Climate change has become a prominent and divisive issue in American society. For many people the truth about climate change- the effects, causes, and solutions, are clouded by party issues and ulterior motives. The definition of climate change is “a change in Global or Regional climate patterns in particular a change apparent from the mid-to-late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels,” according to Google Dictionary.
Despite information being easily accessible due to modern technology, many people do not educate themselves on issues affecting today’s world. People make uninformed opinions that contribute to division in the United States. The difference in opinion leads to a lack of initiative in solving the problem of climate change.
According to a study done by the Pew Research center in 2016, 15 percent of Conservative Republicans believe the heating of Earth is due to human activity, 48 percent say it is due to natural weather patterns, and 36 percent believe there is no solid evidence. In the same study it is shown that the beliefs of Liberal Democrats contrasts greatly with those of Conservatives.
A majority of Liberal Democrats, 79 percent, believe the heating of the Earth is due to human activity, 14 percent believe it is due to natural weather patterns, and only seven percent believe there is no solid evidence. Moderates, Liberal Republicans, and Conservative Democrats have large divides between them as well. These varying political views prevent people from agreeing on a solution for climate change.
“Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time,” said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, a study by the Pew Research center in 2016 shows that Americans have very different views on how the media reports on climate change. The views are almost cut in half with 42 percent of Americans saying that the media doesn’t take the threat of climate change seriously, 20 percent saying the media is about right on their coverage, and 35 percent thinking the media exaggerates the threat of climate change.
The division amongst Americans becomes clearer when looking at the media’s coverage of climate change through political parties. Conservative Republicans overwhelmingly believe the media does a bad job at covering, while 27 percent believe the media is doing a good job. For Liberal Democrats, 48 percent believe the media is doing a good job in their coverage of climate change while 51 percent believe it is doing a bad job.
If American citizens cannot trust the news to inform them on climate change, how can they come to a decision on a solution?
In order for change to occur, people must be able to make well informed and supported opinions that allow them to come up with effective solutions for problems affecting today’s world. To do this the media needs to be unbiased and factual to the fullest extent possible. The American people need to make themselves informed. People have to put aside differences to come together and to help the planet.