The Parallels Present in Politics, Planetary Warming, and Co2 Pollution An Exploration of the Reasons Behind Climate Change Denial.

Imagine a world in which no one dies from air pollution, nothing is wasted, the Earth is respected, and traditional societal norms like monogamy, gender roles, and sexuality are ignored. What may sound like a liberal pipedream is depicted in Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 novel Ecotopia. This book takes a political approach to Environmentalism depicting life in an independent democratic Eco-state after California, Oregon, and Washington suced from the United States in an effort to protect their population from the effects of pollution and global warming. Though this world may sound ideal, it comes with strict nearly cult-like rules and structure that I fear the United States may come to need soon without climate action.

Ever since the first grade when I learned about the importance of reduce, reuse, and recycle I’ve become increasingly aware of deteriorating state of the Earth around me. Starting this project I found it impossible to believe that people could refute climate change and was baffled as to why substantial global action wasn’t being taken to fix the issue. I wondered why it seems global warming, a huge issue with substantial scientific support, is widely ignored? One report even claimed when Americans were asked if they agreed with the statement, "The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity," just 54 percent of the adults surveyed agreed (Roppolo). I found this incredibly shocking and couldn’t help but wonder how or why is climate change is denied?

In a search for answers I began with an article called “Why Some Conservatives Can’t Accept That Climate Change Is Real.” This article by Carolyn Gregoire, helped me to understand that while many politicians are aware of global warming, their refusal of human-caused climate change has little to do with actual science. In fact, there's a large financial incentive to deny the effects of global warming. Many oil and coal companies that would suffer from environmental restrictions pay large sums of money to politicians and scientists to question man-made climate change. According to an analysis of contributions and lobbying data from the Center for Responsive Politics and advertising spending data from Kantar Media Intelligence/CMAG “the fossil-fuel industry directly invested $721 order to secure a Congress of its choosing. Of these investments, the fossil-fuel industry directly contributed more than $64 million to candidates and political parties, spent more than $163 million on television ads across the country, and paid almost $500 million to Washington lobbyists in the two years leading up to the November 2014 elections.” (Moser and Lee-Ashley) This money is incredibly well spent because climate change deniers are incredibly effective. Their goal is to confuse the public and delay decisive action. A quote from former vice president Al Gore sums this up well ”Wealthy right-wing ideologues have joined with the most cynical and irresponsible companies in the oil, coal, and mining industries to contribute large sums of money to finance pseudoscientific front groups that specialize in sowing confusion in the public’s mind about global warming.” (Gore). By doing so even when majority of the scientific community has reached a consensus it seems as though there is little evidence and understanding which is far from the truth. However, I later learned that this exchange of money for pseudoscience is sadly, just one of the many reasons climate change is so widely diminished.

Another reason, I learned, climate change isn’t a present issue for everyone is some people don’t believe it to be a negative. In an article from the The Spectator, Matt Ridley discusses how he believes climate change will “lead to fewer winter deaths, lower energy costs, better agricultural yields, probably fewer droughts, and maybe richer biodiversity”(Ridley). When I first read this piece I first assumed it was satire I couldn’t believe that someone could misunderstand or contort scientific evidence so easily. This helped me to realize a present issue. A lack of objective news hurts climate efforts because biased news confirms possibly untrue beliefs of someone and fuels skeptics. While I know that climate change destroys coral reefs and biodiversity, worsens droughts and floods, creates possibly deadly weather events, worsens unhealthy air pollution, and more, I can see how someone with pre-determined beliefs could easily take this as fact and think little of climate change. This is proven in a poll from Pew Research Center that found, “Roughly four-in-ten Americans expect harmful effects from climate change on wildlife, shorelines and weather patterns.” (Funk and Kennedy). Only forty percent, less than half, of the U.S. adults believe that climate change is going to have detrimental impacts. I was astonished because I was so sure that this was common knowledge. I attribute this misunderstanding or refusal of Co2 effects to pseudoscience and incorrect, misleading, or manipulated information. However, I still wondered why it seemed to only be conservatives who were so adamant in refusing global warming.
Roughly four-in-ten Americans expect harmful effects from climate change on wildlife, shorelines and weather patterns.

Then I discovered “Thank God Environmentalism Is Dead” an article from Huffington Post with a hilariously accurate title which helped me to answer my question. A major reason climate change deniers seem to be conservative is largely influenced by religion. “The rising influence of the Christian Right appears to have helped convince an increasing number of Americans that there is no need to worry about urgent environmental problems such as climate change because ‘God has the reins, and He will save us.’” (Cabin) This mentality is very dangerous and powerful in stopping the environmentalism movement because it reassures people they don’t need to worry about climate change and combined with one-sided information and research, misguided beliefs become solid. However, some religious leaders and scholars have denounced anti-environmental theology. Neil Degrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, makes the argument the nature is following the earth's cues and twe should be following the same signals. “You can take your cue from the rest of the animal and plant kingdom. Animals are migrating at different rates. Plants are migrating north that never made it north before because they could not sustain the warmth that is there. Plants that are getting fertilized earlier than before. Their migration patterns have shifted and so, nature already knows the answer to what everyone here is arguing about.” (“Neil deGrasse Tyson schools former GM exec Lutz on climate change”). If Christians believe god created everything then they should agree that god’s creation is being affected by climate change and we should follow nature’s indications. Thankfully, more and more are speaking out against religious anti-environmentalism. Nonetheless, tremendous amounts of work still need to be done to convince extreme theists that they have a responsibility to the planet they inhabit.

With Twitter posts from our president-elect, Donald Trump, saying things like, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” strong environmentalism is as necessary as ever. But, while I am concerned for the future I also have hope that humanity will be able to combat this growing issue. I definitely don’t have the solution to global warming but, I do believe that understanding the ways in which and the reasons behind the refusal of anthropomorphic climate change will help us going forward in the future. I think that it’s necessary to fund unbiased environmental research, elect climate conscious political leaders, create and spread news that informs its and challenges it readers, inform the public about all the detriments of climate change, teach more about how to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment as an individual and implement new laws limiting Co2 emissions, protecting forests, and more. I truly hope that our generation can solve these issues before we need to resort to solutions like Ecotopia and before Earth becomes uninhabitable and dangerous to everyone.

While I am concerned for the future I also have hope that humanity will be able to combat this growing issue.

Works Cited

Roppolo, Michael. “Americans more skeptical of climate change than others in global survey.” CBS News, CBS Interactive Inc. 23 July, 2014,

Gregoire, Carolyn. “Why Some Conservatives Can’t Accept That Climate Change Is Real.” Huffington Post, 23 November, 2015,

Moser, Claire and Lee-Ashley, Matt. “The Fossil-Fuel Industry Spent Big to Set the Anti-Environment Agenda of the Next Congress.” Center for American Progress, 22 December, 2014,

Gore, Al. “Al Gore on Global Warming and the Environment.” CNSnews, Media Research Center, 7 July, 2008,

Ridley, Matt. “Cary On Warming.” The Spectator, 19 October, 2013,

Funk, Carry and Kennedy, Brian. “The Politics of Climate”. Survey. Pew Research Center, 10 May, 2016 - 6 June, 2016.

Cabin, Robert. “Thank God Environmentalism Is Dead.” The Huffington Post, 5 August, 2011.

Micheleland. “Neil deGrasse Tyson schools former GM exec Lutz on climate change” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 3 March, 2012.

Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump) “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Twitter, 6 Nov. 2012, 2:15 p.m.,

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