Friday, October 23, 2009

The Politics of Global Warming

File this under the "what the what" section. Yahoo reports:

Just 57 percent think there is solid evidence the world is getting warmer, down 20 points in just three years, a new poll says. And the share of people who believe pollution caused by humans is causing temperatures to rise has also taken a dip, even as the U.S. and world forums gear up for possible action against climate change.

Odd timing... or is it?
The steepest drop has occurred during the past year, as Congress and the Obama administration have taken steps to control heat-trapping emissions for the first time and international negotiations for a new treaty to slow global warming have been under way. At the same time, there has been mounting scientific evidence of climate change -- from melting ice caps to the world's oceans hitting the highest monthly recorded temperatures this summer.
Hmmm.... so when Obama starts to take steps to control emissions, the broader public changes their opinion. My initial thought was that this can't POSSIBLY because climate change is in any way a political issue (well, we all know about Republican's and energy, but that was always under the guise that the cost of doing something outweighs the benefits, but the FACTS are pretty clear)... right? Wrong.

So how has the Republican party made their case? Using research from the EPA? Nope. The EPA believes humans have impacted our climate. So what is it? Apparently Minority Leader John Boehner's "cow farts" theory from April is getting some traction.
If CO2 is the culprit, then why did God create farting cows?

Minority Leader John Boehner described the overwhelming scientific consensus that carbon dioxide is contributing to climate change as "comical" during an appearance on Sunday, noting that cow flatulence contributes CO2 to the environment all the time...

"The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical," said Boehner. "Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know when they do what they do you've got more carbon dioxide."
And the results per Environment Magazine:
While more than three-fourths of Democrats (76 percent) believe global warming is already happening, only 42 percent of Republicans share that view in 2008.
Un-friggin believable.

Source: Yahoo


  1. Minority Leader John Boehner should prove his point by standing behind a farting cow and inhaling deeply.

  2. Unfortunately, more fuel for the Americans are stupid lobby.

    Have to admit that now that I live outside the US, America looks like the land of chaotic thinking. Probably all those disinformation campaigns catching up with y'all!

  3. My prior here is that the relationship presented above has more to do with the economy than politics. The opinion poll presented is more likely a proxy for level of priority that people put into things other than the economy in time of fat and lean.

  4. I second Jim's opinion. If people admit that there's global warming, then the corollary is that they should do something about it. Given the economy, people don't want to do anything about global warming, so it's only natural not to admit that it's a problem.

    Also, this year has been cooler in many parts of the world than the past few years. Since the immediate evidence (as in no major heat waves) is not present, it's not on the forefront of a lot of people's minds

  5. Here is the basic question. If it was warmer 1000 years ago than it is today (even at the recent elevated temperatures) why do we think industrial activity is causing the recent warming trend? Doesn't it seem more plausible that the same thing that caused the warming trend from 200AD to 950AD is causing the current trend (1700 to Present)? Namely, solar activity, changes in ocean currents, etc.

    My own opinion is that the increased skepticism is due to a)the last several years having been cooler than the one before, and b) the rhetoric in favor of economic regulation as a means of controlling global warming seems increasingly out of proportion to the evidence.

  6. Heavy sigh -

    Sorry Dan, the Medieval Warm Period actually didn't happen.

    Thanks for playing, please try again, don't let the door hit you on the crazy on the way out.