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Feb 10 2013

New poll on climate offers hope

A new poll on climate change and Americans’ opinions on it has rebounded sharply for the better. A large majority now accept the climate is or probably is changing and that it’s due in part to human activity:

NCSE — Asked “Is the earth’s climate changing?” 49.9% of respondents said, “Yes, I’m convinced,” and 33.5% said, “Probably yes, but I’d like more evidence,” while only 8.5% said, “Probably no, but more evidence could convince me,” and only 7.6% said, “No, there isn’t any solid evidence.” Acceptance of climate change was correlated with political affiliation: 70% of Democrats were convinced, as opposed to only 27% of Republicans and 48% of independents.

Respondents who agreed that the climate is changing were asked, “Is climate change primarily because of human activity or natural causes?” Human activity was the choice of 64.4%; natural causes was the choice of 34.8%. They were also asked, “How serious a threat is climate change?” Very serious was the choice of 37.7%; somewhat serious was the choice of 45.9%; not that much of a threat was the choice of 14.8%; not a threat at all was the choice of 1.1%.

2 comments

  1. 1
    Crudely Wrott

    For what it’s worth.

    My father lived in NW Wyoming for most of his life. He was a cattleman and one hell of a cowboy. I remember him telling me about the ferocious onslaught of winter in late November and through the month of December.

    Pregnant cows were giving birth in early February and he told me about some calves freezing to death before they could walk.Which, in case you don’t know, takes only about fifteen or thirty minutes. These stories date to the 40s and 50s.

    One story I clearly recall was when a November storm in the early 60s made it impossible to drive the quarter mile from the house to the highway, Rt. 287. After four days the county brought in a bulldozer to cut a new road through the snow across adjacent hay fields. That allowed he and his few neighbors to get to town for food and mail and a stop at the local saloon.

    After my father’s death in 1982 I move to the old homestead, late in November, ’83. I left Houston, Texas and by the time I got to Denver there was quite a blizzard going on. It was my good fortune to arrive safely at home the next morning. I estimated that my Honda was packing about a quarter ton of snow and ice underneath when I pulled into the garage and there was about sixteen inches of snow on the ground. November.

    Fast forward through the next fifteen years.

    While winters in that part of the country are not terribly hostile, they do last about four to five months. Roughly December through March. Sometimes a bit longer. By the middle of the 90s it was not unusual to see little if any accumulation of snow before the end of January with spring thaw coming in mid April.

    For the last several years that I lived there I only saw two Thanksgivings that had significant snow on the ground. Up in the high country there was more but in the valley, altitude about seven thousand feet, the ground was uncommonly bare and the wind sucked the moisture right out of it. Ranchers hoped for snow to replenish that moisture so that after the thaw the fields and pastures and high grazing ranges would sprout vigorous feed for their herds.

    Winter was not so much shortened during my time there, rather it was shifted. Instead of beginning in November and lasting into March it began nearer New Years Day and lasted through April. The snowpack in the mountains that feed the Green and Colorado (water that greens lawns in Las Vegas and grows crops in California’s Imperial Valley) rivers was slightly below average most springs. A lot of high pasture was dry before June ended.

    My observation is not that it got warmer, I didn’t keep temperature records, but that the onset and end of the winter season shifted in time. Quite noticeably. If such a change represents climate change in general then I can support the notion by virtue of on the ground experience. As to its cause, I leave that to others more informed and capable than myself. I think it is the result of a combination of factors including the emission of waste gases into the atmosphere.

    I left the Cowboy State eleven years ago. Boy howdy, I do miss my mountains and climbing up into them as the snow melts and seeing the wildflowers almost leap from the ground. Perhaps some year that won’t happen in June but in August. If I can I’ll go back for another looksee.

  2. 2
    Draken

    Unfortunately, this hardfought victory in public awareness may soon be overshadowed by the shale revolution euforia.
    After all, if you can have half a century’s worth of fossil fuels without the hassle and the military interventions, who’s going to invest in alternative forms of energy?

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