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

Scientific Skepticism Due to Prior Attitudes and Implicit Biases

by Jen Petrova

Why is it that certain people are skeptical about scientific facts and data? Are there any overlying trends that show that certain groups of people are more likely to be skeptical about climate change than others? Kraft, Lodge, and Taber (2015) found that religion is not the only factor that plays into climate change skepticism; political ideology and partisanship affect how people react to scientific facts as well. These authors came to the conclusion that conservatives are more likely than liberals to be scientifically skeptical due to their prior attitudes, affect-driven motivated reasoning, and biased attitude formation. 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

Al Gore is Ready to Win the Battle of Climate Change

by Abby Schantz 

In the New York Times article, “The New Optimism,” published on March 16th, 2015, John Schwartz explains a change in action by Al Gore regarding climate change. Gore has a long list of achievements; former vice president of the United Sates, environmental activist, and investor. He is also the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change, including his Academy Award winning film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” These efforts have focused on showing the magnitude of the problem of climate change, instilling concern for the issue around the globe. Recently, however, his viewpoint has transformed to cast a more optimistic light saying, “We’re going to win this.” Gore uses the history of cellphones as an analogy to changing energy sources. In 1980, AT&T estimated that 900,000 cellphones would be sold by 2000. In fact, 109 million were sold by 2000 and, by- today, around 7 billion. Gore says the mis-estimation was due to the rapid increase in technology and decrease in costs, which turned giant blocks (old cellphones) into miniature computers (new cellphones). Continue reading