Revealed: Majority of Red-State Americans Now Believe Climate Change is Real

Search form

Revealed: Majority of Red-State Americans Now Believe Climate Change is Real

Revealed: Majority of Red-State Americans Now Believe Climate Change is Real
Thu, 11/14/2013 - by Suzanne Goldenberg
This article originally appeared on The Guardian

A vast majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real and at least two-thirds of those want the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, new research revealed on Wednesday.

The research, by Stanford University social psychologist Jon Krosnick, confounds the conventional wisdom of climate denial as a central pillar of Republican politics, and practically an article of faith for Tea Party conservatives.

Instead, the findings suggest far-reaching acceptance that climate change is indeed occurring and is caused by human activities, even in such reliably red states as Texas and Oklahoma.

“To me, the most striking finding that is new today was that we could not find a single state in the country where climate skepticism was in the majority,” Krosnick said in an interview.

States that voted for Barack Obama, as expected, also believe climate change is occurring and support curbs on carbon pollution. Some 88% of Massachusetts residents believe climate change is real.

But Texas and Oklahoma are among the reddest of red states and are represented in Congress by Republicans who regularly dismiss the existence of climate change or its attendant risks.

Congressman Joe Barton of Texas and Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma stand out for their regular denials of climate change as a “hoax,” even among Republican ranks.

However, the research found 87% of Oklahomans and 84% of Texans accepted that climate change was occurring.

Seventy-six percent of Americans in both states also believed the government should step in to limit greenhouse gas emissions produced by industry.

In addition, the research indicated substantial support for Obama's decision to use the Environmental Protection Agency to cut emissions from power plants. The polling found at least 62% of Americans in favor of action cutting greenhouse gas emissions from plants.

Once again, Texas was also solidly lined up with action, with 79% of voters supporting regulation of power plants.

The acceptance of climate change was not a result of outreach efforts by scientists, however, or by the experience of extreme events, such as hurricane Sandy, Krosnick said.

His research found no connection between Sandy and belief in climate change or support for climate action.

Instead, he said the findings suggest personal experiences of hot weather – especially in warm states in the south-west – persuaded Texans and others that the climate was indeed changing within their own lifetimes.

“Their experience with weather leaves people in most places on the green side in most of the questions we ask,” he said.

There was some small slippage in acceptance of climate change in north-western states such as Idaho and Utah and in the industrial heartland states of Ohio. But even then at a minimum, 75% believed climate change was occurring.

The findings, represented in a series of maps, were presented at a meeting of the bicameral task force on climate change which has been pushing Congress to try to move ahead on Obama's green commitments. There was insufficient data to provide findings from a small number of states

Henry Waxman, the Democrat who co-chairs the taskforce, said in a statement the findings showed Americans were ready to take action to cut emissions that cause climate change.

“This new report is crystal clear,” said Waxman. “It shows that the vast majority of Americans – whether from red states or blue – understand that climate change is a growing danger. Americans recognize that we have a moral obligation to protect the environment and an economic opportunity to develop the clean energy technologies of the future. Americans are way ahead of Congress in listening to the scientists.”

Some 58% of Republicans in the current Congress deny the existence of climate change or oppose action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress.

Originally published by The Guardian

Article Tabs

The worldwide protest sentiment is not going away anytime soon.

Proposed legislation would eliminate erratic scheduling and extend protections to part-time employees.

A proposed community-owned solar project on an abandoned coal mine in Arizona illustrates how cooperative economics make it possible to stop extracting fossil fuels — without leaving workers behind.

This was the biggest scandal to ever hit the land recordation system in this country, and those who were responsible should be held accountable.

Over 300,000 Internet users contributed to our crowdsourced vision for free expression online in the 21st century. What matters most to the Internet community? Watch this animated video to find out.

A new pamphlet, released today, is an attempt to answer this question – and the case we make is, yes, it not only makes sense to think of planetary control in these terms, but it is essential.

Posted 3 days 23 hours ago

They meet behind closed doors, at five-star hotels, away from the prying eyes of the public.

Posted 3 days 45 min ago

"It's a nuisance smell in the area. It's a smell that's traveled quite far," said Jeff Suggs, emergency management coordinator for La Porte, where the company's accident occurred.

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago

Mexico's population is now making itself heard – tired of a tiny elite that treats them like subjects rather than citizens, and tired of the criminal gangs that terrorize them and corrupt the political process.

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago

Consumer watchdog groups, payday borrowers and victims of payday theft need to come together to end the practice that creates a never-ending cycle of debt.

Posted 3 days 23 hours ago

While celebrating the historic anniversary in Prague on Monday, thousands of Czechs called for President Zeman to step down.

Barricades were torn down this week at Admiralty as authorities enforced a court order, but other areas remained occupied by demonstrators.

The Nordic nation of 5.6 million has been at the forefront of wind power innovation since the 1890s, when one of its leading scientists, Poul la Cour, began testing turbines.

Proposed legislation would eliminate erratic scheduling and extend protections to part-time employees.

Over 300,000 Internet users contributed to our crowdsourced vision for free expression online in the 21st century. What matters most to the Internet community? Watch this animated video to find out.

Sign Up