Pacific Islanders Fear for Future Amidst Trump’s Climate Rhetoric

by Aurora Brachman

The future of Pacific Island nations requires the United States solidarity on climate change action to protect people in vulnerable developing nations from the environmental destruction they imminently face. As a result of rising sea levels and changing weather patterns, a consequence of global warming, Pacific Islands have begun to experience significant costal erosion and increasingly severe natural disasters that threaten the continued existence of these small island nations. Unfortunately, United States president Donald Trump has endorsed skepticism about human contributions to climate change and his climate policy as of January is consistent with these views. In Trump’s 100-day action plan, which he issued during his campaign, he claims intentions to cancel billions of dollars in funds to the United Nation’s climate change programs, which assist people in developing countries. He has also vowed to approve trillions of dollars’ worth of energy projects involving shale, coal, natural gas and oil, all industries that perpetuate climate change and whose continued use pose a threat to the future of these island nations. Continue reading

Climate Change and the 2016 Presidential Election

by Jesse Jennings

In the 2016 race for the White House, Republican candidates were tilting farther right on the issue of global warming, while the left-wing candidates are promising stronger mandates on carbon emissions. Although there is no consensus when it comes to climate change and it’s legitimacy, right-winged voters agree that climate change should not be a top priority of government officials—recent poll data show that a mere 3% of GOP primary voters think global warming should be on the agenda. Thirty percent of Democrat voters and 11% of swing voters think it should be a priority. Climate change seems to be more of a political pawn which either could hurt or help a nominee’s campaign, dependent on party. Standing in the middle could be more detrimental as Mike McKenna (R), an energy and environmental lobbyist, warns that “staying in one place”—either wholly believing or wholly denying climate change—will prevent political damage to yourself. But whether or not they believe in climate change and it’s place on the agenda, both parties are using it to gain votes in upcoming elections. Continue reading

Problem Not Solved

by Jassmin Del Rio

Unfortunately, the fact that that there is almost complete consensus among scientists that climate change is occurring is not enough to completely convince the general public. There are some techniques outlined by Maxwell and Miller that might be able to get more people to acknowledge the existence of climate change. They also outline the many factors that contribute to why 25% of Americans continue to deny climate change.

First, there are many biases that need to be accounted for before there can be any media influence to persuade people to rethink their beliefs. To make matters worse, Maxwell and Miller stipulate that there are popular media outlets including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal that provide false information to the public. This often leads to distrust in journalism and therefore disbelief in climate science. Continue reading

Climate Change and the 2016 Presidential Election

by Jesse Jennings

In the 2016 race for the White House, Republican candidates are tilting farther right on the issue of global warming, while the left-wing candidates are promising stronger mandates on carbon emissions. Although there is no consensus when it comes to climate change and it’s legitimacy, right-winged voters agree that climate change should not be a top priority of government officials—recent poll data show that a mere 3% of GOP primary voters think global warming should be on the agenda. Thirty percent of Democrat voters and 11% of swing voters think it should be a priority. Climate change seems to be more of a political pawn which either could hurt or help a nominee’s campaign, dependent on party. Standing in the middle could be more detrimental as Mike McKenna (R), an energy and environmental lobbyist, warns that “staying in one place”—either wholly believing or wholly denying climate change—will prevent political damage to yourself. But whether or not they believe in climate change and it’s place on the agenda, both parties are using it to gain votes in upcoming elections. Continue reading

Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me.

by Jassmin Del Rio

Is lack of education the reason that skeptics of climate change are skeptics? Chloe Lucas, Peat Leith, and Aidan Davison suggest that, instead, a lack of trust in the scientific community is a main contributor to the skepticism. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the United Nations (UN) to produce “consensus reports” on the effects of climate change. At first, IPCC was thought of as a trustworthy organization, however, that changed in some people’s eyes after the events of “Climategate” in 2009, the release of 1079 emails that were stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Upon reading the emails, conservatives concluded that scientists were reporting false statistics, dismissing data that disagreed with climate change, and covering up errors. Subsequently, the general public grew doubtful of the scientific community and their reports on anything related to climate change. Continue reading

Climate Change to Social Injustice

by Alejandro Sandell-Gandara

A Wall Street Journal piece titled “California’s Climate Change Revolt” remarks on Jerry Brown’s attention towards re-branding California as a “Model of green virtue” through new anti-carbon regulations. However, these new regulations are creating a division in Brown’s party as 21 Democratic Assembly members argue against the bill on the grounds that it disproportionately harms middle- and low-income communities. Jerry Brown’s bill mandates a cut in state greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels and reduction in state wide oil consumption in vehicles by 50% while maintaining a cap-and-trade program which requires oil refiners and power plants to purchase carbon emission permits. Continue reading

Political Views and Climate Change Views

by Riley Hoffman

It is obvious in the United States that the political divide is so intense, that one could fit an ocean between the Democratic and Republican parties when it comes to opinions on global climate change, but is it the same in other countries? The authors (McCright etd.2015) of “Political ideology and views about climate change in the European Union” try to find out. In a study with 25 countries (14 Western European countries, 11 former Communist countries), they used a survey to test whether or not the trends. Their hypothesis? That just as in the US, citizens who associate with the conservative parties will show less belief in global climate change in comparison to their liberal counterparts. They were also curious to compare their data to the former Communist countries’ citizens. Surprisingly, their hypothesis was accurate as, for the most part, right-leaning people showed higher amounts of denial and considered it much less serious than the liberals. They found very little divide on the topic in the former Communist countries. Continue reading

The Dangers of Climate Change Denial

by JP Kiefer

While conspiracy theories are relatively common and well-studied, very little research has been done investigating climate change conspiracy theories and their especially harmful nature. According to Douglas (2015), conspiracy theories tend to develop around global-scale events with enormous significance that individuals have trouble believing can be explained by mundane or ordinary details. Climate change fits this description perfectly, as science has shown that it is caused by small, common actions such as driving a car. Because of this, a number of climate change conspiracies have developed, such as that scientists have made up climate change for political reasons, to get research grants, or to help those who invested in green energy technology profit. Continue reading

Pollution and Politics

by Jackson Cooney

Republican senator, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky has been pushing states to ignore President Obama’s global warming regulations. He argues that the administration’s anti-coal initiative aims to destroy America’s power generation under the pretense of protecting the climate. The EPA along with the President is requiring each state to submit a plan outlining how they are going to cut coal plant pollution. These plans will lead to the shutdown of hundreds of power plants in the Administration’s attempt to rely more heavily on renewable energy sources. As of now, 12 states have filed lawsuits in protest of this plan. However Senator McConnell has advised that the best way to fight this initiative would be to refuse to submit state plans. Continue reading

Climate Change Adaption in California

by Brina Jablonski

Climate change has always affected California but even more so now in today’s current climate conditions. Problems revolving around rising sea levels, frequent heat waves, floods, wildfires, droughts, shrinking snow packs, growing water demand, changes in precipitation, hotter conditions, an increasing number of threatened or endangered animal species, and an extreme growth in human population are forcing the government of California to adapt and make plans for the future in order to minimize later damage for the Golden State. Assembly Bill 32 (the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act) has already improved California’s energy, transportation, construction, agricultural, and natural resource sectors. As California faces these issues, the state also sets the framework for potential national and even international action. Davis and Chornesky (2014) primarily address how California is responding to rising sea levels, changes in water supply, flood risks, and weakened ecosystem resilience. Continue reading