Mr. Gore says the overwhelming scientific opinion is that humans are causing climate warming. Mr. Jacoby finds one scientist who thinks the jury is still out on that. Mr. Gore says that in a random sample of over 900 scientific papers about climate change, not one said humans aren’t the cause. But of more than 600 reports in the popular press, 53 percent cast doubt on a human cause to global warming. The only “debate” he says, comes from a vocal minority who perhaps have a vested interest in keeping us in the dark. Mr. Jacoby would seem to be one of them.
Jeff Jacoby also says:
Jonathan Schell and Carl Sagan forecast a devastating “nuclear winter” unless atomic arsenals were frozen, or better still, abolished. Those doomsday prophesies never came to pass.
Of course nuclear winter hasn’t come to pass. No one has exploded the nuclear arsenal that is very capable of producing it. It doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen if someone did.
Mr. Jacoby found only 36 percent of people in a Gallup poll worry a “great deal” about global warming, but 73 percent in an LA Times/Bloomberg poll from last summer said it’s a “serious problem.”
Likewise, a CBS News/New York Times Poll (same site) from last May found 66 percent think global warming is having a serious impact now, up from 59 percent in 2003.
Mr. Jacoby’s 36 percent of people who worry a “great deal” about global warming came from a list of 10 environmental problems. And that 36 percent figure is up from 26 percent just two years ago. Topping the list of fears for people is polluted drinking water, of which more than half those polled worry about a “great deal.”
Maybe we should be worrying more about global warming, but we’re not, thanks in part to deniers like Mr. Jacoby.
Here are some other numbers to make the eyes glaze from that same Gallup poll?
58 percent think the effects of global warming are already happening. So they may not be thinking about it much, but they know it’s here.
Only 30 percent think the media exaggerates the seriousness of global warming.
And 58 percent think humans are causing global warming.
Global warming, climate change, whatever you want to call it is NOT a political issue. It’s been used by politicians, notably George W. Bush, as a way to debunk science and give a leg up to polluting industries. Unfortunately, we’re beholden to politicians to act and set this nation on a course of change. That’s not happening at the federal level, but is happening more locally, by state and by city. Mitt Romney pulled us out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, but maybe Gov. Patrick will get us back in.
You can wrap statistics around to fit any form, but I’ll take the consensus of scientists and Mr. Gore over Mr. Jacoby any day.
But if you haven’t seen An Inconvenient Truth, rent it now! I’m tempted to buy it an send it to Mr. Jacoby.