A measly 10% of Republicans accept that climate change is human-caused.
By contrast, 78% of liberal Democrats believe that humans are changing the planet, according to a new and somewhat disheartening report published by the Pew Research Center: “Americans, Politics and Science Issues.”
The study was done in August 2014 and designed by the Pew Research Center with help from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Results are based on a total of 2,002 random phone interviews.
The report found that Republicans and Democrats disagree the most on:
- Investment in new energy technologies as opposed to relying on oil, coal, and gas
- Whether there is enough private funding for progress
- Heavier regulation on power plant emissions
- More fracking
- Offshore drilling
But the science behind human-caused climate change is sound, and can’t be changed by public opinion or willful ignorance.
Here’s how conservatives and liberals differ on a variety of climate-change and energy related issues, including how much their political party or ideology plays into that opinion:
What’s even more depressing is that many conservatives who deny the science of manmade climate change also think it doesn’t pay off to spend government money on scientific research.
Liberal Democrats tend to lean towards investing more money government funds in energy and scientific research, but Republicans are complacent with the amount of funding and think that private funding alone should suffice.
Here’s a better breakdown of how different political views influence feelings about government funding for science:
A large majority of liberal Democrats in the study believe investments in science research will have returns in the long run: 89% support basic science and even more, 92%, support investment in engineering and technology research.
Republicans, however, are not as convinced: only 61% of those polled think spending money on basic science will pay off and 68% think government investments in engineering and technology research will likely pay off.
A considerable number of conservatives also say that these kind of investments are “not worth it,” according to the report.
Many Republicans polled do not see alternative energy sources as a priority and support fracking, the controversial drilling technique used to reclaim gas and oil from shale rock.
Fracking has raised environmental concerns including groundwater contamination, small earthquakes, and the large amounts of water used in fracking. The practice probably isn’t the best long-term energy investment, since some experts experts think half of the industry could be gone by the end of this year.
Though there are theories for why most conservatives are wary of government funding of science, their inclination to believe that we will find a way to “stretch natural resources” is problematic.
Despite their hesitation to fund science research, a 54% majority of conservative Republicans also say that the growing global population will not be an issue since we will find a way to make natural resources last. Only 30% of liberals agree.
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