In a recent issue of Nature: Climate Change (Volume 3, April 2013), several studies highlight the relationship of prior belief to present/future acceptance of various ideas. These studies show that people with strongly held prior beliefs will often manipulate evidence to support their held-belief. People without strong prior belief are open to the influence of personal experience and expert consensus. It is suggested that place-based climate change education by highly-trusted sources will influence Americans who fall into this area of ambiguous belief.
Last week, scientists announced that carbon dioxide levels hit 400 parts per million for the first time in human existence. The last time this happened, the earth’s sustained temperatures were about 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer and sea levels were over 80 feet higher than they are today. Florida would have been a narrow strip instead of a broad peninsula, and Washington, D.C. might have offered oceanfront views.