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Americans Gearing up to Fight Global Warming 1104

Posted by Zonk
from the war-on-melting-icecaps dept.
TechnoGuyRob writes "Global warming has been one of the most controversial and debated issues in the political and scientific sphere. A recent poll published in the Chicago Sun-Times now shows that 'An overwhelming majority of Americans think they can help reduce global warming and are willing to make the sacrifices that are needed, a new poll shows. After years of controversy, 71 percent of Americans now say they think global warming is real.'" (Jamie adds: and all it took was twelve years of overwhelming scientific consensus.)
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Americans Gearing up to Fight Global Warming

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  • by yog (19073) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:12AM (#15057012) Homepage Journal
    This is clearly a situation where strong federal leadership is needed. If Americans are on board with reducing global warming, then let's make reduced fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions a reality by:
    - mandating higher MPGs in automobiles
    - granting huge tax credits for solar heating/electric panels on private and commercial buildings
    - mandating solar equipment for ALL federal buildings
    - mandating a switch to ethanol or methanol biofuels for federal fleets
    - grant tax breaks for anyone switching to biofuels
    - aid to cities that want to build or expand public transportation
    - aid to cities to convert existing buses to biofuels
    - massage research into alternative energy
    - end the war in Iraq to free up the funds for the above initiatives
    - Wind mill farms granted more eminent domain power (e.g., to overcome NIMBY opposition by estate owners in Marblehead, Massachusetts because "it ruins the view").

    Germany during World War II switched to hydrogen for its cars when its petroleum supplies were cut off. Brazil has switched to domestically produced alcohol. It's all do-able with a strong federal leadership. This is clearly a situation where the market economy is going to favor lower prices, not (necessarily) environmentally desirable results. The federal government is the agent that can mandate the conditions necessary to make this stuff a reality.
    • by uniqueUser (879166) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:20AM (#15057061)
      mandating higher MPGs in automobiles

      I do not want our government mandating what types of products I can sell or buy any more than they do now. If you want to cut the amount of fuel that Americans consume, raise the tax on fuel. As much as I would hate to pay more at the pump, this is the fairest way to do it. Don't tax people on what they drive, but how much energy they consume.
      • Exactly.

        I recently bought a new car. I was on the hedge about getting either a super-efficient car or a larger car with a sporty engine. I picked the larger car that gets around 20MpG with suburban-area driving (better on the highway).

        However, my commute is only 10 miles (through the suburbs) each way and I don't go very far during the weekends. Meanwhile, I know people who drive 4-cyl Civics that drive about 4-5 times as much as I do commuting alone; lord knows what their weekend travel is like. Meanin
        • I want to buy a bigger car with a sporty V6 then I should be able to without having to worry about the Fed crippling it.

          Showing how thin the "commitment" Americans have to fighting global warming. Express "concern", but drive big wasteful cars and vote out anyone who says you shouldn't. Don't be a hypocrite, just say you don't care if the world goes to hell as long as you're comfortable and have your "sporty" penis subsitute.

      • by Ours (596171) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:09AM (#15057546)
        Why not? Many countries tax cars with bigger engines more then smaller ones. AND they tax the fuel as well. The end result is cars with equal performance being more economical (in MPG therms) in Europe then in the US. Sure, the rich guys still get their Hummers and Ferraris but (unfortunally for the enviroment) it's their liberty.
      • Following your logic here, you'd be living in a house packed with asbestos because it's the best insulant for houses known to man. Much value for your money. I also suggest painting your house with lead paint, if you can find any, and I believe there's still some leaded gasoline available if you buy from the Army Reserve.

        Freedom at being an idiot consumer is not necessarily freedom, and especially not consumer-friendly.
        Don't believe me? How come I can't buy crack? Just raise the taxes on crack. I think it's
      • At the risk of being labeled a troll, the parent post completely misses three very important points:

        1) S/he has absolutely no understanding about what motivates people to buy the cars that they buy. It has very, very little to do with ongoing operating costs and almost everything to do with what fulfilling an emotional desire (coolness, percieved (but not actual) safety, convenience, etc.). The number of people that do a full life cost analysis of their car purchase could probably be counted on two hands.
      • In fact, I have been thinking that the best way to guarentee that America will change is to pass a tax that will increase over the years. Say it will go up by .25/year for the next 8-12 years. I guarentee that Americans will either move to small cars or will insist on higher mileage autos. Than we can drop all this silly mandated MPG.

        If we were smart, we would then use part of that for public trans, alternative energy as well as roads. But we are busy running up long term deficit, so I do not think that th
      • by mausmalone (594185) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:25AM (#15058270) Homepage Journal
        I do not want our government mandating what types of products I can sell or buy any more than they do now.
        Raising the minimum MPG rating does not restrict what types of products you can sell or buy. It sets standards for the products for production, not trade. I understand the concept of having a "smaller" government, and completely respect that point of view. But in this case, I feel that liberterians have been especially lied to. The federal government already does have minimum MPG standards for cars manufactured in the US. The proposal is not for additional regulation, but rather for increasing the standard to better reflect what's possible with modern technology (the MPG standard has not changed significantly since the 1970's).

        I look at it this way... we want the government (and I bet you do too) to set minimum standards of safety for electrical applicances so that they don't short out and injure us. These standards don't have to harshly restrict trade, just ensure that products are minimally safe. It doesn't seem outlandish at all when these standards are tightened to better reflect what kind of electrical saftey is possible with the advancement of modern technology.

        Global Warming (as seen in the increase in intensity of storms worldwide and the devistation of Hurricaine Katrina) has become a safety issue. Increasing MPG standards to match modern technology is a measure the government can take to better ensure our safety in the long run.
    • And yet, everything the feds touch turns to shit. Regardless of who is in power the gov't will bow to the lobbies and big oil has a big lobby. Hydrogen will happen, but it will happen when big oil figures out how to make lots of money off of it.
      • And yet, everything the feds touch turns to shit.

        Don't confuse the incompetence of the current party in power with the idea that government is neccessarily incompetent. That's exactly what they want you to do anyways.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          So wait, the years from FDR to 1994, when the Democrats had total control of congress, wasn't long enough for everyone to establish that both (of the big 2) parties exist purely to serve their own power interests?

          Surely, you must still think it is April 1?
        • Don't confuse the incompetence of the current party in power with the idea that government is neccessarily incompetent. That's exactly what they want you to do anyways. HAHAHA spoon feed much? You havn't delt with many local governments have you. Generally local governments run by the left are wasteful and mismanaged, local governments on the right are .. well wasteful, mismanaged (though by a slightly less degree), and overly authoritarian. Sure there are exceptions on both sides in many districts. But
        • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:09AM (#15057547) Journal
          Don't confuse the incompetence of the current party in power with the idea that government is neccessarily incompetent.

          That would be easy to do, except that it doesn't matter which party is currently in power, they're equally incompetent. As Mark Twain once said, "Suppose you are an idiot. Now suppose you are a Congressman. But I repeat myself."
    • by steveo777 (183629) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:32AM (#15057173) Homepage Journal
      All of these are good alternatives, but I'd say that we really need to SHUT DOWN coal plants. Yes, nuclear power is fine. More radioactive material is sent into the air via a coal plant's emmisions than nuclear power. I agree completely that solar equipment must be fully utilized, but these coal plants are atrocious. I first learned how bad these plant were a few years ago when I was watching the Discovery channel reporting on those massive dumptrucks at coal mines. An engineer was holding an eight pound chunk of coal and say, "This is just about enough power to turn on a laptop computer." I was appaled.

      I'm not saying there isn't other things to worry about, but nuclear power isn't going to spew waste and carbon into the atmostphere. America could also take a look at the design of Frances 11 or so rebirthing power-plants that re-use radioactive matierial.

      I'd rather see wind, solar, and hydro power riegn supreme, but where these are unavailable, we shouldn't be burning fuel like coal.

      • by pHatidic (163975) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:41AM (#15057259)
        There is no way that we can get by without coal power any time soon. What we can do is install scrubbers on top of the stacks and filter the fine particulates out of the air. This way there is still greenhouse gas, but at least kids aren't getting asthma attacks on the soccer field. Then once we have alternative power in place we can work to phase out fossil fuels.
      • Fact check (Score:5, Informative)

        by JourneyExpertApe (906162) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:07AM (#15058109)
        The heat of combustion of coal is about 26 MJ/kg (see here [hypertextbook.com]). The overall efficiency of electric power generation for coal is about 35% (see here [wikipedia.org]). Therefore, eight pounds of coal would produce about 28 MJ of electricity. If a laptop uses, say, 50 W maximum, that eight-pound lump of coal could power a laptop under maximum load for about 158 hours, or about 6.5 days. That's a lot of power.
    • by leathered (780018) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:40AM (#15057252)
      Germany during World War II switched to hydrogen for its cars when its petroleum supplies were cut off. Brazil has switched to domestically produced alcohol. It's all do-able with a strong federal leadership.

      Yup, what America really needs a fascist dictator in charge to make things happen, oh wait...
      • by mausmalone (594185) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:34AM (#15058382) Homepage Journal
        I think I know why we're stalled on this one. I think it might be a good idea if our fascist dictator in charge actually believed in global warming.

        "The jury's still out." No. It hasn't been for a good solid decade now, and you'd have to be an asshole and an idiot to believe otherwise.

        Al Gore gives a great presentation on Global Warming (in fact, he just did at Drew University last night) and he cites a survey of scientific journals to see how much global warming is in doubt. That survey found that of 900+ randomly chosen articles, not a single one expressed any doubt that global warming is real. They did the same with a random set of mass media (newspaper, tv, etc...) articles on global warming and found just over 50% expressed doubt about the existence of global warming. No wonder so many people in the US (including G.W. Bush) don't believe that global warming exists.
    • Build more nuke plants. The US and Russia literally has tons of old bomb cores that could be made into many more tons of reactor fuel.
      There are already MASSIVE subsidies for biofuels. Ethanol is not that much of an improvement of gas since a lot of fossil fuels are used to grow the corn used to make the ethanol. Methanol is usually made from coal, oil, and or natural gas.
      BTW as far as NIMBY goes I agree. I have a nuclear power plant in my city. I like it a lot more than a coal, gas, or oil plant.
      Solar is a
    • If you want something like that to be a complete failure, then what you need is Federal interference. Your way would result in total failure to accomplish your goals. Any time the Federal gets involved in something, that something fails, but brings with it a dozen unwanted, and unrelated, things. We could, however, get rid of two of your bullet items by reducing the Federal to a sane size.

      Next, mandates don't work. You can encourage a sector to do something, but as soon as you mandate, you are requiring
  • In my philosophy class last night someone was just saying that they didn't believe in that "global warming nonsense". I guess they fall in the 29% bracket.
  • What else can I say?
  • Missed the Mark (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ExE122 (954104) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:14AM (#15057023) Homepage Journal
    "Politicians finally came up with a cheap, last-minute solution to control Global Warming: dropping a giant ice cube from the Halley's Comet in one of Earth's oceans every now and then. This fix worked for nearly a millennium, and so by the year 3000, Global Warming was considered by many a scientific fraud, like secondhand smoke."
    ~The Futurama Encyclopedia [gotfuturama.com]

    It's wonderful that so many people are willing to say they want to make a difference. That's just as good as actually doing it! Studies also show that 74% of all Americans also say they want to start excersizing regularly, continue their education, spend time with their families, and find a cure for cancer. That's a load off my mind, I'll definitely sleep better tonight.

    Regardless of that, the real problem isn't with the masses, its with the elite. My father is a plumbing and mechanics inspector in one of the richest counties in America. He recalls one house he inspected that had 7 heated swimming pools joined together with hottubs. The owner would keep them heated year-round just in case a random party broke out. He also had 10 furnace and airconditioning units in his 35,000 sqft. house that I'm sure he ran the hell out of. He also had a 6 car garage, one spot for each of his SUVs.

    The real problem is, there are no limits on how much gasoline, electricity, or natural gas one person is allowed to use. Supplies are being wastefully depleted and turned into greenhouse gasses, and people are blaming the average consumer.

    So when gas prices go up by 80%, this rich bastard probably won't even think twice. Meanwhile, an average person is being asked to "turn thermostats down in winter by 2 degrees, caulk around windows, combine driving trips when running errands... wash clothes in cold water, turn down water heater temperature, buy energy-efficient light bulbs, buy energy-efficient appliances, and buy energy-efficient cars." And this is a solution?

    It's like having some large corporation lower 100,000 sub-management employee wages by $5 an hour instead of laying off one CEO who is making $500k per year.

    Whoever said one person can't make a difference. --
    "Man Bites Dog
    Then Bites Self"
    • Re:Missed the Mark (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's like having some large corporation lower 100,000 sub-management employee wages by $5 an hour instead of laying off one CEO who is making $500k per year.

      In that situation they're saving $500k per hour, rather than per year. Makes a big difference.
    • Re:Missed the Mark (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:23AM (#15057082)
      Regardless of that, the real problem isn't with the masses, its with the elite.

      I'm not so sure. You ever go look at the energy usage of appliances in any store? The low-end budget models tend to use the most power, and those are the ones people getting hourly wages are buying. The Energy Star rated ones you'll pay a premium for.

      Look at washing machines, for example. The ones that use the least water and electricity--by far--are front loading models. Now just try to find a front loading washing machine in a U.S. store that doesn't cost $800+.
    • Re:Missed the Mark (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:25AM (#15057100) Homepage
      It's wonderful that so many people are willing to say they want to make a difference. That's just as good as actually doing it! Studies also show that 74% of all Americans also say they want to start excersizing regularly, continue their education, spend time with their families, and find a cure for cancer.

      Exactly! As long as someone else has to do the cutting back everyone is all for it! *I* would *love* to be able to take mass transit to work daily -- problem is that it's just not possible as the transit system here (from the suburbs) was intended for suburb A city rather than being able to go from suburb A suburb B.

      We need the local, state, and Federal governments to be able to help a bit and allow us the ability to help -- especially for those of us that really want to.
    • Re:Missed the Mark (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sax Maniac (88550)
      I agree that 7 heated pools and 6 SUVs are wasteful, but let's look at it a bit.

      First, that guy can't drive 6 vehicles at once, so the emissions is really split across all those vehicles.

      Heating a 35000 square foot home is obviously going to take a lot of energy. If you assume an average "normal" house is 1500 square feet, then he is taking the resources of 23 houses. Sure, that's excessive, but how many people in the US are as rich as him? If there's only a handful, then trying to get him to turn off hi
  • by liliafan (454080) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:14AM (#15057024) Homepage
    Bush has only just denied global warming is manmade [theregister.co.uk].
    • by suso (153703) *
      Bush has only just denied global warming is manmade

      He's right, its actually caused by the products of man. Kinda like how guns kill people.
    • That didn't sound like a denial to me. Maybe I missed something, but it looked more like he was posing an oft-overlooked question.
  • Are these the same 71% that voted in a leader who doesn't believe (or says that he doesn't believe) that global warming is real? Or are these the 71% that voted for the other guys or didn't vote at all?
  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:17AM (#15057045) Journal
    We've spent so long talking about global warming that I don't think anyone has stopped to consider some possibilities.

    First, is it even our fault? Is global warming really a man-made disaster, or is it part of a climatic or solar cycle? It always seemed to be simply assumed that what we have documented is because of something humanity did...what if it's not? If this is a natural occurence, then wouldn't we be doing even more harm to nature by fighting it?

    Second, what happens if there's nothing we can do? Action plans are great and all and we need to do everything in our power to reverse any damage we've done, but we need to get our heads out of the sand and have a Plan B. It's very possible that anything we do now will be too little too late, that we have already hit critical mass and warming will accelerate even if we climbed back up in the trees tomorrow.
    • by dsci (658278) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:24AM (#15057098) Homepage
      If this is a natural occurence, then wouldn't we be doing even more harm to nature by fighting it?

      Probably not. If you are in the camp that the planet is more resilient than we give credit for, than taking action against a phantom problem probably won't matter.

      The place for potential damage, with AGW real or not, is to the economy. We've spend about 100 years building a petroleum based economic engine, and that cannot changed overnight.
    • Its not too late (Score:2, Interesting)

      by arcite (661011)
      I'm working in Kenya right now. They have massive deforestation here, with only 1.5% tree cover. Right now in the north of the country there are about 5 million people who are starving (or will be in a few weeks). These are the kind of disasters that will happen everywhere in the world if nothing is done. Desertification, crop failures, extreme weather, flooding. What are simple solutions? How about reducing soil erosion? Re-plant forests. Stop building massive houses on sandbars that trigger flooding. Use
    • by Gunzour (79584) <slashdot@noSpAm.tycoononline.com> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:29AM (#15057138) Homepage Journal
      How about third: Is global warming actually a bad thing? Or are there benefits as well? I think we should stop wasting our time trying to stop global warming and instead learn how to adapt to it.
      • It's kinda like adopting a new ocean in your backyard, and loosing half your house to an earthslide. Sure! you would survive and could pay to repair some of the damages, but it would kinda suck!
        And the money spend to repair the damages, might have been better spend to cure your cancer or to a nice trip to hawaii.
    • I'm on the climatic and solar cycle bandwagon. Not driving cars today will not put snow on the Artic Circle tomorrow and nobody is going to stop driving cars, especially the Chinese and Indians.

      Greenland used to be green 1400 years ago, I guess it was either cow or ocean flatulence or we had an enormous population of UFO drivers spewing CO2 that left a while ago. Or climactic cycle.

      We'll survive it. It's our nature.
    • Moreso, does it matter if global warming is happening or not? We can't just arrogantly try to keep the world exactly as it is today. [i]That's[/i] what's unnatural.

      Climatic change is a fact of this planet, and it's been happening for millions and millions of years.

      Economically, it's better to prepare for the change (whatever it ends up being) than to foolishly try to prevent change or even steer change to some "ideal" that's really quite impossible to define. Nature will do what nature's always done as well
      • It's not so much the change as it is the speed of change that is worrying scientists.

        Going down in an elevator is survivable whereas a freefall from the top floor is not. If change occurs too rapidly, animal and plant life can't adapt quickly enough to survive.

        The question is what happens in a worse case senario where natural global warming combines with man made global warming. Will it tip some balance?

  • For all the BAD things the US does (ie.Iraq invasion) they are undoubtably the best in the world at selling ideas. If the US could SERIOUSLY adopt more environmentally friendly ways of living/working and in industry, is there little doubt that new technologies and practices would be exported to places such as India and China? Isn't this obvious??? And why did it take disasters like Katrina to wake people up?
  • Gearing, eh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by karolgajewski (515082) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:19AM (#15057051) Journal
    ...so they're still not going to actually DO it, just prepare and get ready? (that's the meaning of "gearing up" that I'm familiar with)

    Rather than gear up, why not start right now? Sales of Hummers were up 174% from last year. If that's not going in the exact opposite direction, I don't know what is.
  • by Getzen (549982) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:20AM (#15057058)
    I do.

    And so does the Washington Times which recently reprinted this 1794 Newsweek piece. The kind of language used is eerily similar to the global warming talk today.

    There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production -- with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now.

    The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas -- parts ofIndia,Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia -- where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

    The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree -- a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.

    To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. "A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale," warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, "because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century."

    A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.

    To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth's average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras -- and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.

    Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the "little ice age" conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 -- years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.

    Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. "Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data," concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. "Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions."

    Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term

    • I have the following points to make.

      1) This was in 1974.. for how long a period was this considered a serious threat? One year? Two? Global warming has been considered a threat for more than 10 years.

      2) They say

      Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. "Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data," concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. "Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases w

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:21AM (#15057063)
    71% may believe global warming is an important issue but I haven't noticed
    71% going out and buying efficient cars. I haven't noticed 71% of companies
    switching off their lights after dark or turning down the air con / heating
    a notch.

    Its easy to say you're concerned about something , its quite another matter
    to prove it.
  • by nincehelser (935936) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:22AM (#15057077)
    From the article:

    >After years of controversy, 71 percent of Americans now say they
    >think global warming is real, according to a telephone survey of
    >1,200 people for the advocacy group Environmental Defense

    So this result has some built-in bias.
  • Useless polling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:23AM (#15057079) Journal
    "Between 80 percent and 90 percent are willing to take these energy-saving actions: wash clothes in cold water, turn down water heater temperature, buy energy-efficient light bulbs, buy energy-efficient appliances, and buy energy-efficient cars.
    70 percent are willing to drive less, and walk, bike, car pool or take mass transit."


    BS. When it comes down to it, people will do what is cheapest and most convenient. It's very easy to tell some pollster you're willing to do something, but when push comes to shove, forget it. There is a social factor in polls that causes people to answer the way they want to be perceived, not the way they actually are.

    I take mass transit daily (by choice), and I have lost count of all the people I know who've tried it but given it up as too inconvenient.

    And as for energy-efficient appliances, the sticker shock is too much for many people, even when the appliance is cheaper in the long run.

    You want real reduction in greenhouse gasses from US people? End the light-truck exemption for mileage standards. Increases mileage standards for all vehicles. Bring mass transit funding levels up to highway funding levels -- if it's pervasive enough, it WILL be convenient. Reducing consumption of power by 15% at home is not going to make near enough of a dent -- it is not enough, and it's irresponsible to let people believe it will be.
  • by ursabear (818651) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:24AM (#15057088) Homepage Journal
    If called upon, I will undoubtedly help to reduce emissions and make an environmental difference. Actually, my family does already. We carpool, telecommute (when possible), walk when we can, recycle everything we can, and use gas-powered tools as little as possible (I love power tools, though).

    I have to say that the whole media/government FUD over whether or not global warming actually exists really rings a bell with me. The dis-information campaign (about emissions and pollution) reminds me very much of the decades of time when industry and government were disseminating information that smoking hadn't been proven to cause cancers. Decades of mis-information about nicotine addiction and cancer risks was backed up by industry-paid doctors and lawyers who lulled us to sleep on the issue. The same thing has been going on WRT pollution and global warming.

    Humans accelerate climate change - whether it is clear-cutting ancient forests, industrial pollution, wasteful production, or emissions... To me, the real question is, "When will we take a responsible stance/take action on helping the Earth begin to heal?"
  • I think it's great that so many people are interested in becoming better stewards of the Earth. However, voicing an opinion is easy. Actually living up to those convictions is much more difficult. I'd be willing to bet, just from my own anecdotal experience with people in general, that *maybe* half of those that say they want to act more responsibly actually will do it.

    It's just so much easier to keep doing what you're doing. Change is hard.
  • 70 percent are willing to drive less, and walk, bike, car pool or take mass transit.

    Mass transit, what a great idea! Too bad no politician in our Republican-controlled government is willing to invest, or even talk about in a mass transit train system that can easily and quickly move people to and from work/home. This is just one of many solutions that you may never see when Oil barons are running the country.
    Exxon/Mobil is #1 on the Fortune500 and for a simple reason - we all drive hugely inefficien
  • Actions ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sane? (179855) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:29AM (#15057143)
    So "between 80 percent and 90 percent are willing to... wash clothes in cold water, turn down water heater temperature, buy energy-efficient light bulbs, buy energy-efficient appliances, and buy energy-efficient cars."?

    So how many are actually DOING any of those things? And did you notice they were good little capitalist consumption-enhancing options? Buy this, buy that. The idea is to *reduce* consumption.

    I believe it when I see the first SUV manufacturer file for bankruptcy. There are practical things that *could* be done, like increasing tax on fuel to promote efficient usage, setting real requirements for home insulation, reducing coal burning. However its much easier to say you'll maybe think about buying a new SUV with 2mpg better economy, some point in the future.

    Changing mindsets takes much more positive action than this - and I see no sign of a change there.

    • Re:Actions ? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stlhawkeye (868951)
      So how many are actually DOING any of those things? And did you notice they were good little capitalist consumption-enhancing options? Buy this, buy that. The idea is to *reduce* consumption.

      Look how fat America is. We're not a people who naturally cut back on anything.

      I believe it when I see the first SUV manufacturer file for bankruptcy.

      This is a monumentally stupid statement for reasons that I'm not even going to bother to get into. You know nothing about economics, sir.

      There are practical thin

      • Re:Actions ? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by evilviper (135110)

        Look how fat America is. We're not a people who naturally cut back on anything.

        Oh yeah, how about exercise? Seems people must have cut way-back on that... "Conserving Energy" and all.

        It's not the nation's $18,000/year citizens who are buying H2's. They're driving pickups and old cars with shitty gas mileage

        Cars with great gas-mileage like Geo Metros are pretty cheap old cars that even the poorest can afford.

        I can't blame a skeptical nation for being hesitant to abandon their lifestyle because a bunch of g

  • About 3-4 years ago, while in college, I wrote a paper on global warming and the professor bashed it and argued with me about his personal view on it as well as giving it low marks. I hadn't taken a radical standpoint, and it was all centered around facts and research. Looks like I wasn't so wrong after all.

    While I personally don't believe humans have any great effect on this planet long-term, we can cause ourselves problems short-term and that is the real crux of global warming. In a million years the Eart
  • Meaning less (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:30AM (#15057154)
    This was a telephone survey of 1200. What kind of people agree to be surveyed over the phone? I bet half of the Slashdot community would tell the pollster to get stuffed. So how valid are the results?

    And besides, actions speak louder than words. Somehow I don't think many Americans are going to all stop driving their big cars and start taking the public bus any day soon, no matter what they tell a telephone pollster...

  • we do our part (Score:3, Interesting)

    by J05H (5625) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:38AM (#15057230) Homepage
    I don't necessarily agree with all the top-down government solutions proposed. I support revising CAFE, but am leary of what/how they get things done. My wife and I put our money where our mouths are. We do this for the environment:

    - Drive a high-MPG car, our Matrix gets 34-36 mpg on the hiway.
    - ride bikes whenever possible.
    - have 1.7kw photovoltaic solar panels on our house, piped into the grid
    - other hippy stuff like compost and recycling

    I'd also like to say how stupid all the NIMBYs on Cape Cod are. We desperately need wind farms in New England. They complain about the windmills blocking the view, but if there's orange smog over everything you won't even be able to see the water. I've been to Holland and the modern windmills there are elegant and non-intrusive despite the size.
  • Way ahead of ya (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:46AM (#15057309) Homepage Journal
    My house is lit almost exclusively by high efficiency bulbs.

    Over the last year I have insulated 60% of my house (built in 1890, when wood was plentiful and insulation was non-existant.)

    I have recently purchased a VW Golf TDI. It is a diesel that gets 47+ mpg Highway and can run on Biodiesel with no conversions (a kit is required for veggie oil though).

    The nice thing about steps like these is that it saves consumers money! With my Wife and I switching most of our driving to the new VW we are saving ~$170 a month in gas. The extra insulation has saved us a ton in heating costs. And those low power consumption bulbs will pay for themselves in savings long before they burn out.

    -Rick
  • by Doug Dante (22218) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:43AM (#15058474)
    From "Aliens Cause Global Warming"
    Michael Crichton

    http://www.crichton-official.com/speeches/speeches _quote04.html [crichton-official.com]

    In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of. Let's review a few cases.

    In past centuries, the greatest killer of women was fever following childbirth . One woman in six died of this fever. In 1795, Alexander Gordon of Aberdeen suggested that the fevers were infectious processes, and he was able to cure them. The consensus said no. In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed puerperal fever was contagious, and presented compellng evidence. The consensus said no. In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. The consensus said he was a Jew, ignored him, and dismissed him from his post. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever until the start of the twentieth century. Thus the consensus took one hundred and twenty five years to arrive at the right conclusion despite the efforts of the prominent "skeptics" around the world, skeptics who were demeaned and ignored. And despite the constant ongoing deaths of women.

    There is no shortage of other examples. In the 1920s in America, tens of thousands of people, mostly poor, were dying of a disease called pellagra. The consensus of scientists said it was infectious, and what was necessary was to find the "pellagra germ." The US government asked a brilliant young investigator, Dr. Joseph Goldberger, to find the cause. Goldberger concluded that diet was the crucial factor. The consensus remained wedded to the germ theory. Goldberger demonstrated that he could induce the disease through diet. He demonstrated that the disease was not infectious by injecting the blood of a pellagra patient into himself, and his assistant. They and other volunteers swabbed their noses with swabs from pellagra patients, and swallowed capsules containing scabs from pellagra rashes in what were called "Goldberger's filth parties." Nobody contracted pellagra. The consensus continued to disagree with him. There was, in addition, a social factor-southern States disliked the idea of poor diet as the cause, because it meant that social reform was required. They continued to deny it until the 1920s. Result-despite a twentieth century epidemic, the consensus took years to see the light.

    Probably every schoolchild notices that South America and Africa seem to fit together rather snugly, and Alfred Wegener proposed, in 1912, that the continents had in fact drifted apart. The consensus sneered at continental drift for fifty years. The theory was most vigorously denied by the great names of geology-until 1961, when it began to seem as if the sea floors were spreading. The result: it took the consensus fifty years to acknowledge what any schoolchild sees.

    And shall we go on? The examples can be multiplied endlessly. Jenner and smallpox, Pasteur and germ theory. Saccharine, margarine, repressed memory, fiber and colon cancer, hormone replacement therap6y...the list of consensus errors goes on and on.

    Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

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