Climate Files 47 / Are We Lemmings?

Are we climate lemmings?
Are we climate lemmings?

It was announced this morning that President Obama will attend the climate summit in Copenhagen, and he also announced his emissions targets: in the range of 17% by 2020. This is great news! It’s also bad news. Is this the best America can do? This response to climate change is not adequate for the U.S. when other countries are doing more. There is a phenomenon at work here. Two recordings in this episode address expectations at Copenhagen and why people believe what they believe about global warming, and how to possibly change how the public thinks about it. Maybe we can even influence our politicians.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), speaks with correspondent Miles Benson in an interview from Earth Focus, discussing UNEP’s sobering recent report that says we will feel the consequences of climate change soon. Are we lemmings, or why don’t we act more decisively on this issue?

The public opinion talk is from the American Meteorological Society, from an Environmental sciences Seminar Series, and it’s on Public Attitudes, Perceptions, and Concerns about Global Warming, evidence from a survey. This survey is not new, it’s actually from late last year. It was presented in Washington DC by Jon Krosnick, PH.D., Stanford University.

The Krosnick talk has been split into two parts and this episode contains the first part. If you want to hear part two and an additional talk by Jon Krosnick you can find that here.

Are we lemmings refers to a question Achim Steiner was asked during his interview.  It doesn’t mean we don’t believe in global warming, (75% of Americans do, down from 85% of 3 years ago)  it refers to the fact that Americans don’t want to change the status quo or make lifestyle changes unless everyone else in the world does it first.

Other news discussed: Chris Hedges wrote: Refuse Allegiance to Coal. Read it here.

More news:  Latest Science Shows Climate Change Outpacing Previous Projections

United Nations program on Climate change is here. The Climate Change Science Compendium is on this page.

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