NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/06/29
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, A new poll on attitudes toward climate change. A court rejects a claim that the evidence for climate change is shaky. And a preview of David R. Montgomery's The Rocks Don't Lie.
POLLING CLIMATE CHANGE IN THREE COUNTRIES "While a majority of Canadians say that climate change is a fact and is caused by emissions, only two-in-five Americans and Britons concur," according to a June 27, 2012, press release from Angus Reid Public Opinion. Respondents were asked, "Which of the following statements comes closest to your view of global warming (or climate change)?" "Global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities" was preferred by 58% of Canadians, 42% of Americans, and 43% of Britons; "global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by natural changes" was preferred by 20% of Canadians, 21% of Americans, and 27% of Britons; "global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven" was preferred by 14% of Canadians, 21% of Americans, and 21% of Britons; and 8% of Canadians, 16% of Americans, and 9% of Britons were not sure. The full report from Angus Reid also includes data showing the variance among different regions in all three countries -- acceptance of global warming as caused by emissions was strongest in the Atlantic provinces of Canada (75%) and Quebec (71%), the American West (48%), and London and Scotland (48% and 47%) -- and from five previous polls using the same questions conducted from 2009 to 2011. The latest poll was conducted among 1017 American adults, 2026 British adults, and 1004 Canadian adults in May and June 2012; Angus Reid explains, "The margin of error -- which measures sampling variability -- is +/-2.2% for Great Britain and +/-3.1% for the United States and Canada. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of each country." For the press release and the report (PDF) from Angus Reid, visit: http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/45431/global-warming-skepticism-higher-in-u-s-and-britain-than-canada/ http://www.angus-reid.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2012.06.27_Climate.pdf And for NCSE's previous coverage of polls and surveys on climate change, visit: http://ncse.com/polls-climate-change COURT DISMISSES ATTACKS ON CLIMATE SCIENCE A federal court rejected a claim that the evidence for climate change is too uncertain for the United States government to act on it. The case, Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc., et al., v. EPA, involved a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's implementation of the Clean Air Act, filed by a number of states and industry groups. The challenge was based, in part, on the idea that the evidence that anthropogenic climate change is a threat to public health and welfare is shaky. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found otherwise. As part of its eighty-two-page decision issued on June 26, 2012, the court wrote, "The body of scientific evidence marshalled by EPA ... is substantial. EPA's scientific evidence of record included support for the proposition that greenhouse gases trap heat on earth that would otherwise dissipate into space; that this 'greenhouse effect' warms the climate; that human activity is contributing to increased atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases; and that the climate system is warming. Based on this scientific record, EPA made the linchpin finding: in its judgment, the 'root cause' of the recently observed climate change is 'very likely' the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions" (pp. 28-29). As The New York Times (June 26, 2012) summarized, "The judges unanimously dismissed arguments from industry that the science of global warming was not well supported and that the agency had based its judgment on unreliable studies. 'This is how science works,' they wrote. 'The E.P.A. is not required to reprove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.'" The Times added, "The plaintiffs could still ask for a hearing by the full appeals court or decide to appeal to the Supreme Court, but it is not clear whether they will do so, given the emphatic nature of the decision." For the court's decision (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1790 For the story in The New York Times, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/science/earth/epa-emissions-rules-backed-by-court.html A PREVIEW OF THE ROCKS DON'T LIE NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of David R. Montgomery's The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood (W. W. Norton, 2012). The preview consists of chapter 2, "A Grand Canyon," in which Montgomery considers the flood geology book Grand Canyon: A Different View. "The book simply stated that, according to the Bible, Noah's Flood formed the Grand Canyon and all the rocks through which it's cut in under a year. There was no explanation for the multiple alternating layers of different rock types, the erosional gaps in the rock sequence that spoke of ages of lost time, or the remarkable order to the various fossils in the canyon walls. The story was nothing like the tale I read in the rocks I had spen[t] the day hiking past." Describing the book, its publisher writes, "In Tibet, geologist David R. Montgomery heard a local story about a great flood that bore a striking similarity to Noah's Flood. Intrigued, Montgomery began investigating the world?s flood stories and -- drawing from historic works by theologians, natural philosophers, and scientists -- discovered the counterintuitive role Noah's Flood played in the development of both geology and creationism. ... With an explorer's eye and a refreshing approach to both faith and science, Montgomery takes readers on a journey across landscapes and cultures. In the process we discover the [elusive] nature of truth, whether viewed through the lens of science or religion, and how it changed through history and continues changing, even today." For the preview of The Rocks Don't Lie (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/book-excerpt For information about the book from its publisher, visit: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/The-Rocks-Dont-Lie/ Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 420 40th Street, Suite 2 Oakland, CA 94609-2509 510-601-7203 x305 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: http://reports.ncse.com Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncse.com/join