Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Climate Change as Our Most Recent Iteration of Religious Sacrifice

Posted by M. C. on December 11, 2021

Climate change is big topic in America. But why does the public embrace it? Climate change is not a new idea; it is the modernization of an old one which humans have long believed.


In 2016, three-out-of-four Americans reported that they were particularly concerned about helping the environment as they go about their daily lives(1). In 2019, half said that human activity contributes “a great deal” to climate change (seen below). Indeed, Americans believe in climate change, and believe that they are responsible.

But where do these ideas come from?

As seen below, Americans think that climate science is ambiguous. Only 27% say that climate scientists agree about human activity. Half that (15%) say that almost no climate scientists point to human activity, and the rest think that the science is undecided.

It is particularly telling that of the ~50% who blame humans, a great deal say that the science doesn’t agree. Indeed, there is a major discrepancy between what Americans say about climate change and what they say science says about climate change:

Above, we see that ~50% of Americans believe humans contribute a great deal to climate change.

Below, we see that only 27% of Americans say that this is what almost all scientists say.

In order to compare the data, I am roughly setting equal the phrases “contributing a great deal” to climate change with “mostly responsible” for climate change.

That being said, what about the other 23%? Do they believe that we’re causing climate change without believing that science proves it?

Keep in mind that makes up nearly half of the group who blame humans.

So where do they get their conviction? And can we exclude whatever is convincing them from the conviction of others who say that science leads their belief?

The two charts I compared in the previous example are separated by three years. One might say that this gap could have shrunk during that time (even to zero). But data shows this is likely not the case: as seen below, in the three year period (2013 to 2016) before the period in question, Republican opinions on the same topic changed by 1% and Democratic opinions on the subject changed by 9%.

Assuming an even split between the political parties, public opinion shifted about 5% in the previous three-year-period. Rounded, that would still leave the same gap that is represented by one-in-five Americans. It is important to note (in the text at the bottom of this graph) that the grouping of political parties is not exclusive to those at the extremes but also includes those leaning in either direction.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

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