Climate change isn’t the hot button issue many assume it to be, says a new report. The climate change report came as a result of a comprehensive poll of Americans, the results of which determined that Americans as a whole overwhelmingly believe that climate change does indeed exist, and largely due to human activity.
In the climate change poll conducted by Climate Communication, respondents were asked, “Do you think that global warming is happening.” The results stated that 15 percent weren’t sure, 11 percent said no, and a whopping majority of 73 percent said yes.
The report also delved into the political views of those who responded to the climate change poll. Among self-described independents, 75 percent thought that global warming was happening. Among Democrats, 95 percent of self-described liberals and 80 percent of moderate to conservative Democrats believed that global warming was occurring, along with 47 percent of self-described conservative Republicans.
Okay, so a huge majority of Americans believe that climate change is happening in the form of global warming. The next question is “Why?” The climate change poll asked the respondents who they thought is responsible for global warming. When asked that, 5 percent of respondents said that nothing is responsible and there is no global warming or climate change occurring. Four percent thought that it was caused be a combination of man-made and natural and environmental factors. Thirty-four percent of respondents said that they thought climate change was being caused by natural and environmental factors, and over half of respondents (56 percent) said that climate change in the form of global warming was man-made. Politically, as expected, this question saw a minority of conservative Republicans and a vast majority of Democrats across the board believing that climate change is man-made.
So what does it mean that a majority of Americans believe that climate change exists, though they still remain divided on why climate change exists? The Courier-Journal approached that very issue.
“The liberal blog Climate Progress reports that the shift is enough to put pressure on some more moderate Republican senators with constituents that appear to be increasingly receptive to mainstream climate science, which warns of global dangers in the decades and centuries ahead. Specifically, it calls out Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, as vulnerable to Democratic challenges on the environment.”
Furthermore, CNN has mirrored the same information, stating that “Global warming isn’t as divisive in the United States as it used to be. The percentage of conservative Republicans (not just Republicans but conservative Republicans) who believes climate change is happening has jumped 19 percentage points in the last two years, to 47%.”
So where does that leave the top four presidential candidates on the subject of climate change?
Republican nominee Ted Cruz believes that there is no credible evidence for climate change with regard to global warming, stating, “The satellites that actually measure the temperature, that we’ve launched into the air to measure the temperature, they have recorded no significant warming whatsoever for the last 18 years.”
Donald Trump posted on his Twitter feed in 2012 that global warning was a Chinese plot.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
In a 2014 tweet he called it an all-out “hoax.”
NBC News just called it the great freeze – coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2014
More recently, Trump spoke about climate change again, saying that “Global warming may be a threat, but it will be of a nuclear variety,” an indication that he still doesn’t believe that it is happening.
As to the Democrats, Hillary Clinton has said that climate change needs to be addressed as soon as possible, but that she understands the international political and business stumbling blocks involved.
“The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say. Sea levels are rising; ice caps are melting; storms, droughts and wildfires are wreaking havoc. … If we act decisively now we can still head off the most catastrophic consequences.”
As expected, Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders is also a climate change believer, and feels even stronger about the issue.
“The debate is over. The vast majority of the scientific community has spoken. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating harm here in the United States, and to people all around the globe. So what are we going to do about it? We will act boldly to move our energy system away from fossil fuels, toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal because we have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is healthy and habitable.”
The poll results give a clear indication that a majority of voters in the United States believe that climate change is happening. The question now is, when it comes to political candidates, will the Republicans shift their views to possibly acquire some of those moderate voters on the fence when it comes to a national election? Would Cruz or Trump, in a general election, change their tune on climate change to acquire more votes?
What do you think about the upcoming elections and climate change?
[Feature Photo by Alexander Gerst / ESA via Getty Images]