With the death of the Senate energy bill, efforts to combat global climate change have reached a standstill. It does not appear that a cap-and-trade scheme is anywhere in the near future.
A number of factors killed the energy bill. Democrats from states dependent upon traditional energy, such as West Virginia, did not support the bill. Neither did previous cooperative Republicans, such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Perhaps most importantly – and least mentioned – was the economic recession, which shifted the public’s concern from the environment to the pocketbook.
There was also another factor, a factor which should not have – but did – increase skepticism. This was the unusually cold winter from 2009 to 2010. A fair number of people must have thought something along the lines of “It is very cold right now – therefore global warming does not exist.” This type of attitude will continue to plague combatants of climate change as long as unusually cold winters continue to exist – which they will, given that even the worst case global warming scenarios posit an increase in temperature of less than five degrees Fahrenheit this century, far too little to end winter.
This blogger therefore has a PR suggestion for folks drumming up support to fight global warming. Instead of emphasizing the increase in temperatures, they ought to focus upon the increasing occurrence of extreme natural disasters resulting from climate change, such as Hurricane Katrina. Extremely cold winters could be used not as proof that global warming doesn’t exist, but as yet more evidence of disturbingly extreme weather caused by climate change.
A new name would help. Global warming doesn’t work, for obvious reasons. Climate change is too boring and non-attention grabbing. Adding an adjective – “extreme” climate change, for instance – would improve things. Something with words such as “intensified” and “disruptive” might work too.
This type of name-changing is harder than it initially sounds. After around an hour of thought, this individual could not come up with a non-ridiculous but adequately scary-sounding name. Scientists would eventually figure out something, however. They’re a smart bunch.