Conservative, white men in US more likely to deny climate change
This should come as no surprise to those who have been following this issue - in the US the self identified “conservative” white male is much more likely to deny the existence of man-made climate change than the average public.
From the Guardian summary article of a newly published report:
“The more you think you know, the more you think you’re right,” goes an old saying. Now comes a study of sex, skin color and political ideology that suggests it pretty much sums up how some white male conservatives in the United States respond to climate change.
“Even casual observers” of those who argue that climate change isn’t a serious problem “likely notice an obvious pattern,” Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State University in East Lansing and Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater write in Global Environmental Change: “The most prominent denialists are conservative white males” – from media pundit Rush Limbaugh to politicians like Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. But the pair wondered: “Does a similar pattern exist in the American public?”
To find out, the researchers analyzed ten annual polls on environmental issues conducted by the Gallup Organization from 2001 to 2010. […]
Overall, while 29.6% of conservative white males (CWMs) believed that the effects of global warming “will never happen,” just 7.4% of all other adults shared that view. Similarly, 58.5% of CWMs — but only 31.5% of all other adults — denied that recent temperature increases are primarily caused by human activities. The pattern demonstrates that CWMs “are more likely than other adults to reject the scientific consensus on climate change,” the authors note. So, “not surprisingly,” 58.8% of CWMs “deny the existence of a scientific consensus,” compared to 35.5% of other adults.
Notably, the researchers say that CWMs also tended to assert a stronger understanding of global warming than other adults – and those who said they understood it best were the most likely to be the strongest deniers. “This, of course, seems an untenable self-assessment,” the authors write, “given that conservative white males are more likely than are other adults to reject the current scientific consensus.”
From the abstract of the published paper:
[…] We utilize public opinion data from ten Gallup surveys from 2001 to 2010, focusing specifically on five indicators of climate change denial. We find that conservative white males are significantly more likely than are other Americans to endorse denialist views on all five items, and that these differences are even greater for those conservative white males who self-report understanding global warming very well. Furthermore, the results of our multivariate logistic regression models reveal that the conservative white male effect remains significant when controlling for the direct effects of political ideology, race, and gender as well as the effects of nine control variables. We thus conclude that the unique views of conservative white males contribute significantly to the high level of climate change denial in the United States.
► Conservative white males are more likely than other Americans to report climate change denial. ► Conservative white males who self-report understanding global warming very well are even more likely. ► Climate change denial is an example of identity-protective cognition. ► System-justifying tendencies lead to climate change denial. ► Climate change denial increased from 2001 to 2010.
“Identity-protective cognition” indeed. The worldview of the patristic, often theocratic, far-right in this country is crumbling under the weight of a changing real world that challenges their power.