Friday, December 5, 2014

Don Gaede 4-28-2014 - Steep learning curve on climate

Steep learning curve on climate

As Paul Krugman pointed out in his April 23 column, the climate threat should be solved: "The science is solid; the technology is there; the economics look far more favorable than anyone expected."

But a number of hurdles stand in the way of the solution. One obstacle was revealed in a recent AP poll. Forty percent of Americans are "not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases."

It reminds me of the long learning curve we Americans required to recognize the dangers of smoking. According to a 1958 Gallop poll, 44% of us did not believe that smoking caused cancer. This was the case even though for several decades, many doctors and public health organizations raised concerns that tobacco was the cause of serious health issues.

Now, 56 years later, followed by a whole lot of education, legislation and several Surgeon General's reports, only 4% of us doubt that smoking causes cancer.

I'm confident that the vast majority of Americans will eventually recognize the threat of climate change. I just hope it doesn't take another 56 years for that to happen.  

Don Gaede

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