A Cooling Trend in Global Warming

Nov. 1, 2009
Revisiting ‘A Historic Opportunity’

In July 2006, HPAC Engineering published a guest editorial titled “A Historic Opportunity,” written by Edward Mazria, AIA, founder of Architecture 2030, an organization dedicated to “rapidly transform(ing) the U.S. and global building sector from the major contributor of greenhouse-gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the global-warming crisis.” The editorial was met with an onslaught of letters that either hailed Mazria as a visionary or decried him as an alarmist who talks about global warming with dollar signs glowing in his eyes.

At the time, polls showed that nearly 80 percent of Americans felt global warming was a serious issue requiring immediate action before mankind ruined the biosphere forever. There was tons of scientific evidence supporting those fears and just as much contradicting it. As one letter writer said, “One can always find sources to contradict any science.”

Last month, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press polled 1,500 adults, finding their attitude about global warming has cooled somewhat — only 57 percent still believe there's strong evidence Mother Earth is warming because of man-made pollution.

The conclusion researchers drew is that global warming isn't as pressing of an issue as it was three years ago. According to Andrew Kohut, president of Pew Research Center, the reason for this decline in concern can be attributed to a focus on other things, such as the economy, which most likely has sent climate issues to the back burner. Interestingly, the poll also says half of the respondents still support limiting the emission of greenhouse gases, even if it could lead to higher energy prices.

Now, while this is simply one poll with a relatively small sampling, it does make an interesting point: Designing systems that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is still important to customers and potential customers. In this age of environmental responsibility, this not only is responsible, it could be profitable, no matter which side of the climate-change debate you're on. That's my opinion.

But what do you think? If climate issues aren't as important to the average American as they were three years ago, what does that mean to the green-building movement? What does it mean to your customers? What does it mean to your business? Please drop me a note and share your thoughts. I'd love to publish your insights and ideas here.

Meanwhile, look for continued editorial coverage of both the green movement and legislative issues surrounding climate change here in HPAC Engineering.

Send comments and suggestions to [email protected].