Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Number of People Believing in Global Warming Has Declined Dramatically in the Past Three Years; Can Any Republican Presidential Candidate Pass This Litmus Test Issue?

Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic shift in public opinion as to the global warming issue.   According to Pew Research Center, in 2006 79% of Americans believed there was solid evidence of global warming and 50% said it was caused mostly by human activity. By the 2010, a Pew Report poll showed those numbers were down to 59% and 34%.

The public opinion shift is even more dramatic among Republicans. In 2007, 62% of Republicans believed there was solid evidence of global warming.  Just three years later, only 38% of Republicans believed there was solid evidence of global warming and only 16% said that the warming is due to human activity.

The dilemma for the field of Republican candidates is that virtually all of them signed on board with the global warming agenda, such as Cap-and-Trade, before public opinion turned.

The Atlantic reports:
Nowadays, you'd be hard pressed to find a Republican who supports the policy, after conservatives railed for two years against "cap-and-tax" as a job-killing government overreach. Backlash against the policy helped Republicans take over the House in November, after House Democrats passed Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) cap-and-trade bill in June 2009 over resistance from the GOP minority. Republican candidates campaigned against cap-and-trade en masse in 2010, and it worked out in their favor.

After all that, Republican White House hopefuls have revised their previously held energy stances.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty supported cap-and-trade in 2007 but has since urged Congress to reject it. He won plaudits from RedState's Erick Erickson for apologizing for his prior cap-and-trade support in the first Republican presidential debate, held last week in South Carolina.

Mitt Romney has incorporated President Obama's support for cap-and-trade into fundraising pitches, but in 2005 Romney supported an early emissions-capping system -- a regional agreement that would require Northeastern states to cut power-plant emissions by 2020.
Politifact deemed Sarah Palin to have flip-flopped on cap-and-trade, but it's a bit more complicated -- she began to supported it as McCain's runningmate. VP candidates generally adopt the presidential candidate's platform when tapped to join a ticket, though Palin continued to differ with McCain on other matters.

Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, told Frontline in 2007 that "I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there's a package there that's very, very good. And frankly, it's something I would strongly support." And he cut a TV ad with then-speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2008 calling for action on climate change. Since then, he's campaigned against it.

Des this mean none of these candidates can win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination?

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
Probably not, and for this simple reason: There's no one around to criticize them. Cap-and-trade flip-flops could pave the way for a second-tier candidate like Herman Cain or former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), but, with so much of the top tier having held the same stances just a few years ago, climate flip-flops are actually the norm in the Republican field. None of these candidates risks getting hammered on cap-and-trade by a gang of substantial and threatening rivals, because no such gang exists.
But what about our very own possible presidential candidate, Governor Mitch Daniels?  Could he take advantage of a Republican presidential candidates weighed down by climate change opinions that have now found disfavor with the public and especially the Republican electorate.

Well fortunately for Daniels, he was ahead of the curve on cap-and-trade.  On March 15, 2009, a column appeared in the Wall Street Journal in which he criticized the bill.  Here are some snippets from the essay:
This week Congress is set to release the details of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, a bill that purports to combat global warming by setting strict limits on carbon emissions. I'm not a candidate for any office -- now or ever again -- and I've approached the "climate change" debate with an open-mind. But it's clear to me that the nation, and in particular Indiana, my home state, will be terribly disserved by this cap-and-trade policy on the verge of passage in the House.
The largest scientific and economic questions are being addressed by others, so I will confine myself to reporting about how all this looks from the receiving end of the taxes, restrictions and mandates Congress is now proposing.
The Waxman-Markey legislation would more than double electricity bills in Indiana. Years of reform in taxation, regulation and infrastructure-building would be largely erased at a stroke. In recent years, Indiana has led the nation in capturing international investment, repatriating dollars spent on foreign goods or oil and employing Americans with them. Waxman-Markey seems designed to reverse that flow. "Closed: Gone to China" signs would cover Indiana's stores and factories.
And for what? No honest estimate pretends to suggest that a U.S. cap-and-trade regime will move the world's thermometer by so much as a tenth of a degree a half century from now. My fellow citizens are being ordered to accept impoverishment for a policy that won't save a single polar bear.
No one in Indiana is arguing for the status quo: Hoosiers have been eager to pursue a new energy future. We rocketed from nowhere to national leadership in biofuels production in the last four years. We were the No. 1 state in the growth of wind power in 2008. And we have embarked on an aggressive energy-conservation program, indubitably the most cost-effective means of limiting CO2.

Most importantly, we are out to be the world leader in making clean coal -- including the potential for carbon capture and sequestration. The world's first commercial-scale clean coal power plant is under construction in our state, and the first modern coal-to-natural gas plant is coming right behind it. We eagerly accept the responsibility to develop alternatives to the punitive, inequitable taxation of cap and trade.

Our president has commendably committed himself to "government that works." But his imperial climate-change policy is government that cannot work, and we humble colonials out here in the provinces have no choice but to petition for relief from the Crown's impositions.
However, Governor Daniels position on global warming might not be as popular as one might believe from the Wall Street Journal article.  According to a March 18, 2011 article in American Thinker entitled "The Case Against Mitch Daniels," the conservative magazine cited as a a reason to not support Daniels for President is that he "believes in anthropogenic [man-made] global warming and that humanity needs to act urgently to stop it."  The source for this conclusion is not clear as it is not sourced.

The reason so many Republicans elected officials are caught on the wrong side of this issue is nothing more than intellectual peer pressure.  For years, we heard the mantra....that all the smart scientists had gotten together and all agreed that the Earth was dramatically warming and we needed to take dramatic action or the Earth would face a calamity.  Anyone who questioned this "scientific consensus" was labeled as ignorant.  You weren't even allowed to debate the issue because we were told the debate was over.  Quite frankly, smart guys like Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and perhaps Mitch Daniels, probably accepted the global warming theory as fact, because they did not want their intellect questioned.

Now though several scientists have publicly challenged the global warming theory.  Supporters of the theory were caught discussing how to frame and edit the scientific evidence to support their political agenda in emails. Public opinion has dramatically shifted.  Now the political intelligentsia, at least those wearing Republican stripes, find themselves on the wrong side of the issue.  Global warming is heading to the scrap heap of history to join that other scary theory I remember growing up, global cooling.  The political debate is over.  You lost, Al Gore.


marksmall2001 said...

I have to disagree with you on this one. The vast majority of scientists believe human activities have drastically altered our climate. Whether a majority of the American public believes so is not dispositive of the issue. And e-mails incating that a scientist here or there discussed fudging numbers for isolated matters does not negate the body of evidence---e.g., the ice caps melting and all the rain we have experienced. One writer has suggested doing a search on or about whether global warming as a theory is generally accepted by scientists. In science, opinions of scientists mean only general acceptance of a theory. Facts as determined through observation and testing are more important. With this issue, however, the long-term risks are catastrophic. And if you would like to debate the matter, we can arrange that.

Jedna Vira said...

Marksmall2001, I would love to hear what "evidence" exists for global warming caused by human activities; by all means, show us. Some melting of the polar ice caps and more rain is not evidence of human activities altering our climate. This might be one of the most narcissistic and prideful theories I have heard. "We humans are capable of destroying the planet without authorization from the creator.” The truth of the matter is that our planet may be going through some changes in weather patterns, but Earth is not going anywhere until God decides it's time to check out. However, if you are "hell-bent" on believing this hoax" and ultimate demise of this world, then I would suggest reconciling with God before it's time to check out. While conservation and proper management of our resources is important, requiring certain behaviors of people for power and financial gain is disgusting and dishonest. You provide the evidence and I’ll be happy to show how foolish you are; along with all the other evolving monkeys.

M Theory said...

Paul...Mark can can point you doctored data. And if you believe the data is pure, then you will believe Mark.

However, the data is skewed.

I'm sure Mark has not read Lord Monckton's research which clearly shows how the "scientific" community knowingly doctored reports and knowingly refused to release data that points to global warming being a fraud.


The fact is that our climate change is directly related to what is happening on the sun and there is nothing we can do to alter it.

One volcano creates more carbon emissions than all the human activity combined.

We are not in control. Mother Nature is.

M Theory said...

Ron Paul spoke out against Cap and Trade many times.

Ron Paul wants to end the corruption with the Fed and wrote a very popular bill nicknamed "Audit The Fed".

Ron Paul currently heads the House Banking Committee and puts Bernacke in the hot seat often.

Ron Paul believes torture to be useless, not to mention immoral.

Ron Paul wants to get us out of foreign occupations and will never launch a war (military action) without congressional approval.

Ron Paul has a long standing history of doing what he says.

If you hate hypocrisy, you will love Ron Paul.

Ron Paul can raise more than a million dollars in a single day, as evidenced by yet another money bomb organized by his grass roots supporters just last week.

Ron Paul has a huge following among America's youth.

Ron Paul is polling very high. A recent CNN poll showed that he is the most likely Republican to beat Obama.

And unlike Obama, Ron Paul won't just play lip service to closing Gitmo and ending war.

If you want the White House full of the status quo Goldman Sachs bankers and war mongering NEOCONS, then keep on voting how you usually do.

M Theory said...


Lord Monckton won the global warming debate this time last year at the Oxford Union.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Mark, I started to get into certain problems with the methodology of global warming proponents, but that would have taken the posting off into a completely different direction.

The problem is that science has become politicized. They are in pursuit of an agenda, and not objectively viewing the evidence. For example, the global warming crowd insists on just looking at the last 140 years of temperature data, feeding that information into a computer and coming up with all sorts of scary scenarios. 140 years out of 4.5 billion years is nothing. Our planet goes through temperature flucations that last tens of thousands of years and more. Why not look at all temperature records. Although there was not formal record keeping beyond 140 years, climatoligists can measure the temperature of the planet by other methods.

The reason they are not intersted in those other records is that it doesn't support their agenda. The planet has been warmer than it is today, without man made activity. The current trend could simply be a blip in temperature pattern, blips that have been happening siince the plaent was first formed.

They have also never made the case that a warmer planet is a bad thing. In fact, mankind tends to do better when the planet warms. The plague took place during an Ice Age. Most plagues do take place during cooling periods.

Bottom line is science has become politicized by people pursuing a political agenda instead of scientific truth. That's a real tragedy.