynamics of the world have changed AND the quality of information has declined (unless you seek it out online or read a very good newspaper – but for this, you need to know there is a difference…).

    Politics obviously plays a major role in this scenario. With the departure of Jimmy Carter and the arrival of Reagan, the identity of our government and that of the pride of our country drastically changed. I remember how Carter spoke of World Peace and education. With Reagan, our great country’s success found its stronghold in industry and producing wealth (which obviously ensued with lobbying and ‘preferred’ information for the public). Reagan had that way of making us all feel that we were his children, and everything would be fine. No need for intellectuals, governing was a matter of trust. This emphasis in trust in governing continued with George Bush Senior and the lack of basically brought about the fall of Clinton (in my opinion, of course).

    Public education fell into major decline with the departure of Carter, first felt in Republican States which chose to make cuts here first. This married with an economic shift to consumerism (market-run) resulted in a significant rise in anti-intellectualism. For me, the person who best incarnates this tendency is our ex-President G.W.B. I know many americans who defend his administration fiercely, and systematically these are the very same who reject the idea of climate change. I find this curious… then again, most of these people live in a Republican held state in the Bible Belt that did not waste any time bringing about cuts to public education. Let’s face it, we may have the best elite schools, but, for a wealthy country, the general level of education for most and even for the above average is pathetic.

    I think I got off track, but maybe I didn’t. Ok, to the point: the average and even the above average individual in the US has an idea of his/her own comfort zone. When this comfort zone is compared to life on television, it is basically always in need of improvement. This is because television, film, publicity, etc. is where we find the standard of the ‘collective comfort zone’, and this is being continually upgraded by a consumer- based economics. This “media”, which reflects a world without climate change, also defines the boundaries of the individual’s consciousness of reality.

    As long as this is the case, the “collective american comfort zone” will always take priority and the majority of americans will lend a deaf ear to the health of our planet.

    i just re-read this before submitting and see that I’ve reduced to the point where I sound rather dogmatic. My apologies.

  106. I am glad that we are talking climate change instead of global warming. During our most recent of many snow storms I heard a lady say, “Where is that damn Al Gore when we need him? I’d like a little of his global warming..that idiot!” This woman has a masters degree. People who are not interested in enviromental issues just don’t get it. Climate change resonates..global warming doesn’t.
    By the way, at least in the NW children are being taught about climate change,and recycling and will celebrate Earth Day. I am a teacher.

  107. I agree with most of the posts. Some Americans are ignorant that climate change is happening and they wish to not believe in it. Also, deforestation is part of global warming as well. I also agree with one of the posts that as americans, we are self-centered. For example, look at what happened to Japan. The media believes that they have been prepared for that earthquake. The media is nothing but lies sometimes.

  108. Americans do not understand climate change because some of them are oblivious to what is happening to our environment. Some prefer to care about themselves than what is happening now.

  109. Here are just the top three reasons-Because Americans are lazy! If they deny it is happening they will not have to contribute the work necessary in their own lives to do their part. Americans need signs. If a sign is not put up to conserve and protect the environment they will ignore that it is something that needs to be done. Americans are selfish. They are not willing to give up the convenience of being stuck in the 80’s, keeping up with the Jones (consume, consume, consume)

  110. I think; American’s are largely anti-science, religious, and stupid. I will agree with them that the climate goes through it’s cycles. Also, I’ll agree with them that we don’t know what’s really going to happen. e.g. One thought was the polar ice caps would grow larger from increased snowfall from greater evaporation from a warmer climate, so they do have some points, but they still miss the big point; CO2 ppm is historically elevated, and they don’t care. I’m personally more worried about the chemistry of the ocean than temperature change. What if the changing pH level collapses the oceans food chain?

  111. Raj K. is right on. Within the field of climatology there’s only one agw skeptic (at Berkeley) who’s got any credibility, and he’s basically just fighting a rearguard action, throwing out potential objections which then are disproved when the data actually come in. From inside the field I can tell you: people who believe agw is a politically-motivated hoax are themselves dupes.

    The raw data as well as the mathematical models are overwhelming: human-caused climate change is happening. (We cannot rule out other causes as well, but the human factor cannot be overlooked: it’s the only way to explain a lot of what we’re seeing.)

    I’m a little shocked by the denials I read here. Most of it stems from mere ignorance. Instead of going to one of the politically-motivated websites that tell you what to think, start looking into the research of people who have accumulated expertise, and are actually studying climate. You’ll find near-universal agreement and acceptance of global warming. (Most of these are pretty technical, but that’s what you get with “expertise”: Try the International Journal of Climatology, the Journal of Applied Meterology and Climatology, the Journal of Climate, the Monthly Weather Review… even the hardest journals, like the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, which tend to focus on small problems in physics, have many contributors who are writing articles about global warming, or its effects or measurements.)

  112. Earths climate has never been stagnant. Only recently have people tried to make an issue of the changing environment.
    Where I stand now was 1 mile deep in ice a short 10,000 years ago. And some time before that is was molten hot. Change is the only thing to count on. All the chicken littles’ out there are pandering for money based on your fears.

  113. Our educational system is, without a doubt, a disgrace. Most people simply don’t know about or don’t understand the environmental crisis. And it doesn’t help that opponents utilize mass media to pick up on and amplify every little tift among envionmental advocates. As Richard Foltz says, “More and more, the prevailing worldview among the general public is shaped by the multi-billion dollar advertising and public relations industries– hardly disinterested enterprises!– which together probably constitute the most massive and successful apparatus for mind control in the history of the human species.” And its true, the general public is being pulled every which way by “experts”, and they know that at least half the time they are being lied to. So if they are smart enough to realize the probability that they are, in fact, being lied to, they become skeptics of everything that doesn’t support their worldview; and being environmentally friendly is not always human friendly. Nobody wants to use less when they are raised in a society that tells them to always expect more; sustainability would just seem crazy to them. Nobody will willingly sacrfice the human, and often religious, right to reproduce; especially if its to preseve a world they aren’t convinced is dying. Until everyone can be convinced that environmental degredation and imminent self-destruction is a real threat, then environmentalists and environmental advocates are just fighting a losing battle; except EVERYBODY will lose this battle.

  114. You hit the nail on the head, most Americans are not educated enough on this issue. Point in case being this past winter when it was 20 degrees in the south and you have some backwoods hillbilly saying “Global warming my left foot”. Why people fail to see that global warming will lead to a possible modern day ice age is beyond me. The melting of the polar ice caps is generating vast amounts of fresh water that is spilling into the ocean. The difference in salinity is causing the ocean conveyor belt to alter its flow. With this change, there will be weird weather patterns, which might literally throw us into the next ice age.

  115. widespread propaganda that it is a farce is fueled by those who are not served by serving the planet. money talks. people that don’t think for themselves, listen.

  116. Science is mathematics, data, facts and conclusions. When scientist can not agree, there is a problem.

    Today, there is more impervious cover than ever and that is a contributor to flooding.

    When the weathermen say that a certain temp. is a record high and that previous high was 30-50 years ago-why is it now global warming?

    During the mid seventies it was forcasted the we were all going to freeze to death because of global cooling.

    I believe that skeptics are a result of agenda driven science.

  117. I am an “educated” American and I don’t believe in the establishment’s definition of “Global Warming”. It’s junk science. Do I believe that we should all be environmentally responsible? Absolutely, however, since I do not prescribe to Al Gore’s garbage, I am labelled as ignorant, uneducated, etc… There is just as much data suggesting that climate change is due to solar activity, but it’s not discussed. Why? Because just as the right-wingers profit off of industry lobbyists to hide the issue, left-wingers are standing to profit off of new markets rising off of every so-called green product. Cap and Trade, for example, is nothing more, and will be nothing more than a new market of intangible credits that will end up just like the derivative markets that just fell; taken advantage of while a select few profit from the whole scam. So until real solutions are available, for the States at least (I’ve seen some of Europe’s innovations), I’m not jumping on this bandwagon. Again, I believe that climate change is a real occurrence, not defined as it is, and it is the responsibility of everyone to do their part for a cleaner world. Now proceed to chastise me, not for my belief in environmental responsibility ,but for not believing exactly what you believe…

  118. AMERICANS ARE LAZY! The information is there. No excuse can be found for inaction. Massive consumerism begets more consumerism. To change means inconvenience, and too many Americans, sad to say, would rather push things to the back burner and not interrupt their addiction “to things”. Their next “fix” is more important than saving the earth. Seems incredible, but let’s face it, it explains why most surveys show the number one “hobby” for Americans is “shopping”. Embarrassing! Pathetic! True! It saddens those of us who love the earth and want to protect it. But, too many of us “just don’t care”. Nature of the beast?

  119. Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer” describes the right wing political movement in the United States to a “T”. As climate change/global warming is/was seen as part of the opposition’s belief system…it is regarded as a matter of loyalty on the part of right wingers, tea party faithful, and the new republicans to oppose any and all scientific thought/evidence/discovery on climate change. That is where it stands with that portion of the American public. Nothing short of catastrophe will convince them…and even then, someone will have to lead them out of the desert of their current opinion. Despite any protests to the contrary…they truly are faith based, not fact based. And they have no faith in science. Therefore, any arguments based on science that do not support their beliefs, fall on deaf ears. Done.

    As for the independents and many liberals…global warming is just not high enough on their priority list. They haven’t done their home work. Besides which, they don’t want to change their lifestyle either.

  120. @ Gem Blansten LOL too funny, the pot calling the kettle black!

    Well honestly we cannot change minds that are already made up, like Gem here!
    And using the education system seems inappropriate at this time. I think the most effective but long term effect, would be advertising. Public service type ads, start on children with cartoon shows etc. just saying respect environment, don’t pollute, respect others rights to enjoy nature. Then as the years go by increase the age appeal of commercials as the earlier kids exposed grow older. It may take 40 years for these kids to get into power enough to make change, but if we don’t start now, it may never happen. I can say as a child raised in Canada it was ads like this that shaped my views on littering and environment.

  121. I don’t think that many people are DENYing climate change. What is in question is “What is causing climate change?” and “What, if anything, can.should we do about it?” When I tell people that the effect of Human acitivites is really only a trivial part of the issue, they immediately turn that into an accusation that I am denying that the climate is changing.

    Climate change has been going on since the earth first formed. It is nothing new, and this particular episode is not drastically different from what has been experienced in previous cycles. What is different is the over-zealous alarmists who predict a catastrophe, and want us all to make drastic changes in our lifestyles to head off the “impending doom.” Those who have looked into the studies and models realize that the doomsayers are over-reacting, and we are not going to jump into a fire just to avoid sunburn.

    Instead of curtailing our lives, we should instead be concentrating our efforts on ways to adapt our activities to the new weather. More efficient heating and cooling systems seem like a good thing to work on. Agricultural changes that lead to crops that can survive the changes should be a priority. We should help wildlife adapt or perhaps develop structural alternatives to create conditions where they can thrive. There are lots of things that we should be working on, so that we can cope with climate change–putting the blame on mankind and trying to head off the changes is a misguided, futile, and non-productive waste of time.

  122. Mr. Rees states,

    “Climate change has been going on since the earth first formed. It is nothing new, and this particular episode is not drastically different from what has been experienced in previous cycles. What is different is the over-zealous alarmists who predict a catastrophe, and want us all to make drastic changes in our lifestyles to head off the “impending doom.” Those who have looked into the studies and models realize that the doomsayers are over-reacting, and we are not going to jump into a fire just to avoid sunburn.”

    All this is just the next step in denier obfuscation. As the evidence for climate change becomes more obvious, the first fall back position is the idea listed above…that change has always been there. Kind of hard to argue with. What they never mention is the rate of change. So, here’s a thought…how about a little example to provide a contrast of our viewpoints. We each get in a vehicle with brakes that have been modified…the vehicle is pointed at a concrete wall with a locked steering wheel…and the accelerator is set to take the vehicle up to a speed of 65 mph and maintain it until the brakes become responsive. Since I’m the one asking for time to slow down, my brakes will function within 300 ft of the wall. Mr Rees is unconcerned with the rate of change, so his brakes will respond once his vehicle is 3 ft from the wall. Let’s see who makes out better.

    “Those who have looked into the studies and models…” “Those”, is it? Is there a chance that any of “Those” are climate scientists working on the topic of climate change? Or is it more likely that they are butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers…who took a science class once and figured that was good enough to start a right wing blog on climate change.

  123. The reason people don’t take climate change seriously is because people are used to a non-static climate. It’s not rational to think that every summer will be the same for the rest of your life. Sometimes weather changes from hour to hour. It makes no rational sense to a person that the world is getting hotter while they are going through the coldest winter of their life, which happened to many in Briton.

    Most feel confident in their ability to adapt to changing climate. When it gets cold, we put on a coat. I went to Hawaii in the winter once. The climate change was drastic for me and I enjoyed it. We have learned that climate can change without catastrophe. It changed before humans were on the earth. Hurricanes existed in primitive times. Most people know that we will not ever be able to prevent hurricanes no matter what we do.

  124. Most Americans are clueless. Folks get up in the morning, look outside and see the sun shining and good weather rising in the East. It’s all very much like the fellow down the street a bit who scatters a chemically-based fertilizer all over his mega-lawn and then forgets all about it as a thunderstorm comes along and washes much of it into the storm drain and a lake or stream downstream.

  125. our society is largely focused (distracted) with other issues. Americans struggle between science and celebrity. It has become hard for the general public to shift through all of the information. one one hand, you have scienctist warning the public about these issues, then you get some random celebrity to renounce what the scientist say and so much work has been unraveled. The general public will choose the name they know and see on TV than the scientist that is working in the lab. It is not an issue reflective of the American Scientinst but rather an issue of Ill informed , uneducated celebrity that negates their work. Educate celeberties and encourage big media outlets to focus on the issues more and I think you will see an increase in interest in our country.

  126. Regardless, it is mankind’s egocentrism and arrogance leading it to presume it has the power to destroy the earth. Our influence is but a tiny drop in a lake of changes. Sunspots cycles have thousands of times the influence of our puny burning of fossil fuels. By the time the oil is mostly burned anyway, there will be waves normal changes from the sun. Self-loathing of the western way of life is what motivates it. It would be far better to look for answers to more down-to-earth issues, like lack of clean drinking water, or the deadly spread of AIDS.

  127. Americans live in a car-centric society. At my previous home neighborhood in Pennsylvania, I often watched in horror as other residents got into their cars and drove the half-mile or so to the borough post office to collect their mail for the day. It was no uncommon for me to be jeered at by passing motorists as I walked (yes, walking) home from the grocery store with a tote bag of food for the week.

  128. If there’s no getting climate change by such industrial countries like US,then why convention and policies on Sustainable development and conservation come about. All living and non-living things have systems or else thier life circle. So it mean that it is when the last tree fall, the last fish caught, and the last water is polluted, then human being will relize that money won’t be eaten. The future of our earth is today’s footprint.

  129. What amazes me about Americans and carbon emissions is the moral issue. If throwing a burning match near your house could cause your house to burn up, then it is my duty to make sure I don’t throw anything burning near your house.

    But there’s more than just a chance that your carbon emissions are harming my environment. Isn’t it your duty to curb your carbon emissions?

    How can the climate change deniers live with themselves and their carbon emissions? What are their religious leaders telling them? What does your pastor tell you???

  130. @Dave Connell, you make a very important point when you say that the problem may be psychological. There has been some very good writing on the subject, including ideas about how to address this, under the heading of Ecopsychology. I feel that the only way to make environmental problems real to people is to make nature real to them, through contact and positive experiences with natural places.

  131. Hey Raj,

    I just wanted to say that your post is pretty neat!

  132. It is a simple answer, that most people don’t like to hear, it is called education. Plus during colder months you might get a week stretch of really cold weather and they say “Yeah sure looks like global warming”. But I can remember in my life time, when I was a kid, there would be snow on the ground for 3 months straight. What they don’t understand is how global warming will also usher in colder temperatures. The oceans conveyor belt is being altered from all the fresh water spilling into the ocean from the melting of the ice caps.

  133. Great information 🙂

  134. I live in Iowa. Millions of years ago much of Iowa was covered by a glacier. Global Warning must have caused it to melt?
    There is so much spin on Global Warming no wonder people have trouble deciphering fact from fiction.

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