Walter Russel Mead wrote about the rising rate of climate change skepticism in a recent post at the American Interest. Mead is something of a moderate environmentalist in that while he agrees with the environmentalists on many points, he is also aware that the Green’s alarmism and their playing fast and loose with the facts has caused a great deal of damage to their credibility and effectiveness. His views on global warming aka climate change are close to my own so I will quote him at length.
Before we go any further, let’s get something out of the way. At the most basic level, climate scientists have a very solid grasp on a relatively simple set of facts: certain gases, carbon dioxide among them, “trap” the sun’s heat in our atmosphere, much like a greenhouse’s glass. Humans have been emitting these gases at very high rates of late, and that’s a problem, because it will lead to a warmer climate and a variety of new challenges to which life on earth will have to adapt, ourselves included.
The devil is, as usual, in the details. Our climate models weren’t able to predict the recent plateau in warming over the past decade or so, a reflection of our incomplete understanding of the “fiddly bits” of Earth’s climate. The central problem here is the enormous complexity of the system we’re dealing with. Our planet is filled with many different feedback loops and relationships, some of which we understand, but many of which we remain ignorant of. Because of that, any prediction of what might happen when we ramp up one variable like carbon dioxide is going to have a significant margin of error.
But the green movement has made a habit—and for some a living—of exaggerating the dangers of climate change to justify unworkable policies. In the past this probably produced some short-term payoff in terms of public support, but over time it has weakened the credibility of not just the environmental movement but the scientific understanding that these greens claim to be advancing. This recent Gallup poll reflects a damning fact for today’s greens: Climate alarmism tops “big oil” money as the leading cause of climate skepticism.
A great deal of my own skepticism regarding global warming is due to the fact that actions of the people most involved in promoting the idea are not the actions of honest people who have the facts on their side. If the facts were on their side, they would feel little need to slander their opponents by referring to the as “deniers” or implying that they are all funded by Big Oil. They would not corrupt the peer review process by attempting to censor any paper that opposes their received wisdom nor would they exchange e-mails discussing the best “tricks” to “hide the decline“. They would not call for jailing people who disagree with them. They would admit that current models have done a poor job of predicting changes in climate and work to create better models instead of dismissing and contrary facts as disinformation and insisting that the science is settled.
There are many who would consider the results of the Gallup poll that Mead refers to as an indication of the ignorance of the American people, especially those who live in flyover country. I think that it shows that the bitter clingers are smart enough to know a con when they see it.
I saw this piece in the Washington Examiner last week and have been meaning to mention it. Essentially the argument is that if Obama wins only the states where he has a positive approval rating, he will be looking for a new home on January 20, 2013. Here is the map they provide.
Of course it is really to early to make any predictions, especially when it is not entirely certain who he will be running against. Yes, it looks like it will be Romney, but he hasn’t gotten the nomination yet. It looks like they got that map from 270towin. I’ve been playing around with the map and based on the past voting history of the states, I think it will be a whole lot harder for any republican to defeat Obama than this map indicates. In any case I hope no one in the RNC sees this. They do not need to be getting overconfident.
US-2012 President: 48% Obama (D), 48% Romney (R)(Gallup 1/27-28) (huffingtonpost.com) One thing. National polls on how popular Obama vs a Republican is, are almost useless. American Presidential elections aren’t really national but 51 little elections. It is possible for a candidate to get a majority and still lose. (2000).
I know that Obama has been a fairly polarizing president, but ever? This article in the Washington Post argues so.
President Obama ran — and won — in 2008 on the idea of uniting the country. But each of his first three years in office has marked historic highs in political polarization, with Democrats largely approving of him and Republicans deeply disapproving.
For 2011, Obama’s third year in office, an average of 80 percent of Democrats approved of the job he was doing in Gallup tracking polls, as compared to 12 percent of Republicans who felt the same way. That’s a 68-point partisan gap, the highest for any president’s third year in office — ever. (The previous high was George W. Bush in 2007, when he had a 59 percent difference in job approval ratings.)
Note the chart only goes back to 1953. Before that they either had not divided approval rating by party or polling techniques were less certain. I think that this is the sort of conclusion that one develops when not considering historical perspective. I can think of a few presidents who were at least as polarizing as Obama is now. Abraham Lincoln was such a polarizing figure that half the country seceded when he was elected. Franklin Roosevelt was loved by many and just as deeply loathed by many.
I am just a little skeptical by claims that present day politics is somehow uniquely divisive. It couldn’t be worse than the 1850’s.
President Obama‘s summer woes have dragged his approval rating to an all-time low, sinking below 40% for the first time in Gallup’s daily tracking poll.
New data posted Sunday shows that 39% of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, while 54% disapprove. Both are the worst numbers of his presidency.
Obama’s approval rating has hovered in the 40% range for much of 2011, peaking at 53% in the weeks following the death of Osama bin Laden.
The only question I have is, who are these 39% of people who still think Obama is doing a good job. Are there really that many Obama zombies running around with their brains scooped out? Is this the fault of our broken public school system?
I suppose that Obama still has a lot of support from the African-American community because he is the first Black president. If I were Black, however, I would be reminding everyone who would listen of the fact that he is half-white.
I can’t wait for some more hope and change in 2012.