Americans acknowledge climate change but think scienitists do not

8 maps that reveal Americans’ incoherent opinions on climate change –
[Via  Vox]

Opinion surveys on climate change are often reported as national averages, but national opinion is not the most important thing to most politicians. They respond to regional and local opinion, the opinions of their constituents. With that in mind, a new study attempts to map public opinion on climate change and climate policy in geographic detail, down to the level of counties and congressional districts.

Researchers took a fresh look at a large database of information assembled by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, which has done regular surveys on American climate opinion since 2007. They attempted to “downscale” the data to the local level through, ahem, “multilevel regression and poststratification.” They then tested the results against independent polls in four states and two cities, to make sure the projections held up.


The study’s website has an interactive map that breaks things down in a lot of way. Here is the map for Congressional districts regarding whether people acknowledge climate change:

Climate change happening

(Of course, there are some statistics and some modeling here. They cannot survey everyone in every state. So take this a more general guidelines that absolute percentages).

A majority in every district knows that climate change is happening. Thus why 63% of all Americans do. 

This is a good thing to know. Most people know the world is warming.Only 18% refuse to acknowledge this fact.

Let’s look at how many people acknowledge something else – do scientists agree that global warming is happening:

Climate change scientists

Only 41% think that most scientists agree with them about global warming? While only 18% do not acknowledge global warming, almost double (34%) think that scientists for not acknowledge global warming.

In just a handful of districts in the country do people get this right – that the vast majority of scientists agree the world is warming.

And even there only slightly more that 50% understand the truth. So many people get this fact amazingly wrong.

We know that there are close to 100 times more scientists who agree that climate change happens than disagree. 

What an interesting disconnect. Most people on America acknowledge that the world is heating up but they mistakenly think that most researchers disagree.

And as seen by the map, this ignorance is spread around the country. It is a systemic mistake. There has to be a reason for this ignorance, for being this wrong.

Managed ignorance can only be dealt with by willful enlightenment.

Because the American people actually have pretty good ideas about fixing the problems.Even if some of their facts are off.

They are for funding renewable energy research (77% support):

Climate change research

And regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (74% support)

Climate change pollutant

Or requiring utilities to have 30% renewable energy by 2020 (61% support):

Climate change utilities

Every single Congressional district in the country has majorities that are for each of these policy issues. And you would notice that very few people are undecided here.

In a truly representative government, we would expect to see almost two thirds of those in Congress for each of these three policy issues, a veto and filibuster proof majority.

Yet you would not know it from what Washington is not doing. America must do better.

We know it is happening and we pretty much agree on somethings that can be done. So we need to make our elected officials do them.

Image: Crysis Rubel