Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that definitively proves humans are the main cause of climate change, the majority of Americans do not believe it.
A new Ipsos poll found that only 49 percent of Americans believe climate change is caused by humans, through greenhouse gas emissions or other forms of pollution. Over half of the country does not "believe in" scientific fact.
While 27 percent said climate change is natural, only 7 percent said the climate isn't changing. The rest are unsure.
“Virtually all of climate science is on one side of this issue because they’re actually looking at the evidence,” said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, via The Hill. “The other side of the issue is driven, essentially, by the fossil fuel industry, and their friends in the conservative media, and their friends in conservative politics.”
Across party lines, only 22 percent of Republicans of believe the changing climate is human-caused, as opposed to 75 percent of Democrats who concur with the irrefutable evidence.
Maibach said that while some of the divide can be attributed to the fact that “very few of us take the time or even know how to look at the original research, to see what the truth is," the Republican party specifically has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Among the 20 politicians who receive the most in donations from oil and gas companies, seventeen are Republicans. The Ipsos report notes that partisanship sentiment "mediates people’s attitudes and experiences with climate change and extreme weather." This is exacerbated not just by conservative politicians, but by media pundits as well.
Despite incorrect disbelief surrounding climate change, 67 percent of Americans said that extreme weather has gotten worse in their areas over the past few years. Scientists project that storms and extreme heat are only going to worsen as global temperatures continue to rise.
“It’s very unfortunate that our climate has become a victim of the culture wars,” Maibach added, “because our climate doesn’t care whether we are liberal or conservative.”