Majority of Americans Want the Government to Fight Climate Change

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By Trevor Nace, Forbes.com, October 7, 2017

 

A recent survey of Americans found that 61 percent of them think climate change is an issue and the government ought to do something to confront it. The political breakdown finds 43 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats see climate change as an issue the government needs to address.

The survey was conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and The Associated Press Center for Public Affairs Research. In total, the results represent all 50 states and D.C. and were randomly drawn from AmeriSpeak.

This stands in contrast to the current administration’s stance on climate change and action to mitigate future threats. When surveyors asked about political decisions associated with climate change, the largest share stated that they oppose President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

From Trump’s standpoint, he stands in a position where the minority of his party supports government action on climate change, while the majority of the country supports action. However, the statistic involves two beliefs, one that climate change is happening and the other that the government should work to mitigate it.

There are likely three camps of thoughts on the issue.

  • Uninformed: this person does not believe the climate is changing and therefore understandably doesn’t think the government should do anything about it.
  • Skeptic: this person believes the climate is changing but doesn’t think the government should do anything about it. This is likely because he/she believes either the current changing climate is not man-made or even if humans play a role in the changing climate it’s not worthwhile or effective to fight.
  • Supporter: This person believes the climate is changing and likely that humans play a large role in climate change, thus we should do something about it.

What the survey shows is that of the people that believe in climate change 70% of Republicans and almost all Democrats think the government should take action. This means that the second camp (Skeptic) is not a very common belief since most people who believe the climate is changing think we should do something about it.

This means in many cases if people are convinced climate change is happening, they will naturally find themselves supporting government action. Hence, time and resources should be spent in laying out the evidence for a changing climate.

The interesting thing is that there really isn’t any evidence or support for the Uninformed position. That’s to say we have overwhelming amounts of data from around the world and throughout centuries that the Earth is warming. We know for an absolute fact that the Earth is warming and climate change is the overlying mechanism. However, there are some that don’t believe humans releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has anything to do with the warming and thus it’s a natural phenomenon that would have happened whether humans were on this Earth or not.

However, there are some that don’t believe humans releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has anything to do with the warming and thus it’s a natural phenomenon that would have happened whether humans were on this Earth or not. Again, there is overwhelming data that supports humans are largely responsible for a changing climate. However, it will be hard to ever get the “smoking gun” evidence some people want.

Climate change is clearly a political issue, and some people choose to believe the side of large corporations with money to lose versus professors that have nothing to lose.

Trevor Nace is a geologist, Forbes contributor, founder of Science Trends, and adventurer. Follow his journey @trevornace.

Read original article in Forbes.com