Poll shows that conservative Republicans have heads in the sand regarding global warming

Most Americans are concerned that the effects of global warming will become manifest in their lifetimes, if they haven’t already. But there’s one segment of the population that doesn’t share such concerns. Can you guess who those people are? The Gallup organization has the answer HERE: While notable majorities of all other political party/ideology groups say the effects of global warming will happen within their lifetime, fewer than four in 10 conservative Republicans (37%) agree, a sign of that political identity’s strident skepticism on this issue. Conservative Republicans not only decisively reject the notion that the effects of global warming will happen in this lifetime — a position in sharp contrast to all other political identities — but another 40% say global warming will never happen. This is significantly higher than the percentages of moderate/liberal Republicans (16%), non-leaning independents (14%), conservative/moderate Democrats (5%) and liberal Democrats (3%) who say the same. These results are based on an aggregate of more than 6,000 interviews conducted as part of Gallup’s annual Environment poll each March from 2010 to 2015.  ...

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Most Americans see global warming as a threat to future generations but not to themselves

Researchers at Yale and Utah State universities have unveiled a statistical technique that allows them to measure Americans’ attitudes about global warming even down to local levels. This effort shows, for example, that majorities in 99 percent of the nation’s 3,143 counties agree that global warming is happening. But most folks in nearly 80 percent of counties say they aren’t convinced that “human activities” are the principal cause of  the  warming. To me, the most interesting findings were THESE: Residents of more than half of U.S. counties aren’t worried about climate change (1,951 of 3,143, or about 62 percent)…Worse: There wasn’t even one county in which a majority of respondents believe global warming will harm them personally. In sharp contrast, majorities in 3,122 of 3,143 counties (more than 99 percent) do agree that future generations are at risk… Make of that what you...

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The first three months of this year were among the hottest on record

If I have to remind you that the weather where you live is not necessarily an indication of conditions around the globe, I probably should also tell you that you needn’t bother reading this post. You’ll only find that it’s way over your head. For the rest of you, HERE‘s the deal: NASA reported Tuesday that this was the hottest three-month start (January to March) of any year on record. This was the third warmest March on record in NASA’s dataset (and the first warmest in the dataset of the Japan Meteorological Agency). The odds are increasing that this will be the hottest year on record. Last week NOAA predicted a 60 percent chance that the El Niño it declared in March will continue all year. El Niños generally lead to global temperature records, as the short-term El Niño warming adds to the underlying long-term global warming trend. And in fact, with March, we have broken the record again for the hottest 12 months on record: April 2014 – March 2015. The previous record was March 2014 – February 2015 set the previous month. And the equally short-lived record before that was February 2014 – January...

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Add Galileo’s controversies to the list of stuff about which Ted Cruz knows nothing

Just as I was getting a little bored with mocking Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, another irresistibly delicious angle has come to my attention. In an interview yesterday with a Texas newspaper, Cruz haughtily likened his own global-warming denialism with the courage of Galileo Galilei (above), the legendary Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher. Cruz said: “Today the global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers. You know, it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier.” Ah, poor Ted. When he attended those fancy Ivy League  schools, they apparently didn’t teach him anything useful about Galileo. The truth of the matter is that most educated people in Galileo’s time readily accepted the theory that the Earth was round. Moreover, Galileo’s famous dispute with the papacy was not about the shape of the Earth. Rather, it was about whether the Sun orbited the Earth or the Earth orbited the Sun. The ultimate irony in all of this is that Galileo, in his disputes with theologians, upheld scientific knowledge in the face of religious doctrine to the contrary. Today, Ted Cruz and the Religious Right of the Republican Party, scoff at scientific knowledge regarding global warming and climate...

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With regard to climate change, is Alaska the canary in the coal mine?

We residents of the lower 48 states tend not to pay much attention to conditions in Alaska — a tendency we probably would do well to correct. The fact of the matter is that Alaska, ordinarily the coldest of our states, is experiencing global warming with a vengeance. How bad is it? THIS bad: Alaska is heating up at twice the rate of the rest of the country—a canary in our climate coal mine. A new report shows that warming in Alaska, along with the rest of the Arctic, is accelerating as the loss of snow and ice cover begins to set off a feedback loop of further warming. Warming in wintertime has been the most dramatic—more than 6 degrees in the past 50 years. And this is just a fraction of the warming that’s expected to come over just the next few decades. Of course, it’s not just Alaska. Last month was the most extreme February on record in the Lower 48, and it marked the first time that two large sections of territory (more than 30 percent of the country each) experienced both exceptional cold and exceptional warmth in the same month, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration. (Snip) Alaska is at the point where the long-term trend of warming has begun to trump seasonal weather fluctuations. A recent shift toward warmer offshore ocean temperatures is essentially adding more fuel to the fire, moving the state toward more profound tipping points like the irreversible loss of permafrost and increasingly violent weather. If the current warm ocean phase (which began in 2014) holds for a decade or so, as is typical, Alaska will quickly become a different place....

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