Posted by: admin
The polling supports what we’ve been saying for a while: the public is there. They believe (even if they think the scientific consensus isn’t as strong as it really is).
The science community has been freaking out for years about trying to answer the “we’re screaming at them about this problem, why aren’t they doing anything about it???” question. The stock answer from climate scientists is either about skeptics sowing doubt, or the problem is too complicated, or something like that, but it usually comes down to, “the public just isn’t convinced that it’s a problem.” Matt’s paper shows that clearly the public is aware of global warming and does think it is a problem.
So why are we (through our electeds) still not doing anything about it then? Because even the public realizes that the solutions are very, very difficult and will probably mean considerable pain. (And no politician wants to inflict pain on his/her constituents.) Perhaps the collective is making its own collective calculation: a world without potentially disruptive-to-catastrophic global warming or a world without coal-fired electricity and 20mpg family sedans?
This is really my insidious way of making a strong plea to the climate science policy (funding) community: stop spending money on GCMs. Start spending those billions we spend on basic climate research on climate solutions. We do not need 21 models feeding the IPCC process to see the risks. In a resource-limited science funding world, we know enough already about how climate works to see the risks.
What we don’t see is how we’re going to shovel ourselves out of this mess. We would do quite well to quit crying about science budgets, climate skeptics and inaccurate media representations and finally turn our energies to usable, useful science for a very uncertain future. Our politicians and policymakers will listen if we give them useful solutions, especially if we work with them to figure out what kind of information is useful to them. They will continue to NOT listen if we decide to pad our status quo by indefinitely giving them journals filled with GCM studies and 500-page IPCC reports that are all science and no ways out.