The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
The U.S. Has More Climate Deniers Than Any Other Wealthy Nation, Survey Finds
A 23-country poll found that the U.S. led rich nations in the percentage of people who said that climate change was not caused by humans, The Guardian reported Wednesday. Thirteen percent of Americans agreed with the statement that climate change was happening, "but human activity is not responsible at all." An additional five percent denied climate change all together.
The YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project is an annual survey conducted by You Gov and Cambridge University with the help of The Guardian. The 2019 survey asked questions of 25,325 people around the world in February and March. Of those surveyed, only Saudi Arabia and Indonesia had higher percentages of respondents who denied a human role in climate change, at 16 percent and 18 percent respectively. The U.S. also led Western countries for the percentage who said they were not sure that climate change was happening or if humans were responsible, also at 13 percent.
The prevalence of climate denial in the U.S. is out of step with other high-emitting countries. In the UK and China, only six percent of the population doubts that humans are behind global warming, Earther pointed out. The site crunched the numbers, and calculated that the five percent of people in the U.S. who are outright climate deniers corresponds to around 58 million individuals.
Climate Mobilization Founder and clinical psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon explained to the Guardian why the U.S. is such an outlier:
"The Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry have put billions of dollars into lying to the American public, even sending literature to science teachers in schools," Salamon said. "They are so well organised and have managed to turn climate change into a controversial subject that gets shut down. It's clearly working.
"There is also the issue of American individualism, remnants of manifest destiny, that don't set us up well for understanding that we are part of the web of life. The American dream is quite self-involved. We need a new American dream."
Another factor is that beliefs about climate change are strongly linked to political ideology in the U.S., something that separates it from most other countries, a 2018 study found.
"We found that in approximately 75 percent of the countries surveyed, conservatives didn't show any more skepticism of climate change than other people," study author and University of Queensland Prof. Matthew Hornsey said at the time.
The link between political affiliation and climate denial in the U.S. was reflected in the YouGov poll. Seventeen percent of Americans agreed that "the idea of manmade global warming is a hoax that was invented to deceive people," an ideal popularized by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has called it a Chinese hoax. But the number who answered yes to that statement rose to 52 percent among Americans who described themselves as "very rightwing," The Guardian reported.
However, 4 in 10 Americans do believe the climate change is at least partly human-caused, according to the YouGov survey. Another survey in January from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that a record number of Americans, 72 percent, said that climate change is "personally important" to them.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.