Quirks & Quarks

No amount of hurricane destruction can change some views on climate change

Despite extreme weather events like Harvey and Irma, Americans generally don't connect the dots regarding climate change.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with the press. (Alex Brandon/The Associated Press)

The discovery
A recent survey conducted by researchers including Dr. David Konisky from Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs has revealed that many Americans don't connect the dots when it comes to experiencing extreme weather events, and their attitudes toward climate change. Even though many are more likely to support policies to adapt to a warming climate in the immediate aftermath of an extreme weather event, that attitude is short-lived. Many Americans do not regard extreme weather events like the recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma as being realted to climate change, and that is unlikely to change.

The reason
Climate change attitudes in America are strongly related to political beliefs and party affiliation. Unlike attitudes toward other recent issues such as the legalization of marijuana or same-sex marriage, attitudes toward climate change seem to be stuck in one place, and are more polarizing.

The solution       
Although there may not be a short term solution, a greater acceptance that a warming climate is responsible for more extreme weather events can only come if Americans start talking about it across political lines in the future.