With Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastating the Gulf Coast in recent weeks, most Americans are recognizing these new “super storms” for what they are: evidence of climate change negatively impacting our world.
Scientists warned that these once-in-a-lifetime storms would become more commonplace as climate change progressed. And most Americans agree — not just because of these hurricanes, but also due to droughts in the west and obscene weather events in winter. Extreme weather is driven, in part, due to climate change.
What’s more, climate change is getting recognition as being “man-made.” Anyone who suggests otherwise is “blind or unintelligent,” as musician Stevie Wonder quipped earlier this week.
New polling reveals that Americans across the board largely accept that man-made climate change is happening — well, almost across the board. One demographic in particular is refusing to accept humanity’s role in exacerbating the problem of climate change: Trump voters.
More than half of all Americans (54 percent) in a new Economist/YouGov poll accept that climate change is real, and that our actions have contributed to its rise. Only 23 percent don’t think greenhouse gases produced by our factories, cars, and other sources of carbon-emitting machinery have played a role, but they do see climate change as real. And just 7 percent of Americans don’t believe climate change is happening at all.
But those numbers flip on their heads when you ask Trump voters what they think.
Of those who say they voted for Trump, less than a quarter (22 percent) agree that climate change is real and man-made. Another 48 percent agree that climate change is happening, but that human activity did not contribute to its speedy growth. And 17 percent of Trump voters don’t think climate change is happening at all — perhaps believing, as their choice for president once did, that it’s a Chinese conspiracy.
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
Whether Trump supporters want to believe it’s happening or not is irrelevant — the average global temperature is rising, glaciers are melting, and scientists overwhelmingly agree that it’s all related to the carbon emissions humans are creating through the burning of fossil fuels. It’s not just a belief, but a conclusion that 97 percent of all “actively publishing” climatologists agree upon, according to NASA.
To put it bluntly, it’s as Neil deGrasse Tyson once said: “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” Whether Trump voters want to acknowledge climate change as real or not, it doesn’t matter: it’s happening, it’s mostly because of our activities on this planet, and it needs to be addressed.
Watch Stevie Wonder call out climate deniers during a fundraiser for Hurricanes Irma and Harvey: