Hot out? Guess that means that everyone believes in climate change again
Yesterday, we celebrated the 110th birthday of the air conditioner. (Happy day-after-your-birthday, air conditioner!)
We illustrated that post with one of the oldest photos of an air-conditioning system we could find, a unit installed in the Capitol in 1938. It’s a huge thing, all pipes and bolts and such.
And installing it was obviously a major, major mistake.
You see, yet again, it turns out that more people believe in climate change when they feel hot.
In the four months since March there has been a jump in U.S. citizens’ belief that climate change is taking place, especially among independent voters and those in southern states such as Texas, which is now in its second year of record drought, according to nationwide polls by the University of Texas.
In a poll taken July 12-16, 70 percent of respondents said they think the climate is changing, compared with 65 percent in a similar poll in March. Those saying it’s not taking place fell to 15 percent from 22 percent, according to data set to be released this week by the UT Energy Poll.
Please note that this is not the same survey as the one in May or in February or last September. This is a whole new survey suggesting that belief has risen again after falling after each of those previous studies.
If someone tells you that this is a sign that Americans are finally accepting climate reality, that person is what’s known as an “optimist.” Put a glass half full of water in front of them and then wait. Eventually, they’ll be overwhelmed with how much water there is and drink it, because it is hot out. I’m all for optimism. I just think it would be silly to believe that this time — no matter how outrageous the weather — this time it’s going to stick.
But it does mean that we have options. Let’s remove that air conditioner from the Capitol! (Or, should the original have been replaced at some point over the last 74 years, its replacement.) Let’s festoon the building’s marble hallways with dead plants! If human instinct is to tie heat to belief in global warming, let’s make them believe. With this plan in place, climate legislation will pass unanimously in the House and 99-to-1 in the Senate.
Yeah, 99-to-1. Not even an optimist would think we could convince Sen. Inhofe.
Get Grist in your inbox