June 13, 2024
The Politics, Society and Science Surrounding Climate Change

The Politics, Society and Science Surrounding Climate Change

Politics and society heavily influence climate policy ambitions and, as a result, the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions; however, climate change models and projections rarely account for political and social drivers.

A study conducted by the University of California, Davis, simulated 100,000 possible future policy and emissions trajectories in order to identify relevant variables within the climate-social system that could influence climate change this century. 

The findings show that people’s perceptions and social groups, long-term improvements in mitigation technology, and the responsiveness of political institutions are far more important drivers of future emissions than individual actions. 

The study is not prescriptive. Rather, it investigates the social-political-technical system that determines future emissions, incorporates that data into existing climate models, and connects them on a global scale.

When it comes to party divides, the most significant gaps in climate policy and science exist between those at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans view climate-related issues through vastly different lenses, from potential causes to who should be in charge of resolving them.

Liberal Democrats have more faith in climate scientists’ work (55% say climate research reflects the best available evidence most of the time) and understanding of the phenomenon (68% say climate scientists know very well whether or not climate change is occurring).

Perhaps as a result, liberal Democrats are much more likely to believe that a wide range of environmental disasters are on the horizon.

Even Republicans who believe the Earth is warming are much less likely than Democrats to anticipate serious harm to the Earth’s ecosystem and to believe that any of the six individual and policy actions mentioned can make a significant difference in addressing climate change.

Furthermore, a majority of conservative Republicans believe that each of the six climate change actions will make only a small difference.

Despite recent controversies, the vast majority of the science has withstood independent review and meets scientific standards.

Internationally, as the IPCC prepares for a new report, it will make a number of structural changes to improve its adaptability to the rapid pace of science and its own increasingly decentralized governance.

In August 2010, the Australian Academy of Science published its own summary of the state of knowledge, reaffirming its belief in the science’s fundamental conclusions.

The Politics, Society and Science Surrounding Climate Change

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *