A good friend of mine who is a loyal Republican always says when I discuss global warming science and policy with him: "As long as I am shoveling snow, it is not warm enough." As I said, he is a loyal Republican so he often adds to tweak me: "I will believe global warming when I can play golf in December."
Public opinion about global warming is now in three key blocks. About 55% accepts global warming science and wants sensible action taken. At the other end of the spectrum is about 20% that denies global warming is taking place.
My friend reflects the 25% of people whose views are fluid and for whom their daily weather experience drives their opinion about global warming. This group is the key to global warming politics and action.
Convincing about two-thirds of this group that global warming is real and getting worse is a necessity to reach the 70% threshold where our democratic system responds to public opinion. It is my rule of 70%.
The October snows snowed on global warming among this key group whose views often are shaped by their weather experience. I am sure that I will hear about this snow from my friend.
What will be my response? More conversation and information. I will appeal to his brain, reminding my friend that the ratio of new record highs to new record lows has been getting greater every decade. I will remind him that warm air holds more water vapor and that the amount of moisture in the air has increased 4%, since temperatures have increased 2 degrees fahrenheit already. I will remind him that the Koch Brothers funded research confirms global warming is real and accelerating.
But humans do not decide by the brain alone. My friend's December golf or snow shovel test will be met if the world stays on its current course, but by then enormous damage will be done.