Wisconsin’s Legislature Ends 2015-2016 Session Without Addressing Poverty, Racial Disparities, Climate Change, and Groundwater Pollution

As far as the Wisconsin State Legislature is concerned, which concluded its 2-year legislative session last week, the problems of poverty, racial disparities in income and education, climate change – with its possibility for more extreme and threatening extremes in the weather and an acceleration of sea level rise (and a warming Great Lakes) – and groundwater pollution – one-third of the wells of residents of Kewaunee County that were tested contain water found unsafe to drink – are not worth their time to discuss.

Dr. Martin Jr. once said: “an injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.” While he seemingly meant those words to apply to the racial injustices, one could just well apply them to generational injustices. Global warming – a long lasting and life-threatening consequence of the last century and today’s fuel burning economic lifestyle, especially in developed countries, — is most certainly a generational injustice.

New Poll Results by FINANCIAL.com show the U.S. population’s concern about global warming is at an eight-year high.

Accepting the reality of human-caused global warming and climate change – not just more costly and more dangerous extreme weather events (such as stronger hurricanes, increases in flooding, longer and hotter heat waves, worse droughts and the increase in disease prone areas throughout the world) and the unprecedented in human history and accelerating rise of the elevation level of the oceans along with its increased acidification – is the necessary first step world citizens must take if we are to have any hope for passing on to our succeeding generations a planet that is fit to live on. The necessary second step is for EVERYONE: including people of all races and places, of all businesses and governments, of all colleges and universities, of tourism organizations and recreational providers, of professional and amateur athletes and their coaches and fans, and all other entities, work towards minimizing and ultimately stopping their daily and annual contributions of greenhouse gas to our atmosphere, what is considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) scientists as a dangerous buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Thursday, 17 March 2016:

The FINANCIAL — Americans are taking global warming more seriously than at any time in the past eight years, according to several measures in Gallup’s annual environment poll. Most emblematic is the rise in their stated concern about the issue. Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say they are worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about global warming, up from 55% at this time last year and the highest reading since 2008.

As they should be. What we’re seeing now, including February’s record smashing global average temperatures, is just the beginning of the unimaginable changes predicted to result from the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, primarily resulting from too much fossil fuel burning, over decades and centuries, mostly in the developed countries of the world.

Mirroring this, the March 2-6 survey — conducted at the close of what has reportedly been the warmest winter on record in the U.S. — documents a slight increase in the percentage of Americans who believe the effects of global warming have already begun. Nearly six in 10 (59%) today say the effects have already begun, up from 55% in March 2015. Another 31%, up from 28% in 2015, believe the effects are not currently manifest but will be at some point in the future. That leaves only 10% saying the effects will never happen, down from 16% last year and the lowest since 2007.

A third key indicator of public concern about global warming is the percentage of U.S. adults who believe the phenomenon will eventually pose a serious threat to them or their way of life. Forty-one percent now say it will, up from 37% in 2015 and, by one point, the highest in Gallup’s trend dating back to 1997.

Americans’ clear shift toward belief in global warming follows a winter that most described in the same poll as being unusually warm. Sixty-three percent say they experienced an unusually warm winter, and the majority of this group ascribes the warm weather pattern to human-caused climate change.

Record 65% Blame Human Activity for Rising Temperatures

That finding relates to another record broken in the new poll — the 65% of Americans now saying increases in the Earth’s temperature over the last century are primarily attributable to human activities rather than natural causes. This represents a striking 10-percentage-point increase in the past year and is four points above the previous high of 61% in 2007.

All Party Groups Show Increased Concern

Concern about global warming has increased among all party groups since 2015, although it remains much higher among Democrats than Republicans and independents. For example, 40% of Republicans say they worry a great deal or fair amount about global warming, up from 31% last year. The percentage of independents expressing concern has also increased nine points, from 55% to 64%. Democrats’ concern is up slightly less, from 78% to 84%.

Democrats and independents also show double-digit increases in the percentages attributing warmer temperatures to human activities. Republicans show a more modest uptick of four points on this question.

Bottom Line

A confluence of factors — the economic downturn, the Climategate controversy and some well-publicized pushback against global warming science — may have dampened public concern about global warming from about 2009 to 2015. However, Americans are now expressing record- or near-record-high belief that global warming is happening, as well as concern about the issue. Several years of unseasonably warm weather — including the 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2015-2016 winters — has potentially contributed to this shift in attitudes. If that’s true, continuation of such weather patterns would likely do more than anything politicians and even climate-change scientists can to further raise public concern.

Above story from “FINANCIAL” was written by Lydia Saad and Jeffrey M. Jones.

“There is nothing more sad or glorious than generations changing hands.” – John Cougar Mellencamp, 1985, on jacket of his album “Scarcrow”, 1985.

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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