Why Do People Still Not Believe in Climate Change?

climate change

There is a new study out that people may actually experience weather in different ways depending on their political beliefs. The study published in Nature Climate Change examined the politicization of the weather, which has gone to the extent that Democrats are more likely to believe that the weather is warmer than usual than their Republican counterparts. It is interesting to note the partisanship in the experience of weather. Obviously, partisan politics play a role in how people observe the world, though it is more than a little unsettling to see to what extent that is true. The question is, what does this mean? Why do people still not believe in the reality of climate change and why is there such a partisan gap about it?

The fact that belief affects perception is unsurprising, but the extremity of the recent study’s conclusion is incredible. Many people may be inclined to believe that something as concrete as the weather should not be affected by political beliefs. Nevertheless it is and that fact points to the extremity of the political arguments involved. On the one hand,  Democrats claim to have a complete consensus on climate change from the scientists best situated to know all the facts. On the other, Republicans claim that such consensus and, indeed, the entire problem of climate change is completely manufactured. People are caught between an either-or argument from both sides. The weather is political now and no one can avoid it.

Why does this situation persist? One answer is the interests of the political parties involved. Republicans are reputed to be in bed with fossil fuels, regarded as one of the primary culprits in the case of dangerous climate change. They deny the issue exists because it would cut into the bottom lines of many corporations which benefit from practices detrimental to the economy. That is the narrative that many on the left wing have put forward as an explanation for the differences. On the other hand, Republicans say that their opponents are bent on hurting businesses and taking power by manufacturing a problem to justify more extreme government regulations. Ultimately, it does not matter which side is right and most likely neither is wholly correct. People will believe what they want to believe regardless of the facts, which is what the argument on climate change shows.

One other reason why people still do not believe in the reality of climate change is the media. On one hand we have reports of the huge consensus in the scientific community on the issue. But many in the media do not report that fact and instead take partisan lines of reporting on the issue. There is a verifiable 97 percent agreement on climate change in the scientific community, but the conservative wing of the media has sought to deny this fact. Articles like those on Breitbart which claim to “debunk” news of the consensus and gleefully reporting contradictions meant to convince people that what they hear in one place is not true. Once again, people are forced into an either-or choice between conflicting messages. How are they to choose which is correct?

People from different political parties experience the weather differently because of their political beliefs, because they are forced into choices which require acceptance of certain kinds of facts at the expense of others. The truth is lost somewhere in the mix of all the partisan bickering and, along with it, any objective experience of the weather. Why do people still not believe in climate change which is a statistical and scientific fact about which there is enough consensus to make it acceptable to reasonable people? They are forced to make their choice between extremes called Republicans and Democrats. It is as simple as that.

Opinion By Lydia Bradbury


Photo by WWF France – Flickr License

Washington Post
Business Insider

4 Responses to "Why Do People Still Not Believe in Climate Change?"

  1. Justsomeguy   April 11, 2015 at 6:01 am

    This author repeatedly talks about climate change as if it were a fact. In essence I’d agree, the climate has changed constantly throughout the long history of the earth. The author however is intimating that this change is man made. I and many others however have not gotten to the point where we believe that man is responsible in any meaningful way.

    The author also speaks of consensus repeatedly and this is common in this debate. It’s as if we can get together and vote on what is a fact. “Deniers” are repeatedly derided for not believing in science, yet it is those who repeatedly talk of consensus that have abandoned science. Consensus is not part of the scientific method. Never has been and never will be. Consensus has been wrapped round incorrect theorys repeatedly through the ages. It is specifically excluded from the scientific method for a reason.

    This debate is far from settled and consensus won’t settle it. The ability to make an accurate prediction will. That has so far failed miserably.

  2. Down to Earth   January 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    It has warmed globally , 0.9°C in 150 years.
    Who is willing to pay a average $20 – $60 per week in carbon taxes to remedy this ?
    Why should we spend billions to fund third world countries with these taxes collected ?
    What country would be willing to fund a project in an enemy country ? And have no option to refuse ?

  3. Larry Byrd   December 29, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Because the same people who are trying to bring you “climate change” were SO WRONG about global warming right after they were SO WRONG about global cooling.

  4. Phil Dorrington   November 25, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I think Big Oil is concerned over the possibilities of litigation for “failling to warn of the consequences of burning Fuel” for decades, so i think it sponsors climate change denial, if ever those Floodgates were opened in a legal battle… all hell would break loose. A potential 6 Billion legal clients with a case, i would think.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.