Monday, December 12, 2011

Global Warming: NIMBY

Tony Davis, Grist writer, reports on polls that check the public pulse on concern about global warming. Why are we so blase'? In a nutshell: It's Not in My Backyard.
People are much more likely to react to personal experience than to numbers, Weber wrote, and climate change hasn't smacked Americans in their guts enough to prod them into action. If she is right, we're the proverbial frog in a pot: As long as the water warms at rates that are not easily perceptible, we'll be frog soup before we realize it's too late.

Leiserowitz, in a previous job as a research scientist in Oregon, found in a 2005 study that many Americans are convinced that climate change is warming someone else's pot altogether. In his national survey of 673 U.S. adults, published in the journal Risk Analysis, 68 percent of respondents were most concerned about global impacts such as declining living standards, water shortages, and damage to nature. They rated local impacts "as somewhat unlikely," with only 13 percent most concerned about those. Of 24 categories of images associated with global warming, people responded most heavily to melting glaciers and polar ice.

In other words, he found that most people think "It's the polar bear's problem, not mine -- and as long as it's not my problem, I frankly have more pressing things to worry about."

Ask Texas farmers what they think. After a year of drought and the hottest summer on record EVER, I don't think you'll find a lot of skepticism here.
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