Friday, May 11, 2018

"The arc of climate awareness curves toward reality" ...

The assertion in the post title comes by way of an article in Grist. This reports on polling by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University that shows that Republicans are somewhat less inclined than they were a year ago to deny climate change.

As to why Republican opinion is bouncing back now, the Yale program’s director Anthony Leiserowitz has an idea: Republican leaders have just been talking about climate change, and climate denial, less often lately.

Past research has shown that public opinion is strongly shaped by “elite cues” — basically, what high-profile politicians and celebrities say and do and how often the media covers it. Last year, the focus on President Donald Trump’s announcement about pulling the country from the Paris Agreement was one factor that could partly explain the sharp downturn in Republican opinion on climate change, Leiserowitz says.

The less Republican leaders talk about climate change, he says, the more their constituents’ opinion “rebounds to where Republicans would be normally if they weren’t hearing a bunch of climate denial from their leadership.”

Most Democrats aren't making climate a big issue either, though for getting out our base, climate concern is a strong spur to action.

In general, except when climate change feels very immediate -- close by, painful -- all of us default to more immediate fears. Those fears are too often defined by by elite cues. I'm supposed to be afraid of Iran and homeless people this week, not rising seas and carbon pollution. Climate communicators haven't figured out how to keep our minds on threats with a longer time frame. Reality will eventually kick us in the teeth, dramatically raising awareness, but it's worth doing all we can to avert worse.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

From what I hear from Republican sources, most think climate change is happening, i.e. global warming. The disagreement comes on whether it's part of a natural cycle or man caused. Since we can see major changes through fossil evidence, etc., it's a valid question. Living on an earth that we don't control is kind of a scary deal and we have come into our own as a species in a particularly friendly period of earth to our needs. Volcanic activity can change that fast. I've read that the times so dire to humans in our relatively short earth history were times not so friendly and it impacted things like diseases and famines. We like to think we can deal with anything but we barely touch control where it comes to the earth. We use it and can abuse it, impacting immediate changes to a land (like currently with Argentina and the soybean production taking away forests and other uses for land) but what can we do about earthquakes or volcanoes. Not so much.

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