Environment, News, Op-Eds

The Anti-Science Lobby Has Been Winning On Climate Change — We Must Fight Back

Less than a week ago, we covered how the House GOP had decided to call in leaders from thirteen federal agencies to answer questions (and a questionnaire) on their response to climate change. Normally a positive sign of positive motion on an issue, we pointed out that it was entirely more likely that they were acting not to counteract climate change but instead to counteract the federal government’s moves on the issue.

Despite the signs of climate change all around us, congressional Republicans continue supporting big oil regardless of the cost to the taxpayer and to the planet. Back in March, a vote on ending subsidies as well as tax breaks given to big oil was filibustered. This is despite, as Daily Kos noted, an obscene trillion dollar profit in the ten year period between 2001 and 2011.

Some statistics on climate change should be even more alarming, perhaps none more so than this 2012 poll via Gallup suggesting that last year only 55 percent of the populace was worried about the effects of climate change – significantly down from 72 percent twelve years prior. Although up from the year 2011 and the 51 percent concern shown in that year, the level of public apathy or outright disregard should strike us as nothing short of astounding.

A quick look at the statistics can tell us quite a lot: while 40 percent of Republicans in 2012 saw global warming as not at all a significant problem, only 21 percent of independents felt the same way, and a minuscule but still slightly troublesome 10 percent of Democrats.

Although Gallup polling in 2013 has so far revealed that the amount of people concerned by climate change has increased by another 2 percent in the past year and now stands at 57 percent, with a full 43 percent saying they aren’t at all worried about the impact of climate change. Despite the profound and simple to understand 97 percent consensus from climate scientists across the board confirming that, yes, climate change is real, happening, and manmade, 43 percent of the general public still disagree with the science of climate change.

Fox News is, of course, by and large the primary source of media for conservative Republican voters and those now being questioned by prominent pollsters. The Fox News noise machine has become strikingly effective at pumping out anti-science propaganda and other networks (ABC and Bloomberg in tow) have, unfortunately for anyone that cares about climate science, oftentimes followed the leader. If you add in other right-wing leaders (anti-everything blowhard Rush Limbaugh prime among them) and a few appeals to religious sensibilities, the final result starts to look much like the polls: a consistently and willingly misled general populace, easily turned against climate science.

The anti-science lobby is ridiculously well funded and has a serious, real impact on climate-based legislation. On the line is the very future of the planet and humanity, but now a good bit of ground is being made.

An increase of 6 percent over the course of the past three years in climate worries by the public suggests that, however it happens, the public is being reached. Although money can be pumped into lobbyists and television ads and misinformation campaigns on major news networks, the one place spending would help is being dangerously ignored, and it might just be this creeping danger that is opening eyes to the threat – despite the money.

About Alyssa Kova

She's a 23 year old LGBT activist with a massive chip on her shoulder, and an unfortunate habit of referring to herself in third person on "About" sections of things.

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