The Economist has issued its predictions for the world in 2008, and here’s what they’re banking on: The Democrats, and particularly Hillary Clinton, narrowly win the upcoming presidential election. Meanwhile the United States, which has never met a bubble it doesn’t like, will get mired down with housing and credit problems. And looking for a new economic engine, the world will turn to China and India. Even better for China, it will host the Olympics in Beijing, win many medals, and feel like it has arrived (or rather re-arrived) as a nation. But perhaps feeling a bit too proud, it might ratchet up tensions with Taiwan, while the U.S. surprises everyone, even itself, by possibly striking a “grand bargain” with Iran. Other than that, George Bush will accomplish little during the last year of his administration, and politicians will talk lots about climate change. But whether they actually do anything is anyone’s guess.
For more predictions, check out The Economist’s full write-up, and keep an eye on The Economist podcast (iTunes – Feed – Web Site) where I’m sure these issues will get fuller coverage in the coming days.
The Kyoto Protocol: The U.S. versus the World?
Using a variety of public opinion polls over a number of years and from a number of countries this paper revisits the questions of crossnational public concern for global warming first examined over a decade ago. Although the scientific community today speaks out on global climatic change in essentially a unified voice concerning its anthropogenic causes and potential devastating impacts at the global level, it remains the case that many citizens of a number of nations still seem to harbor considerable uncertainties about the problem itself. Although it could be argued that there has been a slight improvement over the last decade in the public’s understanding regarding the anthropogenic causes of global warming, the people of all the nations studied remain largely uniformed about the problem. In a recent international study on knowledge about global warming, the citizens of Mexico led all fifteen countries surveyed in 2001 with just twenty-six percent of the survey respondents correctly identifying burning fossil fuels as the primary cause of global warming. The citizens of the U.S., among the most educated in the world, where somewhere in the middle of the pack, tied with the citizens of Brazil at fifteen percent, but slightly lower than Cubans. In response to President Bush’s withdrawal of the Kyoto Protocol in 1991, the U.S. public appears to be far more supportive of the action than the citizens of a number of European countries where there was considerable outrage about the decision.