Friday, May 9, 2014

President and Global Warming

President Obama believes – like Secretary Kerry – that global warming is a Doom’s Day issue. Kerry said in a recent speech to Indonesian students that it was more serious than nuclear proliferation, a comparison that was considered in many quarters as out of proportion.

But, global warming as a priority is not shared by the American people. The issue is considered a major threat to this country by only 40 percent of the public, well below most of the rest of the world. When asked to rate the importance of issues, global warming is usually at the bottom of the list, below the economy, the deficit and health care. When foreign items are included, it rates below Islamic extremism and Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

The President’s interest after years of neglect has been a rhetoric regular, but no real effort put behind, makes it look more like a 2014 campaign theme for liberal and youth turnout than any sudden reprioritization. In fact, in 2009, when the newly inaugurated Obama had political clout and control of the House, the main climate change legislation, cap and trade, was held back as Obamacare and finance issues were given priority, to never to be seriously considered again.

At this point in his career, the President is a more of a polarizer than a persuader. What support for climate change action exists is highly divided by partisanship. Only 27 percent of respondents to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll said climate change should be a top priority this year. Three times the number of Democrats than Republicans agreed, but even among Democrats, it was less than a majority.

See Wall Street Journal: Obama Climate-change push faces a lukewarm public

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