Climate PR effort heats up
Despite mounting evidence that the greenhouse gas buildup in the Earth’s atmosphere is causing runaway changes to the climate – NASA this month declared 2010 the hottest year on record – several pollsters say the American public isn’t listening.
In a recent survey, Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change, found that the number of people in the United States who believe in global warming fell from 71 percent to 56 percent between 2008 and 2010. Just 34 percent of the public thinks there’s scientific agreement on climate change, down from 47 percent two years ago.
Enter the next phase of the climate education campaign.
Advocates recognize their chances for passing cap-and-trade legislation are dead for at least two years, maybe longer. But they want to make sure the public and policymakers don’t forget about the problem, especially with President Barack Obama insisting that he remains committed to lower-hanging fruit within the energy portfolio to try to get the job done.
Several key moments are ahead for inflection on climate science. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is pursuing emission reduction regulations hotly contested by industry and Republicans. A wide-open GOP presidential nomination campaign will test the political sway of conservative activists who say global warming is a scam. U.N.-led negotiations continue on whether to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will roll out its next assessment in 2013 and 2014, covering all the key bases from the physical science to adaptation and ways to reduce greenhouse gases.