Utne Blogs > Environment

Climate Change Consensus? Not in America

by Cally Carswell 

Tags: Environment, climate change, global warming, global warming skeptics, Sarah Palin, Nature Conservancy, EcoAmerica, 350.org,

Did you scoff at the TV when Sarah Palin told ABC’s Charlie Gibson, “I'm attributing some of man's activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now”? What about when she said it didn’t really matter what caused global warming in the vice presidential debate? Well, be prepared to scoff again, because it turns out she’s hardly alone in her skepticism. A new study finds that a mere 18 percent of Americans “strongly believe that climate change is real, human-caused and harmful,” according to the Nature Conservancy.

Lee Bodner, executive director of EcoAmerica, the consulting group that did the study, told the Nature Conservancy that “political party affiliation was the largest indicator—by significant margins—on whether people see climate change as a threat, believe that it is human-caused, and even whether they've noticed the weather change or trust people who speak about global warming.” Bodner said 90 percent of Democrats believe the earth is warming, versus only 54 percent of Republicans.

Nevertheless, the candidates at the top of both party’s tickets have indicated their commitment to reengaging with the world on climate change. And the eco-activists at 350.org are seeing to it that they keep that promise. From the site, you can send both McCain and Obama an invitation to attend the UN’s climate talks in Poland this December. More than 30,000 people have already done so, but they need your help to reach their goal of 35,000 by Election Day.