Republicans are usually thought of as among the fiercest opponents of climate change, and among the first to debunk what many scientists have said about the effects of greenhouse gases on world temperature. Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, for instance, made headlines earlier this month when she let loose against climate change while speaking at the premiere of anti-climate change film Climate Hustle. But it appears that conservative individuals, in general, aren’t as cold on global warming as they used to be.
A new survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication shows that 47 percent of conservative Republicans (not Republicans in general, and not just politicians) believe that global warming is a thing, and should be taken seriously. That marks a 19 percent increase over the last two years. Still, that’s a small percentage compared to the almost three-fourths of people (73 percent) surveyed who believe in global warming, an increase of 7 percent from 2014’s figure. And, in another key takeaway, the survey noted that 56 percent of Americans believe that humans have been the main driving factor in climate change.
“Republicans are not a monolithic block of global warming policy opponents,” read a press statement for the survey. “Rather, liberal (and) moderate Republicans are often part of the mainstream of public opinion on climate change, while conservative Republicans’ views are often distinctly different than the rest of the American public.”
Probably more interesting, yet troubling was the respondents’ answers to the question of what percentage of climate scientists believe global warming is driven by human activities. Only 13 percent of the people surveyed said that the range is 90 to 100 percent – to be precise, the percentage is actually 97 percent. 63 percent put the range at 50 to 100 percent, while 25 percent said they didn’t have enough information to give an informed response.
The survey was culled from the responses of 1,0004 American adults aged 18 and above, all of whom are registered voters, and was conducted from March 18 to 31.