The cover story of this week’s TIME magazine is on global warming. The title: “Be Worried. Be Very Worried.” I agree with Chris that this is a huge deal, and further evidence that the issue of global warming is nearing a tipping point in public consciousness. The Battle of the Skeptics is over. They lost. Now talk will turn in earnest to what we can do about it.
Unfortunately, I can’t read the whole story because I’m not a TIME subscriber. (Any intrepid Gristmill reader out there want to send me a copy?) It’s also at the top of CNN.com right now, though, and they’ve got a short summary.
There’s also a TIME/ABC poll on attitudes toward global warming, which reveals the same old grab bag of muddled opinions. Take this:
Almost half (49%) say the issue of global warming is "extremely important" or "very important" to them personally, up from 31% in 1998. When asked about the causes of rise in the world’s temperatures, 31% feel it is caused by the things people do, 19% feel it is due mostly to natural causes, and 49% feel it is a combination of the two. Almost seven-in-ten (68%) Americans think the government should do more to address global warming, according to the poll; however, 64% think scientists disagree with one another about global warming.
As I said here, what these kinds of polls reveal more than anything is that public opinion on this subject is amorphous and fluid. It is open to persuasion, ready to be shaped by strong leadership. More than anything, that’s what this country is crying out for right now: strong national leadership.