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'We Believe!' Even Reddest States Admit Climate Change Real

Though their representatives in Congress continue to deny it, majority of Conservative voters have no doubt that warming planet is causing significant changes

- Jon Queally, staff writer

Could ever-rising temperatures turn red states green? Perhaps not, but according to new research, the debate over whether climate change is real, even in the Conservative heartland, is over. (Image: WeatherChannel/file)A new study from Stanford University shows that even among the nation's most right-wing constituencies the debate about whether or not climate change is happening is over.

Not that you'd know it from a survey of congressional Republicans, but research headed by Professor Jon Krosnick, a social psychologist who studied years worth of polling data to reach his conclusions, found that even in the reddest political states, like Texas and Oklahoma, a majority of people not only believe that climate change is negatively impacting their environment but they actually want the government to step in to address the problem.

“To me, the most striking finding that is new today was that we could not find a single state in the country where climate scepticism was in the majority,” Krosnick said in an interview with the Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg.

According to Krosnick, what compels more conservative voters to believe in global warming is neither scientific evidence nor declarations by environmentalists, experts, or lawmakers. Instead, it is their own experience of changing weather patterns.

“Their experience with weather leaves people in most places on the green side in most of the questions we ask,” he told Goldenberg. In already warm states in the south—like Texas, Arizona and Kansas—he said, people simply recognize that the weather and seasons are changing within their own lifetimes.

Despite what their constituents might know or accept about global warming, however, Goldenberg notes that "some 58% of Republicans in the current Congress deny the existence of climate change or oppose action to cut greenhouse gas emissions."

Krosnick's findings were presented at a meeting of the House climate change task force this week, complete with maps and a series of factsheets from each state:

STATE FACT SHEETS

Alabama Maine Oklahoma
Arizona Maryland Oregon
Arkansas Massachusetts Pennsylvania
California Michigan Rhode Island
Colorado Minnesota South Carolina
Connecticut Mississippi South Dakota
Delaware Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Idaho Nevada Vermont
Illinois New Hampshire Virginia
Indiana New Jersey Washington
Iowa New Mexico West Virginia
Kansas New York Wisconsin
Kentucky North Carolina  
Louisiana Ohio  

According to the Guardian:

States that voted for Barack Obama, as expected, also believe climate change is occurring and support curbs on carbon pollution. Some 88% of Massachusetts residents believe climate change is real.

But Texas and Oklahoma are among the reddest of red states and are represented in Congress by Republicans who regularly dismiss the existence of climate change or its attendant risks.

Congressman Joe Barton of Texas and Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma stand out for their regular denials of climate change as a “hoax”, even among Republican ranks.

However, the research found 87% of Oklahomans and 84% of Texans accepted that climate change was occurring.

Seventy-six percent of Americans in both states also believed the government should step in to limit greenhouse gas emissions produced by industry.

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