Public Warming up to Global Warming

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People are warming up to the notion that global warming is affecting  the planet.  Currently 67% say there is evidence that the  earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades, up four points since last year and 10 points since 2009, according to the PEW Research Center.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds  that Americans from all political groups are warming to the notion. Democrats, Republicans and independents say there is solid evidence of warming, although there continues to be a substantial partisan divide on this issue. Fully 85% of Democrats say there is solid evidence that the average temperature has been getting warmer, up from 77% last year and similar to levels in 2007 and 2008.

Nearly half of Republicans (48%) say there is solid evidence of warming, compared with 43% last year and 35% in 2009. The percentage of Republicans saying there is solid evidence of warming is still lower than it was in 2006 and 2007, but is now about where it was in 2008. A majority of independents (65%) say there is solid evidence of warming; that is up from 53% in 2009 and lower than from 2006 to 2008.

The survey says the majority of moderate and liberal Republicans (58%) say there is solid evidence of warming, including 38% who say it is mostly due to human activity. By contrast, only 43% of conservative Republicans say there is evidence of warming, while 51% say there is not.

Large majorities of both conservative and moderate Democrats (83%) and liberal Democrats (91%) think there is solid evidence of warming. But liberal Democrats are more likely to say that warming is mostly because of human activity – 77% say this, compared with 51% of conservative and moderate Democrats. The percentage of liberal Democrats saying warming is mostly caused by human activity increased 13 points from 64% last year.

The public continues to be divided on the question of whether scientists agree that the earth is warming mostly because of human activity; 45% say scientists agree while 43% say they do not. This is little changed from 2010. In 2006, far more said that scientists agree (59%) than disagree (29%) that the earth is warming mostly because of human activity. There is a wide partisan divide over the question of scientific consensus: Just 30% of Republicans think scientists agree, compared with 58% of Democrats. Independents, like the public overall, are divided.

A majority of Democrats (56%) say that global warming is a very serious problem. By contrast, just 19% of Republicans think it is a very serious problem while the majority (55%) says it is not too serious or not a problem at all. Among independents, 39% say that global warming is a very serious problem.

People 65 and over are far less likely to think that warming is mostly because of human activity – just 28% say this, compared with 47% of those under 50. Similarly, just 29% of people 65 and older say that global warming is a very serious problem That compares with about four-in-ten in other age groups.

On views about scientific consensus, the age differences are even greater. A majority of those under 30 (53%) say that scientists generally agree the earth is getting warmer because of human activity. By contrast, a plurality of seniors (46%) say scientists generally disagree while just 31% say they agree. Those ages 30 to 64 are divided in whether they think scientists generally agree or disagree about global warming.

Fully 88% of voters who support Barack Obama say there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been increasing over the past few decades while just 8% say there is not. And 63% say that the warming is mostly because of human activity.

By contrast, just 42% of Mitt Romney supporters say there is solid evidence of warming while as many (49%) say there is not. Just 18% of Romney supporters think the earth is warming mostly because of human activity.

Obama supporters also are far more likely than Romney supporters to say global warming is a very serious problem (59% vs. 13%). Fully 58% of Romney supports say it is not too serious or not a problem, according to PEW.


Visit your library for these resources:

The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You about Global Warming
Roger Pielke, (2010).
Pielke’s area of expertise is the crossroads where environmental studies and politics meet, and clearly he is very frustrated by how the hard cold facts of science have become subservient to the whims of political fortune. Pielke excels in pointing out the minutiae the climate discussion finds itself repeatedly bogged down in, compared to the larger issues of global warming, regardless of the cause, which are irrefutable. For navigating a treacherous field with grace and aplomb, Pielke deserves much praise. Whether readers will feel reassured or not after reading his measured words and patient call for a broad-based climate policy will depend on future political response. Copious endnotes and sourcing material included.
— Excerpt of review by Colleen Mondor first published September 1, 2010 (Booklist).

Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future
Robert K. Musil, (2009).
With global warming becoming less of a fringe issue and the call for energy independence firmly ensconced as a mainstream topic of discourse, Musil offers a rational assessment of ways in which individuals, grassroots coalitions, and nongovernmental agencies can affect both personal and political change. Combining reasoned analyses with passionate arguments, Musil addresses subjects as diverse as how climate change affects public health, the relevance of mainstream national environmental movements, and ways in which specific geographic regions have been adversely impacted by various climatic fluctuations directly attributable to global warming. As he discusses effective methods for bringing about expedient policy changes, Musil identifies practical, achievable solutions that can readily be implemented in homes and communities, throughout the marketplace and government. Optimistic and confident yet sensible and pragmatic, Musil tempers demanding rhetoric with definitive action, offering a voice of both reason and promise that illuminates the ongoing struggle to understand, contain, and reverse the climate-control crisis.
— Excerpt of review by Carol Haggas December 15, 2008 (Booklist).

The Hot Topic: What We Can Do about Global Warming
Gabrielle Walker, David King (2008).
For anyone who has ever wished somebody would sit down and, once and for all, explain global warming to him or her, this book is the proverbial ray of energy-efficient, biorenewable, ecologically sustainable light. Name a current concern or future solution—from rising sea levels to shrinking ice shelves, biofuels to greenhouse gases, the Kyoto Protocol to industrial innovation—and the authors clearly and precisely articulate the often confusing, if not conflicting, positions and statistics currently in play. Walker is an acclaimed scientist and journalist, and Sir David King is the UK’s chief science advisor, and together they comprise one of the foremost authoritarian teams analyzing the global warming phenomenon. Equitably and explicitly unraveling the overwhelmingly diverse aspects of the climate-control conundrum, the authors deftly dispel the hype and earnestly dispense hope. Theirs is an impartial, and yet impassioned, examination of the science, technology, and politics of global warming, and their lucid, cohesive treatise is destined to become the go-to guide to the climate-control crisis. —Excerpt of review by Carol Haggas first published February 15, 2008 (Booklist).

Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming

Mark Bowen, (2008).
Bowen, of Thin Ice (2005) renown, reveals the full extent of the Bush administration’s censoring of the findings of NASA climatologists, preeminent among them Dr. James Hansen, a tireless and trusted scientist who has been making crucial discoveries about the dynamics of climate change for more than three decades. Thanks to Hansen’s refusal to be muzzled and the courage of whistle-blowers, Bowen was able to track the machinations of political appointees with no science background and troubling associations with the fossil-fuel industry, the “swift boat” debacle, and Alberto Gonzalez as they dumb down and stall NASA press releases regarding climate change and attempt to control media access to government scientists. Meanwhile, reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on global warming and the intensifying of hurricanes were censored after Katrina, and Bowen documents the sneaky way the feds slashed the earth sciences budget and eliminated the directive “to understand and protect our home planet” from the NASA mission. Bowen salts his jarring report with clear-as-day facts about global warming and carbon emissions and joins scientists in saying that we’ve already lost so much time, these acts of suppression may well go down in infamy. — Excerpt of review by Donna Seaman first published December 15, 2007 (Booklist).

Earth, the Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming
Fred Krupp, Miriam Horn (2008).
Although current wisdom has Mother Earth going to hell in a nonbiodegradable, petrochemical-enhanced, fossil fuel–burning handbasket, all is not necessarily doom and gloom on the global-warming front. Along with acclaimed journalist Horn, Krupp, the venerable president of the Environmental Defense Fund, spotlights scores of revolutionary inventors and resourceful entrepreneurs of all ages, from all disciplines, and from every corner of the globe, who are dedicated to identifying, evaluating, and refining alternative technologies in their quest to produce affordable, manageable, and profitable domestic renewable energy sources. Whether it’s turning algae into biofuel or ocean waves into electricity, these zealous energy innovators are creatively addressing the massive paradigm shifts essential to halt environmental disaster and reverse resource depletion. Such new ventures, however, invariably face trial-and-error development setbacks, financial challenges, jurisdictional infighting, and regulatory wrangling. Yet, armed with indefatigable enthusiasm, unfettered optimism, and unwavering commitment, this vanguard of visionaries provides an inspiring message of hope for individuals and a rousing call to action to political leaders worldwide.
— Excerpt of review by Carol Haggas first published March 15, 2008 (Booklist).


Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change
George  S. Philander, editor, (2008).
Philander, a member of the geosciences faculty at Princeton University and research director of the African Centre for Climate and Earth System Science in Cape Town, South Africa, has gathered authors from fields as diverse as anthropology, chemistry, geography, and medicine to put together an encyclopedia of about 750 articles. The entries cover countries, climate models, atmospheric sciences, institutions studying climate change, and people studying the climate.Individual country entries highlight changes by country instead of by broad climatic regions and will help users understand global-warming issues in, say, Argentina or Tuvalu. Organizational entries are predominately focused on U.S. institutions and governmental entities. Although the preface notes that “scientific objectivity have been the watchwords” for the encyclopedia, entries provide a range of perspectives. — Excerpt of review by Steve Stratton

Encyclopedia of Global Warming
Steven I. Dutch, editor (2009).
Designed for high-school and undergraduate students, Encyclopedia of Global Warming brings together 540 original essays on topics related to climate change. The essays range in length from 400 to 2,000 words and provide overviews or explain terms, organizations, individuals, and laws and treaties. Of particular interest are the “Top-Twenty Emitter” essays, with information on each of the 20 nations with the highest annual greenhouse gas emissions.— Excerpt of review by Mary Ellen Quinn first published February 15, 2010 (Booklist).



Image credit:
Polar bear on ice flow in Wager Bay (Ukkusiksalik National Park, Nunavut, Canada) July 23, 1996 by Ansgar Walk.


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