US states have become more divisive in recent years over Covid-19 vaccines, abortion and political affiliation, but a new study adds one more division to the mix: climate change.
An estimated 15 percent of Americans do not believe the climate change alarmism that has become widespread in recent years.
Research has shown that there is a strong connection between people’s political affiliation, followed by their level of education, the area’s Covid-19 vaccination rates and income.
According to the study, climate skepticism is most prevalent in central and southern Republican-led states, as expected.
In contrast, largely coastal states with larger Democratic populations have a high percentage of believers in climate change.
Climate change deniers lived in Republican-led states, while believers were more likely to live in states with high Democratic populations.
The researchers analyzed 40 million tweets about X related to global warming and climate change.
The team narrowed their search by first looking at tweets from accounts with location information, which account for more than 73 percent of the data.
The researchers then further removed all fake and nationwide locations, and to reduce the possibility of registering non-human accounts, they removed all users who tweeted more than 20 times a day.
This left the researchers with 640,000 “clean accounts” and they separated them into two groups (climate change believers and non-believers) using Transformer, a deep learning artificial intelligence model that had been trained to identify tweets that were against or against favor of climate change.
If the model identified an ambiguous tweet or the team’s researchers couldn’t agree on which stance to take, the tweet was excluded from the data.
The AI model further narrowed the findings to a balanced sample of 6,500 tweets, identifying 3,300 as climate change believers and 3,200 as climate change deniers.
The researchers defined deniers as people who claim humans are not the primary cause of climate change, do not believe climate change is real, claim experts are unreliable, say impacts are not serious, and proposed solutions. They are inefficient.
According to the study, researchers said they were not surprised to find that the vast majority of people who do not believe in climate change are found in areas of the country that dismiss science-based health or safety recommendations and show a general resistance to The science. .
“According to the theory of identity-protective cognition, people tend to selectively credit or discredit evidence in patterns that reflect beliefs that predominate in their group,” the researchers said.
‘This theory helps explain why Republican voters are more likely to believe former President Trump’s tweets about climate change than those from other sources; It is an affirmation of identity.”
The study reported that climate change deniers commonly retweet similar posts from former President Donald Trump and from conservative media outlets such as Fox News and the Washington Examiner and far-right blogs and news stories such as The Daily Wire and Daily Caller that “convey contrary opinions about the weather”. change.’
Other websites that posted misleading and false claims about climate change were also frequently retweeted, including TownHall Media and Climate Depot; and other producers, political commentators and right-wing activists such as Chuck Woolery.
Climate change believers and deniers differed dramatically in their beliefs about whether there is still time to adapt to climate change and whether humans are the primary cause.
“During the 2017-2019 study period, the most retweeted post included one by Trump questioning climate change due to unusually cold weather in the US, and another in which he cast doubt on a UN climate report” said the study’s lead author, Joshua Newell. he professor and co-director of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the UM School of Environment and Sustainability told Pys.org.
He continued: “In almost half of the tweets analyzed, the most common refrain was that ‘climate change wasn’t real.’
“Other common explanations were that humans are not the main cause and that climate change experts are unreliable.”
A large portion of climate change deniers live in states with high rates of Republican voters, including Idaho, Wyoming, Texas and Tennessee, and more than 20 percent of the population of Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama and North Dakota.
Meanwhile, climate change believers were largely concentrated in Democratic-led states, including California, Washington, Arizona and throughout New England and the Great Lakes region.
Even in these areas, there are pockets where people are going against the grain, like Shasta County in California, where 52 percent of people do not believe in climate change, even though deniers make up less than 12 percent. of the general population of California.
The same is true in Texas, where 87 percent of the population is a believer, compared to 21 percent of the state’s general population who deny that climate change exists.
The study comes as climate change is on the rise: Earth’s temperature has risen 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit every decade since 1850 and has warmed at a rate more than three times faster since 1982, rising 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit. degrees Fahrenheit per decade, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report.
Climate change has already had a profound effect on Earth, including melting glaciers, rising sea levels, more intense heat waves, and an increase in natural disasters, but if climate change is allowed to continue, will have a profound effect on the future of our planet. .
Scientists predict that by 2100, sea level will rise at least another foot, but may rise as much as 6.6 feet, hurricanes will become stronger and more intense, there will be a longer wildfire season, and more droughts, heat waves and the Arctic Ocean. it is likely to remain ice-free, depending on POT.
However, researchers reported in the new study that 59 percent of the total number of deniers believe that climate change is a “conspiracy theory or a hoax and a dark attempt to deceive the public into bearing the costs of climate change.” decarbonization while generating enormous wealth for the blue “elites.”
The study added that climate change denialism poses a significant risk as communities increasingly face natural disasters, including floods, wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes, as well as extreme heat and sea level rise.
By ignoring signs of climate change and disproving its existence, researchers said deniers “tend to underestimate their current (and future) risk.”
“This makes them less likely to take the necessary measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”