Climate change beliefs driven by partisanship & religion (Graph)

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This graphic is not offered for republication.

This graphic is not offered for republication.

Climate Week NYC kicked off yesterday with the People’s Climate March. Hundreds of thousands joined the march to raise awareness before the United Nations Climate Summit this week.

Despite such actions, most Americans remain unconvinced that climate change is an awful, man-made disaster. According to the 2012 American National Election Study (ANES), so-called “climate change deniers” represent 19 percent of the population. Another half of Americans say that while global warming may be real, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing and/or something primarily caused by humans. Only about a third of Americans see global warming as both harmful and caused by humans.

Why the difference of opinion? First and foremost, perceptions of climate change are viewed through partisan lenses. Pew’s Carroll Doherty told NPR, “It’s one of the most partisan issues we track. Republicans just do not see it as an imminent problem for the United States. But Democrats by and large do.”

In the ANES, 41 percent of Democrats said that global warming is both harmful and caused by humans. Only 17 percent of Republicans said this. In contrast, 35 percent of Republicans said that global warming doesn’t even exist, a position that only nine percent of Democrats take.

Beliefs about climate change is also driven by religion. Specifically, how people view the role of science and the Bible. According to the ANES, people who view the Bible as accurate and authoritative are less likely to see climate change as a real problem.

But there are some interesting mixes between partisanship and religion.

Among Republicans, few see climate change as a real problem. Four-in-ten Republicans who take the Bible literally deny that global warming exists. This drops to 26 percent of those who see the Bible as a book written by men.

Few Democrats deny the reality of global warming, regardless of their religious beliefs. That said, views of the Bible shape how Democrats evaluate global warming. 57 percent of those who don’t believe the Bible is God’s word say that climate change is a man-made disaster; only 27 percent of literalists say this.

Together, partisanship and religion shape how we view climate change. There’s no denying it.

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  • Rev. Charles Teykl

    Politics and religion aside, climate change and its dire effects is a scientific question, and the vast majority of reputable scientists present evidence that this is a reality. Your article is further evidence that the extreme right wing, religious or political, tends to be anti-science. Further, it should be noted that many scientists are committed, believing Christians. Religion and science do not have to be advesaries, they complement each other. Sciiences answers the “how” of creation, religion the “why” and “who” of creation. As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of God’s creation.

  • Obama Story

    The “vast majority” unfortunately are bought and paid for with grant money or are merely following the “narrative”. A few have the moral courage to challenge the lemming-like shame that the majority pronounce and try to pass off as real science.

    And as for the IPCC, whose data most organization use as the foundation of their climate change hysteria position…they are criminal in their data manipulation and function like the Keystone Cops. Read the book by Donna Laframboise and other…founder of the Greenpeace and the Weather Channel etc.

    They would impoverish the world with no measurable benefit merely for a demented ideology…but yes, I agree, we need to be good stewards of our precious earthly home.

  • Larry

    Its amazing how often the narrative of world wide bias in the scientific community and coercion from “real science” at large is thrown out there whenever someone has a position which flies in the face of overwhelming evidence and objectively acknowledged experts. How often do we read this sort of thing from online cranks such as:

    9/11 Truthers
    Holocaust deniers
    Global warming deniers

  • I agree with what Rev.Teykl had to say. I would like to add that people on the politcal right tend, in general, to be more business oreiented while those on the political left tend, in general, to be more professionally oriented (scienc, engineering, education, etc). The buisness world sees clamate change as a threat to the traditional way of doing business with negative impacts on profits. Together with religion’s position that God would never do this to us, both groups are dealing with a severe case of cognitive dissonance which gives rise to denial and conspiracy theories. It’s just too much to swallow.

  • PeterVN

    As that great blog quote says, “Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them.”

    It’s pretty clear that the idiots trying to deny that man-made climate change is happening, at a time when we are experiencing extreme temperatures and drought far outside norms, fall into either or both of the “stupid” and “profit” categories.

    Get over your sick, stupid Christian superstitions already. Evangelicals suck.