Political ideology and views about climate change in the European Union

by Jake Kessler

The United States is divided over the existence of climate change. The conservative right-wing party in the U.S., the Republican party, is widely known for its anti-climate change beliefs. The Democratic Party, our left-wing liberal party, strongly believes in climate change and the need to tackle it. Does this type of relationship between political ideology and opinion on climate change exist elsewhere? Aaron et al (2016) looked at similar populations in Canada, Australia, and the European Union, and found similar divides in those countries between the left, and right wing- coalitions. They argue that the issue has been become politicized in much of the developed world. However, the United States remains an outlier due to the intensity of the divide. The authors attributed this to the greater degree of politicization in general versus other developed countries. Continue reading

The Politicization of Climate Change

by Brendan Busch

In recent years, the debate over the proper response to climate change has become increasingly political rather than scientific. Noting this, Kerrie L. Unsworth, a professor and associate dean at the business school of the University of Western Australia, and Kelly S. Fielding, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland, set out to study the effects of an individual’s political affiliation on their opinions about climate change. Before presenting their own research, Unsworth and Fielding point to a 2003 study by G.L. Cohen that demonstrated people’s tendencies to follow their chosen political party unquestioningly, by showing that people were likely to support a welfare policy that was approved by leading members of their political party even if the policy went against their own personal beliefs or the core values of the party itself. Observing this study, Unsworth and Fielding wondered if they could produce a similar result with respect to climate change. Continue reading