All charts and graphs via EnviroKnow
I've written before about the ever-increasing politicization of climate change--the thesis that the scientifically backed consensus that human activity is warming the planet is now treated as a political belief isn't a hard one to prove. But just in case I need to back the claim up with some hard numbers, Gallup has released the results of its most recent poll on climate change. In it, it's revealed that the chasm between GOP members and Dems has widened to a huge margin. There are some fascinating numbers here--for instance, 74% of liberals believe that the effects of global warming are already occurring, while a scant 30% of conservatives do. There's more . . .Let's have some fun with charts and graphs here. First, the aforementioned stat:
The plunge over the last two years in conservative belief is pretty astounding--20%! But as Climate Progress notes, the sharpness of that decline may be due in part to more moderate conservatives shifting ideologies and increasingly labeling themselves independents. It's also due to the fact that conservative news outlets tend to use experts that only other conservatives find credible--in this case, climate skeptics who peddle the idea that there's just no durn thing as a changin' climate. Believe it or not, there are people who listen when Sean Hannity tells them there's no such thing as global warming.
And so, you see results like this:
And these trends seemingly fall across the board, however the question is phrased:
And yet--the science supporting man-caused global warming has only grown stronger over the last few years: the last decade has been confirmed by NOAA and NASA to be the warmest on record, this year is gearing up to be the hottest on record, the Arctic is melting at a faster rate than most scientists expected, and so on and so forth.
So, it would seem then that the change must be attributed not to the actual state of climate science, but to increasingly disinterested (to outright baseless) media coverage, political leadership, and corporate interest in preserving a belief system conducive to preventing action that would infringe on the ability to pollute (which, as we know, has a bit of hand in 'inspiring' political leadership).
This climate, combined with the facts that the last two years haven't been atypically hot ones in North America (though in the rest of the world, it's another story--2009 was one of the hottest on record worldwide), has allowed events like the hacked emails and the IPCC errors in glacier melt prediction to get hijacked by the noise machine and mountains to be made out of molehills.
Since the IPCC errors were unfortunate by ultimately minor, and that the bad conduct shown by scientists in the email exchanges has been proven to have no true impact on the general science, I'd predict that with a little help--maybe a national media blitz from the Obama science team?--the gap will begin to shrink, not widen further, as especially independents begin to again see the impeccable case for man-caused climate change.