“The science is in, and climate change is caused by humans and will destroy the environment unless we change our way of life,” is becoming a common statement from the political left. Yet, a number of conservatives still deny climate change is caused by humans, climate change exists at all, or both. According to a new study, the problem isn’t with the scientific debate — it’s that so many fear what the solution to climate change will mean that they deny a problem exists at all.
According to the Associated Press, the researchers have coined a new phrase: solution aversion, which essentially means denying the problem for fear of the solution.
According to the study’s co-author, Troy Campbell, “The goal was to test, in a scientifically controlled manner, the question: Does the desirability of a solution affect beliefs in the existence of the associated problem? In other words, does what we call ‘solution aversion’ exist?”
Their conclusion was, yes, an undesirable solution leads to denial of the problem.
The researchers at Duke University claim that the psychological quirk is especially relevant to the debate over climate change. The proposed solutions, which entail bigger government and more regulations, are anathema for the political right, which leads to the political split. According to the Campbell, Democrats, who don’t fear big government as much, don’t hold the same solution aversion on the issue.
“In the United State, Democrats (liberals) tend to agree with the consensus of the scientific community of climate change, and Republicans (conservatives) more often hold the belief that temperatures will not increase and that humankind is not responsible.”
The research was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and can be found here. Social aversion may go further than just the American political divide, and could have relevance to the larger global debate on climate change.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Australian government is also refusing climate change action. Global action would be more painful for Australia than for most countries, since coal contributes a great deal to Australia’s exports. Prime Minister Tony Abbott was quoted as saying he is “standing up for coal,” and refused to allow climate change onto the G20 agenda at a recent summit.
Canada also derives a great deal of wealth from fossil fuels, and as expected, has recently skirted calls to cut its own emissions.
The Duke University study looked at more than just climate change. In the area of gun control, they found that ideological beliefs led liberals to their own case of solution aversion. According to the New York Times, the study found that liberals tended to downplay gun ownership as a solution to violent home break-ins, despite data that showed otherwise.
[Image Credit: principia-scientific.org]