Could This Scary Report Get Americans to Care About Climate?
motherjones.com — Lately we're being bombarded by news about just how dramatically climate change is transforming the United States. Early last week, we learned that 2012 was by far the hottest year on record in the lower 48. Late Friday came another gut punch: a draft of the third US National Climate Assessment. The report describes, among other things, a future of disappearing coastlines, a staggering rise in average temperatures of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (~6 C) this century, and more frequent heat waves and weather extremes. What's more, it bluntly states that our modest efforts thus far are "not sufficient" to avert these devastating futures. If we don't do a lot more to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report warns, the warming will "accelerate significantly." From a public opinion perspective, it's hard to think of a more propitious moment for the arrival of such a document. Polling suggests that Americans are increasingly aware—and unnerved—that our world is changing rapidly.