The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Poll: Partisan Divide Over Climate Change Grows Wider
A new Gallup poll offers some hope in the face of unrelenting climate change. Overall, 45 percent of those surveyed said global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetime—the highest percentage recorded since the question was first asked in 1997.
As a whole, Americans' concerns about climate change "are not much different from the record-high levels they were at a year ago," Gallup said.
But here's the bad news. The issue has become more politically polarized than ever, and it's likely because of Donald Trump.
After a year of President Trump—who thinks global warming is a "hoax," dropped climate change from a list of top national security threats, and made it known that America is at odds with the rest of the world by withdrawing from the 2015 Paris agreement—Republicans have become more skeptical than ever about climate change, the Gallup poll suggests.
Only a third of Republicans said they worry about climate change or even acknowledge that it has already begun. Seven in 10 Republicans think the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated in the news. The percentage of Republicans who affirm the scientific consensus of global warming is down 11 percentage points since last year.
Independents have also become less convinced about climate change and its impacts. Independents who believe global warming is caused by human activities dropped to 62 percent from 70 percent the year before.
Still, there's a silver lining. Democrats are more unnerved about the issue than ever because of Trump.
Earlier surveys have already shown that the majority of Dems are concerned about climate change and believe it is caused by human activities. This year's poll found that 82 percent of Democrats agree that the effects of climate change have already begun, up from 73 percent a year earlier.
"With Trump reversing many of his predecessors' policies aimed at curbing global warming, Democrats are feeling a greater sense of urgency about the issue," Gallup said.
Of course, the devastating effects of climate change are already being felt—and the U.S. government knows it. 2017, one of the hottest years in modern history, was also an extremely costly year. According to a report from the National Centers for Environmental Information, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), "the U.S. experienced 16 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion, with total costs of approximately $306 billion—a new U.S. annual record."
Trump and his climate-denying cabinet members are ignoring the vast scientific consensus of human-caused climate change.
Peter Gleick, the president-emeritus of the Pacific Institute and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science tweeted Wednesday, "If you deny the reality of human-caused climate change, you are making a political statement that is scientifically wrong. Don't pretend the problem is the science. The problem is you're afraid if you admit the science you won't like the policies we have to pursue."
The Gallup survey was based on interviews with 1,041 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia from March 1-8. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis
Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.
Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.
The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.
By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.
By Mark Hertsgaard
The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."