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
Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.
The record flooding in the Midwest that has now been blamed for four deaths could also have lasting consequences for the region's many farmers.
By Ana Santos Rutschman
The world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned and will step down in early April. His temporary replacement is Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.
On Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first 20 chemicals it plans to prioritize as "high priority" for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Given the EPA's record of malfeasance on chemicals policy over the past two years, it is clear that these are chemicals that EPA is prioritizing to ensure that they are not properly evaluated or regulated.
Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.