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."
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
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.