Friday, August 15, 2008

Do Americans believe in global warming?

A new report released by the Brookings Institute based on interviews with 1500 Americans came to the following conclusion:

This report offers preliminary evidence regarding the factors that lead individuals to believe that the Earth is warming.  Declining polar ice and glaciers along with individual experience with warmer local temperatures appear to be significant reasons why Americans believe global warming is occurring. Dramatic events that receive massive media attention, such as horrific hurricanes and blockbuster documentaries, appear less consequential. But there are significant differences in responses of various subgroups divided by place of residence, partisanship, gender, and age, suggesting that no across-the-board consensus on climate change has emerged at the time when federal institutions are giving unprecedented attention to this issue.

Polar ice and local temperatures are the major determinants. There is an important caveat though: the report further points out that this is not the case for those voting Republican.

Interesting. Are people's underlying value systems and interpretations of how the world works so 'hard-wired' that no amount of hurricanes, blockbuster movies, evidence of polar and glacier melting or computer modelling will easily change that?

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