Back to back stories on NPR this morning report on the political and public perceptions of climate change. The first, the most obvious, describes how how today's "conservatives" (those are sarcasm quotes) have lost touch with reality to enter a fact free zone. Something that is being increasingly noticed by the RRs (rational republicans), as, for example in a recent Time Magazine essay by Fahreed Zakaria. This and similar in the main stream media (you know Keith, Churnalism Central) indicates that the the Overton window is shifting. make no mistake about it the wingnuts are in full fluster and it is time to push back on them.
Republican candidates aren't the only ones who have changed their tune in recent years. The Pew Research Center points to a sharp decline in the number of Americans who even believe that global warming is happening, let alone that it's a serious problem.
In 2006, 77 percent of Americans agreed there is "solid evidence" of global warming. By this year, that number had fallen to 58 percent. And just over a third believe that man-made carbon emissions are to blame.
"Most of that decline has occurred among Republicans and Independents," said Andrew Kohut, president of the research center. "The partisan gap is huge."
Of course, these are the primary voters that Republican candidates need to appeal to. And they've been encouraged in their skepticism of climate change by fossil fuel interests, which have bankrolled an aggressive campaign against cap and trade.
The best explanation of this is the parallel universe erected by the Murdoch press, the Koch brothers and allies. Given that this is low comedy or high tragedy, we have to look to Comedy Central and Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart for clear speaking, which Stewart did when interviewed by Chris Wallace.
Stewart wondered why he was doing a comedy show when the networks are doing a much better job.
Wallace was flummoxed when Stewart agreed that Fox has an audience that likes what they show, but that the Fox audience is
The most consistently misinformed media viewers, Fox, in every studyOh yes, Chris doesn't like Cartman, but you should listen to the entire thing (Fox edited parts in what they showed. Eli is shocked, shocked).
So now let the Rabett Churn move on to the second NPR piece " Climate Change: Public Skeptical, Scientists Sure"
The American public is less likely to believe in global warming than it was just five years ago. Yet, paradoxically, scientists are more confident than ever that climate change is real and caused largely by human activities.An interesting formulation, scientists are SURE that we are driving climate change (it ain't the bunnies of the field bucky, we just chew the carrots).
Something a bit strange is happening with public opinion and climate change.
Anthony Leiserowitz, who directs the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication, delved into this in a recent poll. He not only asked citizens what they thought of climate change, he also asked them to estimate how climate scientists feel about global warming.
Though a few are still finding reasons for doubt, Cicerone says he and most of his colleagues find the science of climate change is stronger the harder they look. So does this public disbelief mean that Americans are becoming more anti-science?
Leiserowitz of Yale University says that's not what his polls show.
"Most Americans have overwhelming trust in the science and trust in scientists," he said.
But the public is largely unaware of the consensus because that's not what they're hearing on cable TV or reading in blogs.
"They mostly get exposed to a much more conflicted view, and that's of course not by accident," he said.
Leiserowitz is now starting to ask how public opinion changes when people actually know that the National Academy of Sciences and other groups consider climate change to be a big concern.
"So far the evidence shows that the more people understand that there is this consensus, the more they tend to believe that climate change is happening, the more they understand that humans are a major contributor, and the more worried they are about it," Leiserowitz said.
He says if you drill down a bit, the American public actually is not split when you ask them if they'd like to see a gradual transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.