Down to Earth logo

Politicization of Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently made international headlines when it released a special report on the impacts of 1.5 degrees of warming. If you don’t have the time to read its hundreds of pages, here’s a summary: we’re in for a lot of trouble. But while almost all climate scientists agree that global climate change is real, already happening, and on the road to inflicting devastating damage on countries throughout the world, the rest of the country can’t seem to agree on whether climate change is real (and terrifying) or just another bit of fake news. Why? And why are the conversations surrounding climate change so polarized?

Julie, Pam and I sat down to discuss the state of climate change politics—and why politics are so polarized in general at this juncture in our nation’s history. Join us for a conversation about liberal vs. conservative views of the role of government and the ways in which these relate to beliefs about climate change. We also discussed means of talking about climate change and approaching climate action in ways that diffuse partisan tensions. What about emphasizing the immediate threats to personal, property, and national security that climate change is already having? How about enabling a more community-based approach rather than focusing on the government as the driver of climate action? One thing was clear to us: as we face climate change, we need everyone to be engaged in climate action. That means that those of us on the liberal side of climate action need to be aware of conservative perspectives in order to work across the partisan divide to combat issues already affecting all of us.

We hope you enjoy the podcast, and please reach out to us if you have any questions or thoughts. Thanks for listening!

Marta Faulkner Helpful links:

Pew Research Center article on trust in climate scientists

And here is the perspective of Linguist George Lakoff that Pam referenced in the episode. She only pulled a few key points from his talk to present other perspectives on the politics around climate change, this does not reflect our own views on the topic.