Who’s responsible for climate change denial in Congress? The voters
by Michael Hiltzik, LOS ANGELES TIMES
The adage “all politics is local” points to both a virtue and a flaw in the American system of democracy: It helps provide that every vote counts but also that regional cranks get an outsized voice in national, even global, issues.
New research from Yale and Utah State universities shows how the latter process works in the field of climate policy. It tracks local opinions on climate change by state, congressional district, and county. Using a series of color-coded interactive maps, anyone can link up these opinions with the state and federal elected officials representing the geographical units.
The stark conclusion is that some of the most determined climate change deniers in Washington reflect the opinions of their constituents, as is the case for climate change activists. Whether this is because they have well-tuned political antennae or because they’re cut from the same cloth as their voters isn’t clear but scarcely matters.
Consider the case of Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), an outstanding climate change denier who last month brought a snowball onto the floor of the Senate to prove, ostensibly, that global warming can’t be happening. Inhofe’s home state is one of the most climate-change skeptical in the union. The maps show that only 44% of Sooners believe that climate change is caused by human activity and only 34% believe that “most scientists think global warming is happening.”