By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
Last year a Gallup survey said only 36% of Americans think global warming will ever “pose a serious threat to their way of life in their lifetime.” This year, the Chapman University Survey of American Fears began with a list of 88 things that could trigger anxieties and fears, including a “huge variety of topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others.”
Guess what? Even though America’s political parties are ideologically miles apart — Democrat Bernie Sanders warns that “climate change is America’s biggest national security threat” and Republicans like science denier Sen. Jim Inhofe calls global warming “conspiracy and “hoax” — the American Fears poll is quite clear: only 30.7% of Main Street American respondents in the survey said global warming made them “afraid” or “very afraid.” “Global warming” didn’t even make it into America’s Top 20 Fears.
Obviously, most Americans, most city-dwellers, most average folks in developed countries like America are tone deaf, tuning out comments on Bloomberg: “New York Set to Reach Climate Point of No Return in 2047.” Or when the Washington Post “predicts temperatures too hot for Persian Gulf may be too hot for human survival,” in less than two generations.
Here are some risky things Americans found far more dangerous than global warming. The scary fact is that while any one of these may well trigger a major disaster in the short term, like we just saw in Paris, global warming is certain to trigger a global disaster in the long runorruptio
Government corruption (58%)
Money rules, getting worse: Lobbying, elections, campaign fraud, payoffs, etc.
Cyber terrorism, cyber wars (44.8%)
China, Iran, North Korea, security experts say our energy grid will be crashed.
Corporate tracking of personal data (44.6%)
OK, they need the big data in massive clouds but it’s too easy to get mine.
Terrorist attacks (44.4%)
If this survey had been taken after the Paris attacks, this would be No. 1.
Government tracking of personal info (41.6%)
Expect lots more tracking to balance efforts to track potential terrorists.
Biological-chemical warfare (40.9%)
World recently saw Asad’s brutal Syrian regime gas its own people. Who’s next?
Identity theft (36.9%)
New credit cards got security chip. Currency has stripe. Counterfeiters do too.
Economic collapse (39.2%)
In 2000, Wall Street lost $8 trillion. In 2008, $10 trillion. Next in 2016.
Running out of money (37.4%)
Unfortunately, too many Americans have too little savings, rely on Social Security.
Credit-card fraud (36.9%)
Credit cards added a new security chip. Counterfeiters upped their game.
So there we go, the top fears worrying Americans in 2015. And global warming, climate change and the environment not even in the top 20: 21. Global warming (30.7%)
Will the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change coming up in Paris move “global warming” fears higher on the scale? Probably not soon enough.
“Biggest Economies still backing Fossil Fuels,” warns a ClimateNewsNetwork headline: The G-20, “World’s 20 leading economies give nearly four times as much in subsidies to fossil-fuel production as total global subsidies to renewable energy.” Still, we’re filled with hope, convinced that by the 2020 elections, Big Oil and the GOP will finally wake up to reality, surrender and stop fighting the “End of The Oil Age.”