If you did a global survey, you would find that the vast majority of the planet believes that climate change is happening. And the reason behind this “near universal” agreement is simple. 97% of the scientific community has determined that the earth is getting warmer – mostly due to human activity.
The debate is settled.
Climate change is happening.
But when you look at the US political landscape, a very different picture emerges. Despite years of studies, analyses, and reports, Americans remain split on environmental issues like global warming.
And according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, climate change belief conveniently breaks along party lines.
Let’s take a look.
How Conservatives and Liberals Really See Climate Change
When surveyed, roughly 76% of liberal Democrats believe that climate change is happening – and that major reductions in fossil fuel burning can have a large and significant impact on addressing this environmental challenge.
By contrast, only 29% of conservative Republicans share this concern.
These numbers are pretty alarming – especially given that the US is one of the largest polluters on the planet.
Equally troubling is that this is an election year, where the differences between the 2 major parties couldn’t be starker:
- The Democratic platform focuses a tremendous amount of attention on clean energy, global warming, and sustainability.
- The Republican platform calls for more fossil fuel investments. In fact, it even labels coal as a “clean energy” power source.
Needless to say, there is a lot riding on this current presidential election.
If elected, Hillary Clinton wants to extend Obama’s climate change agenda. And if elected, Donald Trump has promised to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement that was recently signed by hundreds of nations around the world.
But there is a silver lining in some of these numbers.
Climate Change Belief Is Political – Renewable Energy Isn’t
Although belief in global warming may break along political lines, support for renewable energy technologies like solar power and wind energy is very close to universal:
- 97% of liberal Democrats want more investments in sustainable energy.
- 83% of conservative Republicans feel the same way.
And that’s fantastic news. For while it may be impossible to bring everybody to the table with regards to global warming, clean power continues to receive a lot of support across the political spectrum.
In fact, Republicans actually have an edge on Democrats in this respect – at least in California. According to a statewide survey, conservatives are 5 times more likely to install solar panels than liberals are. That may seem surprising at first glance, but as covered in a previous article, there’s a reason why this trend exists.
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