Thursday, July 25, 2013

Climate Change Poll

The Disaffected Lib continues to do stellar work on the climate change file. Visiting his site will arm anyone interested with some solid information about what is, in my view, the most dire threat facing humanity today. Yet I can't escape the dispiriting conviction that despite such invaluable efforts and resources, little is going to change.

Today's Toronto Star reports that 53 per cent of Canadians polled July 23 by Forum Research believe that the recent Alberta flooding and the torrential storms in Central Ontario were the result of climate change attributable to human activity. That conclusion in itself is problematic, given that no specific weather event can be attributed to climate change, given the historic natural vagaries of weather. As well, drawing one's belief in human-caused climate change from such spectacular and destructive weather events suggests a very shallow conviction. If, for example, the rest of the summer proceeds in a more conventional way, with no more such storms and no more sustained and debilitating heat waves as afflicted Ontario last week, isn't it most likely that many of the newly converted will just dismiss those events as merely atypical weather and once more put climate change on the back shelves of their thinking? The attention span of our species can, at times, be deplorably short.

Some other interesting numbers emerged from the poll as well:

- A belief in human-caused climate change is more common among women (59 per cent) than men and the least wealthy (63 per cent).

- Conservative voters are least likely to believe human activities are causing climate change (38 per cent), compared with Liberals (66 per cent) and New Democrats (71 per cent.)

- Many Conservatives polled (71 per cent) don’t believe climate change even exists, while New Democrats are the most likely to believe it does (92 per cent.)

With statistics like this, and the fact that none of the three major political parties is led by people with the courage and integrity to confront the dire threat we are all facing, leaves me with the steadily-growing pessimism about the prospects of our long-term survival as a species.

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