Tempers are rising in America, along with the temperatures.
Two decades ago, the issue of climate change wasn’t as contentious. The leading U.S. Senate proponent of taking action on global warming was Republican John McCain. George W. Bush wasn’t as zealous on the issue as his Democratic opponent for president in 2000, Al Gore, but he, too, talked of regulating carbon dioxide.
Then the Earth got even hotter , repeatedly breaking temperature records. But instead of drawing closer together, politicians polarized.
Democrats (and scientists) became more convinced that global warming was a real, man-made threat . But Republicans and Tea Party activists became more convinced that it was — to quote the repeated tweets of presidential nominee Donald Trump — a “hoax.”
When it comes to science, there’s more than climate that divides America’s leaders and people, such as evolution, vaccination and genetically modified food.
But nothing beats climate change for divisiveness.
“It’s more politically polarizing than abortion,” says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. “It’s more politically polarizing than gay marriage.”
Leiserowitz says his surveys show 17 percent of Americans, the fastest-growing group, are alarmed by climate change and want action now, with another 28 percent concerned but viewing it as a more distant threat. But there’s an often-vocal 10 percent who are dismissive, rejecting the concept of warming and the science
Read the full story. (Associated Press)