Despite the Trump administration's view that climate change is not convincing and its budget cuts on science agencies, a lawmaker has asserted that most Americans believe that climate change is real.
Addressing the Congress, Democrat party's Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said 70 percent of people hold that global warming is real and already happening.
In the "Time to Wake Up" lecture series, the senator quoted references from Yale's 2016 climate opinion maps based on the data from a national survey of more than 18,000 people from 2008 to 2016. The map offers state-wise breakup of people who think climate change is caused by humans.
Contradictions On Human Role In Climate Change
The Yale study asserts that 70 percent of Americans believe in climate change. However, the same study notes that only 53 percent of Americans believe climate change is caused by human activity.
In other words, it is a view that climate change is hard to overturn and a borderline stand — far better than outright denial of climate change.
The survey sees 49 percent holding the view that "most scientists think global warming is happening." This contrasts the stand of 97 percent of climate scientists who believe climate change is happening and humans have a major role in it.
Trump Administration And Climate Change Policies
The public perception clearly contrasts the mixed signals sent by Trump administration on the matter of climate change.
"They can cut the funding, but climate change is real and we're going to have to deal with it," said Chris McEntee, of the American Geophysical Union.
Trump himself had described climate change as a hoax, though later made a partial retraction saying that he has an open-mind toward the efforts to control it.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has acknowledged that climate change is real. However, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has doubts whether carbon dioxide is really causing the global warming.
Trump's Budget Cut On Science And EPA
President Trump's budget cut on science was a blow to many climate change mitigation programs. The slashing of funds for the Clean Power Plan and dilution of the focus of EPA on air pollution was embarrassing.
The drastic cut on climate fund by 31 percent pushed down allocation for EPA by $2.6 billion. The rationale of slashed finding was evident in the words of White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.
"You can expect reductions in the EPA that don't line up with the president's view on things like global warming and alternative energies," Mulvaney said.
Scientists Protesting Climate Change Denial
Scientists are distressed at what they call as attempts to force America into losing a shared sense of facts on climate change. They are also leading campaigns to assert the primacy of science in making it a vital part of the nation's vision for the future.
"This is the first time as scientists that they are defending science itself against what they see as the new government's rejection of decision-making based on scientific reason and scientific consultation and scientific findings," said Kelly Moore, professor of sociology at Loyola University Chicago.
However, scientists are also being criticized for politicizing the issue. H.Sterling Burnett, a research fellow on energy and environment at the Heartland Institute said scientists are only trying to salvage pots of government money.
"They're destroying and hurting the credibility of their own field of science the more they enter into the realm of politics, speaking with a voice that is meant to persuade you to give them more resources," Burnett said.
Taking Advantage Of Confusion On Climate Change
Overall, the statistics show confusion prevailing among people on climate change. That seems to be becoming an incentive for the presidential administration to knock down policies that had been the safeguards for the environment.
The executive order to disband the Clean Power Act is a case in point. The act was seeking to close coal-based power plants and replacing them with renewable energy.