A study published Wednesday by a Stanford University professor carries a surprising finding: People in Republican-dominated states are very eager to tackle climate change -- in some cases, even more so than those in traditionally Democratic strongholds.
The study, put together by social psychology Professor Jon Krosnick and released by the Democrats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, combined over 10 years of survey data from residents of 46 states. Data sets from Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii were reportedly unavailable.
What Professor Krosnick found appears to upend stereotypes about Republican supporters and their views on climate change, considering that "at least 75 percent of the population" in every state accepts the science of climate change and acknowledges that human activity is driving the shift. Amazingly, the percentage of acceptance was identical in the liberal stronghold of New York and the Republican bastion of Texas, with both at 85 percent.
More surprising: Over two-thirds of Americans in the states surveyed want the government to tackle climate change by imposing limits on industrial greenhouse gas emissions, including 85 percent of Georgians and 85 percent of Arkansans. Comparatively, 80 percent of those polled in the heavily-Democratic state of California felt the same way about greenhouse gasses.
"This new report is crystal clear," Representative Henry Waxman said in an advisory. "It shows that the vast majority of Americans -- whether from red states or blue -- understand that climate change is a growing danger. Americans recognize that we have a moral obligation to protect the environment and an economic opportunity to develop the clean energy technologies of the future. Americans are way ahead of Congress in listening to the scientists."
"These polls are further proof that the American people are awake to the threat of climate change, and have not been taken in by the polluting industries' conspiracy of denial," Senator Sheldon Whitehouse added. "Now it's time for Congress to wake up and face the facts: climate change is real; it is hurting our people, our economy, and our planet; and we have to do something about it."
The study comes at a particularly crucial time, as representatives from around the world gather at the United Nations building in New York to discuss an international deal on greenhouse gasses. This year's negotiations opened under the shadow of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which affected over 11 million people and officially killed more than 1,800, although the death toll is expected to rise.
The U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Wednesday that 2013 is on track to be the seventh warmest year on record. "Temperatures so far this year are about the same as the average during 2001-2010, which was the warmest decade on record," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in an advisory. "All of the warmest years have been since 1998 and this year once again continues the underlying, long-term trend."
Disclosure: Stephen C. Webster is a member of the Climate Reality Project.
Photo: Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, creative commons licensed.