Time for Climate Change Proponents to Change Their Tune?
The first phase of this shift was the transition from the phrase ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’. As Secretary of State Clinton recently pointed out it has become increasingly difficult to preach about the dangers of global warming during a decade that has featured a significant reduction in the temperature increases that occurred in the 1990s.
The second phase of this paradigm shift has been a noticeable increase in skepticism amongst the general public about the causes and impacts of climate change and a general decrease in interest in the topic. Until recently that opinion has remained the domain of primarily right-wing media types – Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus to name a few. But there is a growing body of evidence that suggests a majority of Americans are now questioning the causes of climate.
Yet some recent polls in the US and Britain indicate that the tide may be turning in this regard. A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center ranked global warming as the least important issue amongst 20 political priorities that were included in the poll. And a January survey by Rasmussen Reports indicates that a greater number of Americans (44%) believe that long-term planetary trends are the cause of climate change than the number of Americans (41%) that believe human activity is the culprit. Less than a year ago the reverse was true – 47% of Americans blamed climate change on human actions while 34% believed it due to a long-term cyclical effect. And its not just in the US either – polls in the UK have shown similar doubt amongst a majority of Britons about climate change causes.
So how do those of us that are trying to promote reduced-carbon lifestyles and greener businesses deal with the public’s changing attitudes towards climate change?