Friday, January 30, 2015

Good news, bad news ...

Significant new polling data holds good news for the US position as we prepare ourselves for Paris. While frightening numbers of Americans have continued to believe that all this climate stuff is a hoax, or at best a mole hill, rapidly rising numbers of people---including a near-majority of self-identified Republicans!--are beginning to shed that view. The numbers are sliced a lot of different ways, but the upshot is that some 80% of people polled think the problem has serious implications for their future well-being, and two-thirds say it will influence how they vote. Is this the breakthrough in American sensibility we have been waiting for?

Well, not so fast. Of these newly sensitized citizens, most still consider it a lesser problem, not as big a deal as, say, beheadings by the so-called Islamic State in Syria. And while Republican candidates are on  notice that simple denial will possibly lose them votes even among traditional Republicans, they are finding that "I'm not a scientist," i.e. don't worry me with this arcane stuff, about which I am agnostic, is still a perfectly satisfactory answer. That's good for them, because the vast trove of campaign funds managed by the Koch brothers' interests will be withheld or worse, used against any candidate who dares consider climate change an actual problem. So Tea Partiers in particular, and Republicans generally, just have to hem and haw and the issue apparently won't do them any harm, according to the rather in-depth political part of the survey.

Progress? Yes, but we still have a long road to travel before there is any political pressure for America to present a strong position in Paris.

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