This week there have been a number of stories on attitudes about climate change and global warming in the news. Since many of you communicate about weather and climate impacts on agriculture to people with a broad variety of perspectives, I wanted to point out some stories that might be helpful in setting the debate in context.
Yale Alumni Magazine has an article on research work done there on what Americans think about global warming. These are the folks that have been working on the “Six Americas” studies which describe the various attitudes towards climate change taken by subsets of the American populace. This article provides an update on their survey and points out that what Americans think is not necessarily what you would expect.
The New York Times has an article today which says “An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.” The article points out that 81 percent of Americans now believe that the recent warming is caused at least in part by human activity, although there is quite a disparity between Democrats and Republicans. There are also differences between age groups and where people live, since some areas like near coastlines are expected to experience more direct effects than other locations. There is still a lot of concern about how much the action would cost and whether or not it would negatively impact businesses.
The Genetic Literacy Project has a blog posting on a study by the Pew Research Center on scientists’ attitudes towards both GMOs and climate change. The article points out that 89% of scientists believe that GMOs are safe and 88% believe that climate change is real and is caused by human activity. These percentages are much higher than for the general public, particularly in the case of GMOs.
Finally, Business Insider has a set of infographics at http://www.businessinsider.com/climate-change-infographic-2015-1, including the one below, which shows how much different countries around the world are at risk from adverse impacts due to climate change. Rankings reflect both the degree of impacts expected and the countries’ abilities to adapt to changes. The graphic shows that the US as a whole is much less at risk than many other parts of the world. (It would be interesting to see how different regions within the US are ranked.) Of course, agriculture is dependent on world markets, and many other parts of the world will be much more severely affected. That is a concern to all of us, especially those who are feeding the rest of the world and who want to be good neighbors to people in other regions.