Year 4, Month 4, Day 24: Hitting The Snooze Button For The 2000th Time

The Stanford Daily (CA) notes a new survey from the Woods Institute which indicates that some folks are waking up a bit:

Seventy-three percent of survey respondents predicted that a future rise in the sea level will be a serious problem, and only 16 percent of the public said they would want to wait until the effects of climate change directly impact them before taking action.

“The results suggest that Americans are very supportive of preparing for the effects of sea level rise and storms likely to be induced by climate change,” Krosnick said. “The least support appeared for policy approaches that involved trying to fight Mother Nature, building concrete walls or putting more and more sand along the coastline to keep the oceans back.”

The majority of the survey respondents—62 percent—said that building codes should be strengthened for coastal structures, while 52 percent wanted to enact measures preventing new construction on the coast.

The results also reveal that 82 percent of Americans are supportive of preparing for the effects of sea-level rise and storms, but only 38 percent believe that the government should pay for it. Sixty percent said that people living or running businesses along the coastline should be responsible for funding preparation efforts.

“If they choose to be [on the coastline], they choose to place themselves in harm’s way,” Krosnick said. “The message from the survey is that after the government does this work, the government should pay for it by increasing the property taxes of people and businesses along the coasts rather than increasing everyone’s taxes.”

Awake, but still utterly clueless. Sent April 12:

As extreme weather becomes the new “normal”, it’s no wonder that we’re seeing a major shift in American attitudes about climate change, as demonstrated by the Woods Institute poll. More and more of us recognize that the greenhouse effect’s consequences are happening here and now — and that’s good news.

The notion that people who live in areas threatened by rising sea levels should pay more to cover the cost of reinforcing coastal infrastructure makes a certain kind of sense — at first. Ultimately, however, this viewpoint gets washed away by the simple fact that all of us are at risk. Whether it’s the droughts currently hammering our agricultural sector, the invasive pine beetles turning Colorado forests into tinder, or the battered coastline of New Jersey, nowhere in America (or on Earth) is isolated from the impact of a transformed climate.

With one exception. In the air-conditioned offices of conservative politicians, it’s business as usual; these anti-science lawmakers and their corporate paymasters have ensured that our government will remain toothless and hamstrung in the face of the most significant threat our civilization confronted in recorded history.

Warren Senders

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