Conservatives are often accused by the left of ignoring the science on global warming, but a newly released survey shows Republicans are better informed than their Democratic counterparts on several key climate issues.
A Google survey of 1,500 U.S. adults released last week by Environmental Progress found Democrats were more likely than Republicans “to believe false information about basic aspects of climate science,” starting with the impact of natural disasters.
The results found 42% of Democrats and 35% of Republicans agreed that “more people are dying of natural disasters,” even though such deaths have declined by more than 90% worldwide over the last century.
U.S. deaths from natural disasters fell from 413 to 320 from 2019-20, according to the International Disaster Database.
In addition, 71% of Democrats and 30% of Republicans agreed that “climate change is increasing the cost of natural disasters as a percent of GDP [gross domestic product].”
“In reality, the share of GDP spent on natural disasters has either declined or remained flat when ‘normalized,’ meaning when scientists take into account increased wealth in harm’s way,” said the Environmental Progress analysis. “Think of the higher cost of a hurricane in Miami Beach today than in 1921, when there were so few buildings on it.”
Twice as many Democrats versus Republicans believed that “deaths from natural disasters will rise in the future due to climate change,” but the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does not predict a reversal in the trend of declining deaths, “even under high degrees of warming,” said the analysis.
Finally, 67% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans concurred with the statement that “carbon emissions have risen in the United States over the last 10 years,” even though U.S. emissions declined by 14% from 2011-2020.
The survey released last week was conducted July 22-Aug. 13, before Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana last month and then swept through the Northeast last week as a storm, producing heavy rainfall and disastrous flooding that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and others blamed on warming temperatures.
“We are in a whole different world. And we are all going to have to now act very differently because this is not the world we knew. This is a kind of extreme, brutal weather, that’s a whole new ball game,” said Mr. de Blasio in a Friday interview on CNN. “This is a new world because of climate change that’s going to take entirely different responses.”
Environmental Progress, a non-profit research center, was founded by Michael Shellenberger, author of the 2020 book “Apocalypse Never,” which disputes climate-catastrophe scenarios.