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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.

Confronting Climate Change Is Good Politics

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: climate change, politics, science, voting, environment, Daily Climate, Keith Goetzman,

Sen. George Voinovich

Political candidates of all stripes can gain votes by acknowledging that human-caused climate change is real and that we ought to do something about it, a new survey suggests.

The Daily Climate reports on the poll by Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, which interviewed 1,000 people last November. They were asked how they would vote for a hypothetical Senate candidate based on various issues including climate change, and the results were striking:

In the full national sample, taking a green position on climate won votes for the Senate candidate, and taking a not-green position lost votes. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they would vote for the candidate who took a green position. Sixty-five percent said they would vote for the candidate who was silent on climate change, while 48 percent said they would vote for the candidate who took the not-green position.

“Essentially what we found in our admittedly very simplified study is that candidates have nothing to lose from taking a green position on climate change,” the study’s author, social psychologist Jon Krosnick, told the New York Times’ Green blog.

In one sense, this is good news: The savvy politician facing a tight election race might see a self-serving reason to get on board with tackling climate change. But the realist in me posits that cynical, climate-change-denying politicians know they’re out of step with their constituents on this issue, yet they don’t care: They stake out their position to please wealthy business donors and Republican power brokers, not their workaday constituents.

Source: The Daily Climate, New York Times Green 

Image by americaspower, licensed under Creative Commons.