December 21, 2012

Apocalypse today?

The poet Robert Frost and Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neumann have little in common. One wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.” The other shrugs, “What? Me worry?”

The Mayan calendar’s predicted Apocalypse today was a non-event. No devastating alignment of our universe occurred. Even NASA posted a “do not worry” about the predicted polar shift and doomsday rumor. So you can now relax and buy a non-Mayan 2013 calendar.

But you should still worry. A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it. That's up slightly from 2009, when 75 percent thought global warming was occurring and just 73 percent thought it was a serious problem.

Broken down by political party, 83 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of independents say the world is getting warmer.

Concern is growing faster among people who rarely trust scientists on the environment. Some doubters now say they believe their own eyes as thermometers rise, New York City subway tunnels flood, polar icecaps melt and Midwestern farm fields dry up.