Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Climate Skepticism Increases

On April 25th I posted a comment about how it was going to be difficult to sustain belief in climate change over the next few years because of potential short-term cooling effects due to cyclic factors, namely La Nina and sun spot activity. Today the NYT reports that a recent Pew survey showed belief in global warming slipped from 77% in January 2007 to 71% in April 2007. I am not sure they asked the right question, however. An informed person might well say that he did not believe there was “solid evidence that the earth is warming,” precisely because of the short term effects already mentioned. A better question would be whether there solid evidence that the earth will warm.

Apparently the decline is mainly due to Republicans, among whom affirmative answers to the answer to the question declined from 62 to 49%. I am not sure why this should be a party-political issue, but it is ironic that it came out the same day as John McCain gave his most emphatic support to date for a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

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