Skip to content

Why don’t Americans believe in global warming?

February 22, 2011

E.G. Austin, published a two part article on “Why don’t Americans believe in global warming?” in “The Economist” on February 8 and 16, 2011.

The extreme polarization that this subject brings in today’s society as well as its importance in transitioning our economy off fossil fuels was enough justification to bring Mr. Austin’s articles to a larger audience. 

The articles can be found at:

The articles state:

“….. a majority of Americans (58%) do think climate change is a serious problem, according to the January 2011 Rasmussen Energy Update”

 “…. one-third, 33%, “see it as a Very Serious problem.”

“…..  the United States is less exercised about climate change than a lot of countries”

“….. The consequences of climate change are too awful to contemplate. ….. we’re denying the issue”

“….. The costs of a large-scale effort to fight global warming are too steep to bear. …..we’re trying to ignore the issue”

“….. Democrats are always hammering on about climate change and Republicans aren’t suggests that this is a political issue, not a scientific one.”

“….. Where’s the evidence? All we know is what scientists say, and scientists are sometimes wrong.”

”….. God isn’t going to let millions of people die in an epic drought.”

“….. America consumes a lot of the world’s resources. That means America would incur heavier costs than a small European state from a large-scale effort to fight climate change”

“….. America is big enough that its agreement is probably necessary and perhaps even sufficient for a serious climate fight.”

“….. constructivist approach to building public concern would be to build up the issue-linkage between climate change and the search for renewable-energy sources.”

“….. theme from commenters was that they’re not concerned about climate change because they don’t believe in climate change. “

“….. to the extent that there’s a consensus about climate change, it’s a consensus that admits to differing views about the likely causes and consequences.”

“….. most of the prominent climate hawks are Democrats.“

“….. poll also suggests a logical inverse relationship between levels of carbon emissions and levels of concern over the environment.”

“…..”Why don’t Americans care about public transport?”….. one answer to which is that America’s physical size and settlement patterns make public transportation an implausible way to commute in all but the densest metro areas.”

“….. “Why do people care so much about why Americans don’t care about global warming?” A few possible answers suggest themselves—maybe people love a chance to pick on America—but the most plausible is that people care about America’s views on the issue because ….. America is big enough that its involvement may be necessary for a global fight against climate change.”

My solution to this dilemma, was proposed in “Forget Politics, Think Economics,” which stated

Forget global warming, forget melting ice, forget rising seas, and forget smog-blanketed cities. But don’t forget that the USA spends about $1 million per minute on foreign oil, $64 million per hour and more than $52 billion a year for Persian Gulf imports alone to feed its addiction for foreign oil. Don’t forget we are paying for both sides of the war by helping to finance the enemy, while at the same time bearing the tremendous cost of the war to support their petro-oligarchs. Don’t forget that we are a debtor nation that is losing its financial, technical and manufacturing prowess.  It’s about us, humanity and our future, that we keep our dollars in the USA by getting off petroleum and utilize clean, abundant, and domestically-produced energy sources.  Only through these actions can we ensure our children’s children will have any measure of opportunity, which is rapidly drifting away.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2011 6:26 PM

    If you wish to focus on the economics, please simply chart the price of oil (dollars) versus the value of the dollar relative to either the Euro or the Pound Sterling.

    I’ve done it, and it is clear that monetary policy drives the dollar price for oil, not demand. That should be readily understood. Middle Eastern banking is Euro-centric, not US-centered. First sons go to college in England, not the States, etc…I call it the Bentley Index, that the number of barrels of oil represented by a Bentley adjusted for the RPI (England) barely changed over the decades while the price of oil, from the perspective of someone in the US was increasing dramatically.

    So if you are sincere in your comments, then without investing a farthing in green technologies we can save 40% or more of the spend on oil – and all the other reasons you provided – simply by pursuing the strong dollar policy we had under Presidents Clinton and Reagan.

    Since Clinton, Democrats and Republicans alike have been trying to manage trade imbalances by managing the value of the dollar (minimizing it) – a ludicrous and failed strategy.

    Litmus test: Check the price of oil before Bush I and Bush II and honestly answer the question if demand for oil and the supply:demand ratio has changed one bit since Clinton and Reagan.

  2. Tom Blair permalink
    February 28, 2011 5:53 PM

    Two reasons I think – both of them good.

    First – the scientific method is biased against the adoption of new universal truths. It is a tremendous step to go from 1. Proposition-All crows are black. to 2. I have observed 10,000 crows and they are all black. to 3.It is universally true that all crows are black.

    Science is all about scepticism. Scepticism is good – particularly about universal, global and epochial phenomena.

    Secondly – there is unfortunately a political agenda wrapped up in this “belief “(your term). Tell me how you feel about “global warming” and I’ll bet I can predict who you voted for in the last election, how you feel about illegal immigration, gay marriage, the UN, second amendment rights, etc. People will be much more likely to “believe” in global warming when it isn’t percieved as part of a political agenda. It needs to become more free of ideological baggage.

    Anyway these are just a couple of my thoghts about why American’s don’t believe in global warming. Global warming may be real. But it also may not be. That is the case with scientific theories, but not with scientific truths.

  3. March 2, 2011 10:59 PM

    yeah nice

  4. J Kyle Casper permalink
    March 8, 2011 6:07 PM

    So, If we strengthen the dollar we can then spend 40% on horrific wars and supporting an oppressive ‘petro-oligarchy’..or just ramp up those operations further…

    I am also constantly fascinated by comments of people who rely on the scientific community with faith and will as the they commute daily in cars or fly airplanes or undergo surgery…and rarely question the integrity those engineers and climate scientists that make that possible…for another example Wall Street invests billions in climate prediction models to hedge commodities….

    That oil your consuming is extracted by scientists that use the same technology and models and climate change pioneers…but I don’t hear a peep about some diving rod mystics extorting tax dollars and US lives for that benefit…

  5. Jamie Hish permalink
    March 31, 2011 1:27 AM



  1. renewable energy source, public consciousness, nuclear technology, accessible book, climate change, nuclear powers, misdirection, deep secrets, Awakening, History, Nuclear, Atomic, Future, Power, Look |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: