As an A) ecologist, B) conservation activist, and C) evaluator for CPB's Climate Literacy Project, I cannot say how much I loved hearing this explanation during the broadcast. It is absolutely vital that we [the scientific community] communicate the severity of climate change to the general public in clear terms.
However, I did feel the intro of the broadcast was a bit misleading. While a few European countries do politically debate what to do about climate change, none of them debate its existance other than the US.
In a 2006 poll, in 23 of 30 countries the majority of the population (averaging 65%) agreed with the scientific community that global warming was a “very serious” problem. The only countries where this was not the majority position held were the six developing countries of China (39%), Indonesia (44%), Kenya (44%), South Africa (44%), the Philippines (46%), Nigeria (47%), and the United States (49%) (WPO 2006).
However, there are indications that the American population is beginning to internalize the realities of climate change. Before 2005, 58% of Americans felt that “extreme weather patterns, including violent storms, flooding, and drought” were “part of a natural pattern.” After the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Americans changed their opinions; now 59% of Americans think these weather patterns are unusual (WPO 2006).
This broadcast was timely because the American population is ripe to receive political, corporate, and educational initiatives to reduce climate change. Brava/o!
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