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March 22 2012


A Tally of Green Jobs

In a report that could serve as ammunition for promoters or detractors of a greener economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics fleshes out a sector that has been poorly defined.

March 01 2012


Survey Shows More Americans Believe Climate Change is Happening

American belief in global warming is now on the riseThe number of Americans who believe global warming is happening is on the rise, according to a Brookings Institution report on the latest National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change (NSAPOCC) survey conducted in December of 2011.

The report shows much of that new-found belief comes from direct experience with independent studies showing that four out of five Americans have been directly impacted by climate change. 2011 was a “year for the record books” bringing record drought and heat waves, hurricanes, floods, winter storms and wildfires. In all, there were 14  record climate and weather-related events in 2011, each causing at least $1 billion in damage. Hurricane Irene alone caused more than $7 billion in damages.

“Many of our respondents pointed to their own experience with hotter temperatures, storms or droughts,” says senior Brookings fellow Barry Rabe. “In increasing numbers, Americans are making the connection between weather and their belief about global warming.”

Belief driven by local conditions can be fickle, but the study also cites reports of declining Arctic sea ice and melting ice sheets as driving public concern about changing climate.


More American now believe global warming is happening

According to the latest NSAPOCC survey, 62 percent of Americans believe that global warming is real, more than at any time since 2009 when 65 percent held that belief. Public perception has changed significantly since the 2010 survey, when only 58 percent felt the evidence for global warming was compelling.

Of course, for some, there is little that will sway their disbelief that global warming is occurring. Though the number of people denying climate change has dropped to 26 percent, those who are left are dug in, and mostly Republican. Only 47 percent of Republicans believe there is evidence of global warming, as opposed to nearly 80 percent for Democrats.

Rabe said those who believe there is no evidence of climate change, though fewer in numbers, are highly certain in that belief. ”On either side of the issue, both for and against, people tend to give a generally solid level of confidence,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t movers or people who can’t be changed,” Rabe added.

Instead of approaching climate change as a “third rail” issue never to be touched except in its denial, some conservatives still call for a more sensible approach. Last year former Republican congressman Bob Ingles pleaded for his conservative colleagues to “return to true conservatism” in dealing with global warming.

Belief in global warming split along political party lines

Whatever people choose to believe, and for whatever reason, extreme weather and climate events pay little heed. A swath of destructive, late-winter tornadoes tore through the U.S. midwest yesterday, killing at least 12 and  injuring hundreds more, bringing back uncomfortable memories of last year’s record-breaking tornado season.

Extreme weather events like those scene across the country last year and in the midwest yesterday, are quickly becoming part of the “new normal” all Americans can expect to experience more often in a warming world.

Download the full report from the Brookings Institution

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February 29 2012


New Data: 81 Percent of Climate Deniers Think Scientists Are In It “For Their Own Interests"

The Brookings Institution has a new report out on the public's views about global warming, and most commentators are going for the predictable headline. It's this: Following the post-ClimateGate decline in belief that global warming is happening, we're now seeing a bit of a rebound. More people believe the planet is warming than they did in early 2010—probably in part due to warm weather.

That is good news—not great news by any means, but surely something. People certainly seem remarkably fickle and malleable on this topic, but then, they always are in polls.

To me, though, what you’ve just read is not really the headline. I dug into the Brookings data, and found something much juicier (and newer).

In the poll, 42 percent of Republicans say there isn’t solid evidence that the Earth is warming, and another 11 percent say they are unsure. In contrast, only 15 % of Democrats are out and out deniers. (Note: People were not being asked whether humans are causing global warming, which would have made these numbers much worse.) 

And here’s the thing: Of the deniers—Democrat or Republican, but mostly Republican—81 percent also think that “scientists are overstating evidence about global warming for their own interests.” That's a finding I've never seen before—and a very disturbing one.

read more

July 14 2011


'Green' Economy Is Real but Needs a Push, Study Suggests

While green initiatives are driving growth and innovation, market and policy challenges are preventing them from reaching their full potential, a new study suggests.

May 18 2011


You've Got to Start Somewhere: A Climate Prescription

A former adviser to President Obama proposes giving utilities incentives for converting to cleaner forms of electricity without top-down mandates from the federal government or penalties for failure to comply.

January 18 2011

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