President Barack Obama will take the case for acting on climate change to Al Roker and other TV weather personalities, hoping they can help convince the public that the risks of floods and droughts is a reason to curb greenhouse gases.
It’s no easy sell.
While a government advisory panel is set to release a report today linking the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to dangerous flooding, storm surges and water shortages, the American public is skeptical that humans are causing climate change and ranks the issue low on its list of priorities.
“We find no evidence that it’s a high priority for Americans,” Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, said in an interview. “They are much more concerned about more proximate issues such as jobs and the economy.”
Even among environmental issues, global warming rates as a lower priority than polluted drinking water or toxic waste, he said. It doesn’t show up at all among the issues citizens say are the most important facing the nation.
The authors of today’s National Climate Assessment are trying to provide reasons that climate change should be a bigger concern. The panel already approved and released a draft report last January that said many regions face “potentially irreversible impacts” as warmer temperatures lead to flooding, storm surges or water shortages.
The final report, which details the effects of climate change on specific regions, is likely to preserve that general tenor. The scientists from academia, industry, environmental groups and the government prepared the report, and its findings are the closest to a consensus about global warming in the U.S.
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