Here’s Why More Than 56% of Congressional Republicans Deny Climate Change
With so much scientific evidence showing the causes and risks of climate change, why do so many politicians continue to deny that climate change is man-made? According to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, the climate debate is largely fueled by “echo chambers,” where policymakers surround themselves with information that reinforces their existing beliefs.
Both sides of the debate are guilty of this. But as this Climate Progress article points out, members of Congress who deny climate change tend to get their scientific information from far fewer sources. However, the echo chamber effect makes it seem that there is equal consensus on both sides.
The good news is that the vast majority of Americans believe climate change is happening and support government action to fight it. If politicians want to stay in office, they’d better start listening.
Emily Atkin, Deputy Editor for Climate Progress
Scientists have known for a long time what’s causing current climate change. What’s been less clear is why so many U.S. politicians aren’t listening.
Sure, there’s been falsely balanced media coverage of climate science. And there are both financial and ideological incentives to deny that carbon emissions are causing the phenomenon.
But according to new research published in Nature Climate Change, there’s at least one statistically proven reason why more than 56 percent of Congressional Republicans deny climate change: echo chambers.
The term “echo chambers” traditionally refers to situations where people surround themselves with information they want to hear, and block out the rest. We’ve known for a while that these present themselves in climate politics; A 2014 study suggested that the reason Americans haven’t fully accepted the scientific consensus on climate change is because of echo chambers like Fox News, where conservative viewers are “exposed only to content consistent with their opinions, while shielded from dissenting views.”
Image Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite