Extreme weather events are waking Americans up to reality of climate change

Just as I suspected, the Frontline documentary “Climate of Doubt” was a little out of date. In its zeal to drive home its main claim–that a massive propaganda campaign by climate change denialists convinced the public that global warming was nothing to worry about–the program neglected the findings of a recent poll. According to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication  it seems that the severe weather events of spring and summer  2012  woke people up: for the first time a majority of Americans believe that our actions are causing the planet to warm. The report says, “more than half of Americans (54%) believe global warming is caused mostly by human activities, an increase of 8 points since March 2012.” Furthermore,

Americans’ belief in the reality of global warming has increased by 13 percentage points over the past two and a half years, from 57 percent in January 2010 to 70 percent in September 2012. At the same time, the number of Americans who say global warming is not happening has declined nearly by half, from 20 percent in January 2010 to only 12 percent today.

So the skeptics and deniers are a shrinking minority. See the “Climate of Doubt” website for related articles that provide context and evidence supporting the documentary’s claims. The hundreds of comments on the program come from the usual mix of deniers and scientific realists; it is dispiriting to see how many of the former persist in sharing their willful ignorance in absolutist terms. But one commenter helpfully shares the name of a new group you can join to take action: Citizens Climate Lobby. Another group everyone should support is 350.org.

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