Donald Trump and the Triumph of Climate-Change Denial

Denial of the broad scientific consensus that human activity is the primary cause of global warming could become a guiding principle of Donald Trump’s presidential administration. …

Scientific reality does not seem to have escaped the distorting influence of political polarization in the United States. A paper published in Environment earlier this year suggests that as the Tea Party pushed the Republican Party further to the political right, it helped solidify skepticism of man-made climate change within the GOP. That happened as the Tea Party incorporated “anti-environmentalism and climate-change denial into its agenda,” the authors write, and subsequently became part of a broader “denial countermovement” made up of fossil-fuel companies as well as conservative think tanks and media outlets. …

Voters look to the positions adopted by their political party as a kind of mental shortcut when deciding what to make of complicated subjects such as climate change, according to research from Cynthia Rugeley of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and John David Gerlach of Western Carolina University. That means that if Trump continues to voice climate skepticism after taking office, he could further cement skepticism among conservative voters. CONT.

Clare Foran, The Atlantic