Jordan Candler / April 22, 2016

Most Americans Enjoy Global Warming Trend

“80% of Americans live in counties that are experiencing more pleasant weather.”

Environmental concerns don’t exactly rank near the top of most Americans’ worries. There are a few reasons for that. One is because there are far more urgent problems to deal with — like how to mitigate terrorism and kick-start the still-anemic economy. Junk science also has a lot to do with it. But another reason could be that most Americans actually enjoy the effects of global warming. (Imagine that!) In a new study published in the journal Nature, New York University’s Patrick J. Egan and Duke University’s Megan Mullin write:

“Using previous research on how weather affects local population growth to develop an index of people’s weather preferences, we find that 80% of Americans live in counties that are experiencing more pleasant weather than they did four decades ago. Virtually all Americans are now experiencing the much milder winters that they typically prefer, and these mild winters have not been offset by markedly more uncomfortable summers or other negative changes.”

Still, the authors say to enjoy the pleasant environment while it lasts. “Climate change models predict that this trend is temporary, however, because US summers will eventually warm more than winters,” they add. “Under a scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions proceed at an unabated rate (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5), we estimate that 88% of the US public will experience weather at the end of the century that is less preferable than weather in the recent past. Our results have implications for the public’s understanding of the climate change problem, which is shaped in part by experiences with local weather.”

But if past climate models were right, the Arctic should be ice-free by now and its subsequent effects would be destroying the world. Of course, we already knew that a warmer climate is far more efficient than a cold one, and is therefore more beneficial to society. Plants, after all, could not survive without CO2, and studies show that plants thrive when more CO2 is in the air. That’s why even if global warming is causing some unwanted effects, a better response is to adapt rather than engage in a futile attempt to reverse it. If we really want to celebrate Earth Day and usher in a greener world, let’s stop trying to choke off its food supply — CO2.

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