Reading the Runes

mt points out over in sci.env that the NYT says (registration required)

Mr. Bush made a nod to the compromise effort at the news conference, saying, "I recognize that the surface of the earth is warmer and that an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem."

Now this is close to Kremlinology, but although this is weak stuff (no numbers) Bush appears to be saying that the earth getting warmer is a problem; and that people are contributing to it. Many skeptics have gone over, from denying any human influence, to saying "of course there is an influence but its small". Bush is obviously avoiding, so far, the std.consensus that "most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities" (IPCC) but saying that our emissions are contrib uting to a problem is, although weaselly, a fair step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, some more entrails, this time of the public sort. "Overwhelming Majority of Americans Favors US Joining With G8 Members to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions" says PIPA (tip: Chris Mooney). Also "The percentage saying that 'there is a consensus among the great majority of scientists that global warming exists and could do significant damage' has risen from 43% in June 2004 to 52% today. The percentage saying that 'scientists are divided on the existence of global warming and its impact' has dropped from 50% to 39%". Unfortunately, this mixes existence with impacts; I'm not really sure how I would answer such a question. I really must read up on the impacts literature sometime.

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