These Maps Show Why We Keep Electing Climate Change Deniers – —By Jeremy Schulman| Thu Apr. 9, 2015 5:45 AM EDT

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) uses a snowball to disprove global warming. Screenshot: Slate/CSPAN

One of the most significant obstacles to addressing climate change is the fact that huge numbers of US politicians reject the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are warming the planet. Why does the situation persist? How can a senator who (literally) holds up a snowball as evidence that global warming is a hoax keep winning re-election? How can someone who declares himself a climate “skeptic” be a front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination? As newly released research from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication makes painfully clear, GOP climate deniers actually hold views that are quite similar to those of the voters who elect them.

The Yale research is based on data from more than 13,000 survey responses since 2008. It estimates that nationwide, just 48 percent of people agree with the scientific consensus that global warming is caused “mostly” by humans. While other recent polls have found a somewhat higher percentage who say they believe humans are causing the planet to warm, Yale’s numbers are not a good sign for those—like billionaire activist Tom Steyer—who are trying to turn climate change denial into a disqualifying political position.

Things look even more discouraging when you use the researchers’ snazzy interactive maps to break down the estimates by congressional district. The blue districts on the map below are places where the researchers’ statistical model predicts that fewer than half of respondents believe that humans are primarily responsible for climate change. Yellow/orange districts are places where at least half of respondents accept the scientific consensus. As you can see, there’s an awful lot of blue—according to the data, 58 percent of US congressional districts have majorities that don’t accept the climate science.

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Why Climate-Science Denialism Should Disqualify Anyone From Holding Office – By Jonathan Chait January 22, 2015 9:49 a.m

It's arrogant liberalism to believe that releasing these gases into the atmosphere might change the composition of gases in the atmosphere. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

It’s arrogant liberalism to believe that releasing these gases into the atmosphere might change the composition of gases in the atmosphere. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Last night, an event rapidly transpired in Washington that, while routine, was also so utterly lunatic it bears reconsideration. During a series of votes on the Keystone Pipeline, Senate Democrats proposed an amendment affirming that “human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” The amendment failed because only five Republican Senators supported it. Media coverage largely focused on the political machinations of both sides attempting to frame dueling votes in their preferred language. Yet the outcome of the vote reveals something profound and disturbing.

The Senate drama revolved around the Republican plan to hold a vote conceding that climate change itself is real, but — in keeping with the bizarre ramblings of climate-science skeptics — that it is all happening naturally. “Man cannot change climate,” James Inhofe declared. “The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate.”

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