Photo: Wikimedia CommonsOkay, here’s your assignment for the weekend: Tell anyone you meet that aerosol spray cans don’t cause climate change. A lot of Americans apparently think that, according to a study done at Yale. But it gets stranger. About 43 percent of those surveyed believe that “if we stopped punching holes in the ozone layer with rockets, it would reduce global warming.”
We got some ‘splainin’ to do: The results aren’t all so depressing. Roughly three out of four polled said they trust scientists or scientific institutions to provide accurate information on climate change. Then again, almost half said they aren’t very worried about it and more than 40 percent said they don’t believe scientists can predict the climate of the future when weathermen have such a hard time getting their short-term forecasts right. [New York Times]
And in other green news:
Clean streak: While we’re talking surveys, a Financial Times poll shows overwhelming support for renewable energy among respondents in the U.S. and five European countries. But there’s a catch — they only support renewables if switching doesn’t raise their electric bills too much. Wind farms are big hit, particularly in the U.S. — 87 percent of the Americans surveyed said they’d like to see more turbines built here. On nuclear power, those polled were evenly divided in the U.S., Great Britain, and France, but in Germany, where the government has just made a big commitment to keeping its nuclear plants running, almost 80 percent said they don’t like it. Still, most who responded said they’d fall out of love with renewable energy if it raised their bills more than 5 percent. [The Hill]
They will train them how to greet rabbits: Wal-Mart’s getting serious about this green thing. It announced yesterday that it will start buying more produce from local farms and investing in training for small and medium-sized farmers. [New York Times]
Better latte than never: And Starbucks has started a pilot program in many of its New York shops where customers can throw used cups in special recycle bins. To give you an idea of how big a deal this is, Starbucks goes through 3 billion cups a year in the U.S. alone. [GreenBiz]
Elephant waste: Let’s not jump to conclusions, but the latest ranking of energy efficiency by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy reflects a curious correlation between political leanings and energy conservation. States that usually vote Democratic tend to rank high — California’s no. 1 and Massachusetts is no. 2 — while Republican states — North Dakota and Mississippi — are at the bottom of the list. [Ecopolitology]
Keep doughnuts on hand: The agency that oversees offshore oil rigs says it will actually start making surprise inspections on oil rigs again. These stopped during the George W. Bush years for what were said to be national security reasons. [Reuters]
That’s when it’s really bad: The slowdown in permits being processed for shallow-water drilling in the Gulf apparently has less to do with tougher regulations and more to do with confusion over what “worst case scenario” means. [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
Bleachcomber: Unusually warm ocean water this summer may cause it to be the worst year ever for coral bleaching in the Caribbean. [Science]
All Chued up: The Washington grind may soon be claiming another victim in the Obama administration. The word is that Energy Secretary Stephen Chu will be dropping out of the D.C. swirl after the November elections. The reasons: Washington burnout, and some White House dissatisfaction with Chu’s agency, which hasn’t been approving projects quickly enough to get more stimulus money into the economy. [energyNOW!]
Dooming business: When he’s not on his witch hunt against climate scientist Michael Mann, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is out there singing lead in what EPA chief Lisa Jackson might describe as the Doomsayer’s Chorus. At a recent energy conference, Cuccinelli ranted that government regulation of greenhouse gases gives businesses two choices: “Move or die.” He’s one of the state attorneys general suing the EPA over its efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. [Washington Post]
Married to the knob: New research by NASA scientists offers more evidence that carbon dioxide is the “control knob” of the planet’s climate. Remove it from the atmosphere and, their analysis shows, the Earth’s temperature would plummet. But on the flip side:
The continuing high rate of atmospheric CO2 increase is particularly worrisome, because the present CO2 level of 390 ppm (parts per million) is far in excess of the 280 ppm that is more typical for the interglacial maximum, and still the atmospheric CO2 knob is now being turned faster than at any time in the geological record.
On that note, happy weekend.