Global warming news headlines tend to be more about changes in our responses and belief in it these days. While the research goes on showing more changes occurring, some inadvertent prominent statements along with the Climategate debacle contributed to major shifts in the public's consciousness and not just in the USA.
While I have commented on some of these changes including other observations regarding changing attitudes, there are clear political divides that associate with each side.
Other influences in the political process bring these changes in attitudes into greater prominence. For those seeking a more middle political road such changes also affect them.
A problem with news items is how much they etch themselves into the public's mind. A dramatic item can become established wisdom. In spite of much subsequent evidence to the contrary. And even if this balancing alternative makes the news, frequently it can be published in a less prominent position and have relatively little effect.
A more dramatic event needs to occur to get the later evidence out in front of the public.
The last two or three years of severely cold winters in the northern hemisphere with blizzards and ice-storms on the face of it make people think things are cooling down.
Without understanding global warming news articles that reveal Arctic temperatures were five degrees warmer than usual it would seem so. Arctic warming results in less ice and consequently more darker coloured, less reflective sea, which allows for changes in air convection currents. These drive cold arctic air further south, cooling the northern continents.
So much hinges on the idea of global warming.
If accepted as a reality, how fast is the change? When do the scales tip to an irreversible point? How can we best respond?
For many of us there are immediate economic realities to face as well. Both the cap-and-trade emissions trading method and the more direct carbon taxes are proposed as means to modify business production and public consumption trends.
Politically, at a time when the world is adjusting to an economic downturn, introducing a carbon tax is not a popular option.
What it actually means can be difficult to assess. Some economic analyses suggest it would improve business growth. But such assessments assume all other interventions are removed. That pure carbon tax is introduced. In my experience in my country such sudden switches rarely happen. A new tax is introduced and old ones remain, or may be adjusted slightly.
As for cap-and-trade emissions trading there is much scepticism as to its effectiveness especially to change the behaviour of big businesses with big pockets.
Again the bottom line is whether such interventions will achieve a reversal of global warming.
In recent global warming news there are initiatives in process such as carbon sequestration by pumping carbon dioxide emissions underground instead of releasing them into the atmosphere. But can we really do this to a significant degree with impunity?
In spite of what elected governments at times seem to assume they do need massive public buy-in. You can ride on some popular themes for a time. But ignoring and going against public perceptions will ultimately lead to a short term in office.
For other administrations public uprisings may also result in termination of their projects as most recently demonstrated in the Middle East.
Having up-to-the minute global warming news will provide more relevant information for our own decision-making. Also the chance for people to provide local information from around the world will give immediate on-the-ground ammunition.
Do you have a great local story about this that could help us all? Share it!