by Ray Fleming

The climate change debate has gone quiet since last year's Durban Conference although that meeting's agreements and recommendations are now work in progress. One reason for the lack of interest is that in the United States the Obama government is unwilling to promote climate change legislation in an election year. The basic Republican party and big business position is that “climate change doesn't exist but if it does it's an attack on freedom and capitalism.” However, a poll released yesterday by George Mason University, whose Knowledge Networks polls specialise in scientific subjects, showed that American people are quite strongly in favour of the view that global warming and climate change exist and are responsible for unusual recent weather patterns in many parts of the US, ranging from excessive heat waves to record snowfalls. When a representative sample of one thousand people was asked to agree or disagree with the statement: “Global warming is affecting the weather in the United States”, 69 per cent said they agreed. Other groups were asked a similar question in relation to specific weather phenomena and, again, a substantial majority answered affirmatively. Two polls will not end the American debate on climate change but the public's response in this case is in line with the great majority of independent scientific thinking in the United States. Perhaps there are votes in an active climate change policy after all.

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