Can Climate Science Be Rendered Conservative-Friendly?

It’s not as obvious as it might seem, David Roberts says.
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One common criticism of the way climate science has been communicated over the last decade or so is that scientists and advocates have led with a liberal perspective: Here’s a big problem that we need to solve with government regulations and mandates. It didn’t help that climate change came to prominence via Al Gore, a partisan liberal long loathed on the right.

Such an approach, it is said, was guaranteed to incite opposition on the right. And sure enough: Those who deny the existence, anthropogenity, or severity of climate change are, for the most part, white, male, ideological conservatives. There are a great many exceptions, of course, and a great many gradations and varieties of skepticism, but the majority of overt denialists (or whatever you want to call them, I really don’t care) in America share that particular cultural identity.

There’s something to this critique — there’s no doubt that most of the scientists and advocates speaking out about the issue are left of center — but not as much as critics make out. As I argued the other day, climate was fated to become polarized by forces far larger than the communications strategies of climate hawks.

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