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

Heat Stress and Low Humidity with Climate Change will be Hard on Midwestern Corn Crops


by Christina Whalen and Emil Morhardt

Maize (corn) production continues to be a very important source of food, feed, and fuel all around the world, but climate change has raised the concern about being able to maintain the yield rates. A negative relationship between extremely high temperatures (above 30˚C) and yield has already been observed in various regions. Previous studies have not been able to demonstrate which mechanism causes the correlation between extreme temperatures and yield, thus it is possible that the relationship reflects the influence of another variable, such as precipitation rates. There are other possible explanations for the observed relationships. This study explores the mechanisms used in other studies that document the importance of extreme heat on rainfed maize using the process-based Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM). The study asks three main questions: can APSIM reproduce the empirical relationships—what farmers are seeing on the ground?; if so, what does APSIM imply are the key processes that give rise to these relationships?; how much are these relationships affected by changes in atmospheric CO2? Continue reading