Environmental activists make money telling us all how terrible things are; climate scientists appreciate the help promoting their data, we do have a bit of a train wreck coming at us emissions-wise, but climate scientists also know there is a risk of backlash if there are too many hyperbolic claims, and that 'green fatigue' will set in if every change in temperature and every storm is attributed to global warming. That's why even the IPCC, no wallflower when it comes to using media talking points, wishes media would not attribute local weather to climate change.
And then there is the money aspect to just taking a 'sequester' approach to emissions. While activists seem to believe a sequester approach to taxes and spending - egalitarian, across-the-board cuts without regard to merit - is bad, they have an idealized vision of what it will do in the economy regarding emissions. We should just do it, they insist. When activists said America just 'needs' to get down to early 1990s levels of emissions, they painted a perfect scenario where everyone would somehow be employed in either green energy production or white-collar environmental awareness jobs. Yet America is back at early 1990s levels of emissions right now - and the economy we have is what that looks like. Stagnant business climate, high chronic unemployment and food stamp recipients are numerous enough to pick a president, but the stock market is up so the government claims that higher stocks and higher taxes will eventually help poor people who bridge a wider chasm from the rich than ever.
The ironic downside for activists who have gotten the lower emissions they wanted is that in the hierarchy of needs, broad environmental issues are not all that important. When people can't pay the rent or meet lots of other basic necessities, the last thing they want to hear is how they are killing the planet but developing countries like China, India and Mexico are exempt. And so concern about environmental issues, including climate change, is now at a 20-year low, even in America, despite the full-court press by the media in late 2012 to say that the Sandy storm was caused by climate change. What else happened 20 years ago, the last time people didn't care about the environment? A president got thrown out due to the "It's the economy, stupid" movement. Not having money makes people think about their world, not the world.
So studies may predict the impact of climate change but people losing their homes are not worried about 50 years from now; the activists who want a full-stop on CO2, more regulations, more penalties, more taxes and then more subsidies for their pet 'green' projects are living in their own fantasy world, where if they mandate and subsidize something like wind power, capitalism will take over and make it viable. The 13th century is not the answer to 21st century energy issues but they are against both fossil fuels and every viable alternative.
Result: People begin to stop caring.
Here is the chart from market research group GlobeScan Foundation:
* The chart shows average findings across the 12 countries for which tracking data is available since 1992. Polling was conducted by the international research consultancy GlobeScan and its partners in each country. In
Brazil, China, Indonesia, Kenya, Panama, and Turkey
, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 4.3 to 4.8 percent, 19 times out of 20. ** Question wording and 1992 fieldwork done by The Gallup Institute, Princeton.
22,812 citizens were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between July 3rd, 2012 and September 3rd, 2012 and 6,774 citizens whose tracking data regarding environmental concerns
is available since 1992 were used.
As you see in the chart, it isn't just climate change that is impacted. As the American economy has lurched into becoming European, and the impact has been felt worldwide, concern about water and air pollution, automobile emissions and species extinction have evaporated as well. Concern about the environment, like advocating organic food and toilets that flush less water, has become a pastime for the idle rich - and then those on the left who keep their blinders firmly in place. Many of the people in the chart have been worried about the environment for a long time, so their concern hasn't gone away entirely. The majority of them are still concerned about clean water. But clean water is not in newspapers every day so for environmentally conscious people to not list 'climate change' as the top worry despite over a decade of media attention is the surest sign of 'green fatigue'.
Wealthy countries can afford to migrate to green energy but shaky economies cannot so that has to be fixed first. We have cleaner energy solutions that are viable right now, like nuclear power, and that can be a bridge to the future without keeping America a barren economic moonscape. China has entire pollution villages filled with cancer patients, so we don't want a manufacturing free-for-all and therefore we shouldn't be in a race with China to make solar panels or anything else that is worse than the problem it is solving, despite what the Obama administration claims, but there is a moderate stance we can take on 'made in the USA'. Business is not the enemy, it is just the enemy of the current government and they need to soften that stance.
Greenpeace has their heads firmly in the feel-good fallacy sand too. Spokesman Graham Thompson told Sam Masters at The Independent, “The public can see that the response of our politicians is completely inadequate to the threat scientists have revealed, and that dissonance is reflected in these polls.”
In other words, they think the solution is even more government. It isn't just Greenpeace, you could substitute any other anti-food, anti-energy activist group and they all say the same thing.
Of course. the upside to a bad economy is that people who worry about their finances and less about the environment also start ignoring Greenpeace and Union of Concerned Scientists. Maybe then we can get actual reality-based science policy rather than more calls for top-down social authoritarianism about their politics.
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