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Friday, November 19, 2021
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Why Do Republicans Deny Climate Change

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Why Do Republicans Deny Climate Change Science?

Molly OTooleKeith JohnsonForeign Policy

MIAMI Florida is waging a quixotic battle against climate change that becomes immediately and aggravatingly apparent when driving anywhere in Miami. Endless orange traffic cones, flashing detour signs, and car-swallowing pits clog the streets as the city tries to rebuild overloaded sewer systems and literally raise roads above the encroaching flood waters.

Sitting in his cramped, cluttered office at the University of Miami, geophysics professor Chris Harrison squints at a rising red line on his computer monitor. It shows sea levels in Key West, which have risen 2 mm per year on average in the last hundred years or so. No longer: Now theyre rising by 3 mm each year bad news for a place where the highest elevation is 345 feet. So is Miami eventually doomed to a watery death?

Well, yes, he said.


MIAMI Florida is waging a quixotic battle against climate change that becomes immediately and aggravatingly apparent when driving anywhere in Miami. Endless orange traffic cones, flashing detour signs, and car-swallowing pits clog the streets as the city tries to rebuild overloaded sewer systems and literally raise roads above the encroaching flood waters.

Well, yes, he said.

I dont have a plan to influence the weather, he dismissively answered a question about climate change at a town hall in New Hampshire.

People Who Have Changed Their Position

“I used to be a climate-change skeptic”, conservative columnist Max Boot admitted in 2018, one who believed that “the science was inconclusive” and that worry was “overblown”. Now, he says, referencing the Fourth National Climate Assessment, “the scientific consensus is so clear and convincing.”

Climate change doubter Bob Inglis, a former US representative for South Carolina, changed his mind after appeals from his son on his environmental positions, and after spending time with climate scientist Scott Heron studying coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef. Inglis lost his House race in 2010, and went on to found republicEn, a nonprofit promoting conservative voices and solutions on climate change.


Jerry Taylor promoted climate denialism for 20 years as former staff director for the energy and environment task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council and former vice president of the Cato Institute. Taylor began to change his mind after climate scientist James Hansen challenged him to reread some Senate testimony. He became President of the Niskanen Center in 2014, where he is involved in turning climate skeptics into climate activists, and making the business case for climate action.

Weather Channel senior meteorologist Stu Ostro expressed skepticism or cynicism about anthropogenic global warming for some years, but by 2010, he had become involved in explaining the connections between man-made climate change and extreme weather.”

Farmers And Climate Denial

Seeing positive economic results from efforts at climate-friendly agricultural practices, or becoming involved in intergenerational stewardship of a farm may play a role in turning farmers away from denial. One study of climate change denial among farmers in Australia found that farmers were less likely to take a position of climate denial if they had experienced improved production from climate-friendly practices, or identified a younger person as a successor for their farm.

In the United States, rural climate dialogues sponsored by the Sierra Club have helped neighbors overcome their fears of political polarization and exclusion, and come together to address shared concerns about climate impacts in their communities. Some participants who start out with attitudes of anthropogenic climate change denial have shifted to identifying concerns which they would like to see addressed by local officials.

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Young Republicans See Shift In Gop: ‘from Outright Denial To Climate Caucus’

Twenty-four-year-old Republican Danielle Butcher is watching with anticipation as GOP leaders move from outright denial to now having a climate caucus a move she sees as the first step in integrating climate action into formal party policy.

Butcher, the executive vice president of the American Conservation Coalition , spoke to The Hills Equilibrium on Tuesday, just a week after Rep. John Curtis ;launched the Conservative Climate Caucus and the same day that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

The partys progress is huge, when you apply the context, Butcher said.; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

This is an excellent first step, she continued. The first thing you have to do in achieving climate action is start talking about these problems.

To Butcher, integrating climate action into Republican politics speaks to her partys historic conservation core the GOP with a deep-seated, rural heritage, was responsible for creation of the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency under former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.


I also see this as us reclaiming our heritage, she said.

But with two-thirds of Americans indicating that the government should do more on climate change a stance that Butcher observed is especially true among young people” she said Republicans need to be talking about these issues and involving the younger generation in the discussions.

The GOP has notoriously struggled with young people, she added.

% Of Scientists Agree That Humans Are Causing Global Warming Yet Belief In Climate Change Continues To Depend On Political Beliefs Above All Else

Trump

It is no secret that belief in climate change in America is strongly divided along party lines, a fact we were reminded of in last weeks Republican leadership debates. The relationship was assessed in an experiment by Dan Kahan published in Advances in Political Psychology earlier this year, which demonstrated that there exists an extremely bizarre paradox that is as mind bending as it is troubling. Believe it or not, the more Republicans know about science, the less likely they are to believe in climate change.;

The Ordinary Science Intelligence measure which runs across the bottom of the graphs above measures how likely someone is to answer tests of scientific knowledge and reasoning correctly. For example, someone with an average Ordinary Science Intelligence score has a 70% chance of giving the correct answer to the simple scientific question âelectrons are smaller than atoms â true or falseâ. Someone would have to be a full standard deviation below average to be more likely than not to get this question wrong.


As the graph above shows, a Democrat with an average level of scientific understanding has an 80% chance of believing in global warming, while the equivalent Republican has only a 20% chance. Astonishingly, this number falls even further as Republicansâ scientific literacy increases.

Follow Simon Oxenham on;,;,;,;RSS,;or join the;mailing list;to get each weekâs post straight to your inbox. Image Credit: ;FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty

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Neither I Nor Any Christian I Knew Really Worried About Things Like Pollution Global Warming Climate Change Or Any Of The Other Seemingly Apocalyptic Scenarios Put Forth By The Scientific Community I Thought I Had Insider Information About The End Of The World And It Had Nothing To Do With Climate Change

When it comes to Christian eschatology, there are numerous end-times scenarios embraced by evangelicals. The details may change but the main plot rarely does. In general, there are three main theories: Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism. The first posits that the end of time will bring a tribulation of suffering, that Jesus will return, and that Christians will be raptured, which is when Jesus takes the faithful back up to heaven with him. Within this theory are two types: pre-tribbers and post-tribbers. Pre-tribbers believe that true Christians will be raptured first and that seven years of hellish suffering brought by the Antichrist will follow, after which Jesus will return again to rule over the earth for the remainder of the Great Tribulation and give people one more chance to reject him before destroying the world. Post-tribbers contend that Christians wont be raptured until the tribulation ends and must evangelize during this time.

Postmillennialism holds that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will happen after a thousand years of relative peace on earth made possible by the practice of Christian ethics, at which time final judgment and the Rapture will occur and the world will end.


The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

A Majority Of Republicans Say They Support Policies To Mitigate Climate Change

Percentage of Republicans in each congressional district who agree thatwe should regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant

National average:57%

A majority of Republicans in almost every congressional district support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, even when they dont believe those emissions are causing climate change.

That may seem like a paradox, but theres a long history of support among people of all partisan backgrounds for regulating pollution basic things like clean water and clean air, Professor Egan said. To the extent global warming is framed that way, it raises support for policy interventions more than the abstract concept of climate change.


Despite this majority support, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has worked to repeal Obama-era policies regulating power plant emissions. He has also raised questions over whether his agency should be regulating greenhouse gases at all.

Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina who is working to get others in his party to accept climate change, said that Republicans are often willing to embrace solutions, even if they say they dont believe in climate change.

It doesnt help to point the finger at conservatives and ask, Do you believe? he said. By showing me a solution that fits with my values, Ive got a way to accept the existence of the problem.

Republican support for various policy proposals, nationwide

Support


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Yet Half Of Republicans Say That Climate Change Is Happening With Strongest Support On The Coasts And In Places Where Climate Effects Are Now Being Felt

Percentage of Republicans in each congressional district who say that global warming is happening

National average:50%

Climate views at the local level tend to reflect where liberal and moderate Republicans live compared to conservative Republicans,said Patrick J. Egan, a professor of politics and public policy at New York University. So its no surprise that Republicans in major cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York are most likely to say climate change is happening.

But, there are also tantalizing hints that geographic vulnerability to climate change may affect opinion, Professor Egan said.


For example, in south Florida, an area vulnerable to sea level rise and increased risk of extreme weather, an estimated 56 percent of Republicans agree that climate change is happening. A majority of Republicans in both Alaska and Hawaii say the same.

Nearly Nine In 10 Foresee Global Warming Effects Eventually Occurring

Why Climate Change Denial Still Exists In The U.S.

In addition to the 59% of Americans who believe the effects of global warming have already begun, another 10% predict they will start happening within a few years or in their own lifetime. A further 19% foresee the effects affecting future generations, bringing the total who believe global warming will eventually affect humans to 88%. Most Americans across all demographic groups expect this, including large majorities of Republicans and independents , and nearly all Democrats .

Still, there is variation across groups in the belief that the effects of global warming have already begun, a view that may be more relevant to the propensity for people to be politically active or factor it into their voting. Democrats , adults aged 18 to 34 , college graduates , non-White Americans and women are significantly more likely than their counterparts to say the effects have begun.

Already begun

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Figure 20 Proportion Of Each Group Who Believed The Worlds Temperature Will Probably Go Up Over The Next 100 Years

Future warming. Since 1997, majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have believed that the earth will probably be warmer in a century if nothing is done to prevent it. In 2020, 94% of Democrats, 72% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans believe that warming will probably continue in the future. No notable growth has occurred in the partisan gap since 2011.

5°F warmer would be bad. Majorities of Democrats and of Independents have consistently believed that 5°F of global warming would be bad, but the proportion of Republicans expressing that belief has hovered around the midline, peaking at 59% in 1997 and dipping to its lowest points of 47% in 2010 and 2015. The partisan gap in 2020 is the biggest observed since 1997 at 34 percentage points.

A Case Of Legal Bribery

  • 12 ;Chris Mooney, The Republican War on Science , 30-32.
  • 13 ;Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Tru
  • 14 ;Ibid., 169-215.

4;;;;;In the 1970s eager to protect its activities from regulations and above all its profit margins, corporate America began to challenge the growing influence of environmental organizations and other advocacy groups who had been instrumental in ushering in this golden age of environmental legislation.12 Corporate leaders drew their inspiration from the successful tactics of the tobacco industry to thwart any restrictions on their activities: Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway use the term tobacco strategy to explain how corporations set up or fund seemingly independent think tanks and hire experts and scientists in order to discredit scientific research and evidence likely to justify governmental regulations on their activities.13 Needlessly to say, this constitutes a complete perversion of the scientific process, as the goal results in the fact that no scientifically-based call for environmental or safety regulations go unanswered and doubt is cast on the consensus reached in peer-reviewed scientific research. The climate change denial movement is part and parcel of this larger corporate effort to hinder regulations.14

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On Why The Republican Party Has Become Opposed To Taking Action On Climate Change

Why has the Republican Party shifted? I have one answer for you: Money. They have been bought off by the fossil fuel industry. If its a congressman from Virginia, or Mitch McConnell from Kentucky where they have the coal or some of the oil and fracking interest theres a very clear correlation. Theres a reason there’s the phrase follow the money. Because if you do, you will see that the voting correlates with those major contributors to the Republican party, and most of them happen to be in the fossil fuel regions of our country.

Responding To Climate Denial

Meghan McCain Concern Trolls Greta Thunberg

An Irish Times article notes that climate denial “is not simply overcome by reasoned argument”, because it is not a rational response. Attempting to overcome denial using techniques of persuasive argument, such as supplying a missing piece of information, or providing general scientific education may be ineffective. A person who is in denial about climate is most likely taking a position based on their feelings, especially their feelings about things they fear.

Lewandowsky has stated that “It is pretty clear that fear of the solutions drives much opposition to the science.”

It can be useful to respond to emotions, including with the statement “It can be painful to realise that our own lifestyles are responsible”, in order to help move “from denial to acceptance to constructive action.”

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Whats In The Pipeline

The annual carbon footprint from new oil and gas facilities in Texas and other Gulf states could be as high as 541 million tons of greenhouse gases by 2030the equivalent of 131 coal-fired power plants.

The industry was dramatically out of favor at the moment, in most every corner of the investing and political world, he said, and it needed urgently to adapt. At its most basic level, I think we can all agree that having less CO2 emissions in the atmosphere would be a good thingand as Houstons business leaders, we need to be committed to working to make that happen.;

For skeptics inclined to think the change in rhetoric was just a PR move, Staples for one was ready to oblige. Two days after his call with reporters, he went on the public radio show the Texas Standard to clean up his spill. It seemed as if he had intended to signal a change in messaging but was surprised by how seriously everyone had taken it. I think the term climate change has been hijacked. I think its been used to unfortunately introduce climate hysteria or climate confusion. I think the term is used in such a way to confuse the public that the sky is falling in, he said.;

Of course, theres something a little ridiculous about parsing statements from oil and gas trade groups at a time when Australia and the Amazon are burning. Theres a kind of recurrent amnesia that paints climate change as a perennially new problem, an issue that is just reaching critical mass of awareness.;

Emotional And Psychological Aspects

Florida State Senator Tom Lee has described the emotional impact and reactions of individuals to climate change. Lee says, “If these predictions do bear out,;that it’s just economically daunting. I mean, you have to be the Grim Reaper of reality in a world that isn’t real fond of the Grim Reaper. That’s why I use the term emotionally shut down, because I think you lose people at hello a lot of times in the Republican conversation over this.” Emotional reactions to climate change may include guilt, fear, anger, and apathy. Psychology Today, in an article titled “The Existential Dread of Climate Change, has suggested that “despair about our changing climate may get in the way of fixing it.” The American Psychological Association has urged psychologists and other social scientists to work on psychological barriers to taking action on climate change.

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