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

Environmentalist; Father; Senior Citizen; Husband, Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work Advocate; Animal/Children/People Lover (in general); Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin, Anti-long distance travel (via fossil fuel burning); Against militarism in any form; Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; for those in authority to listen attentively AND, as warranted, ACT AS NECESSARY AND IN A TIMELY MANNER TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE those concerns; Lover of music, especially live music, music by: David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young; John Prine; Steve Goodman; B.B. King; Eric Burton; Gracy Slick, Carol King;John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr; Bob Dylan; Lightfoot; Mark Knoffler; Richard Thompson; Elvis Presley; Tom Petty; Willie Nelson, Others too numerous to mention.

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