So Many People don’t believe in Global Warming!

Back in India, Global Warming (or shall we say human induced climate change? Nah – Global Warming is easier) is a big concern. Just about everyone accepts that it’s happening and that we need to do something about it – even to the extent of cutting down on lifestyle excesses. This understanding of how man is affecting the planet’s ecosystem is widespread. From students, to all teachers, housewives, laypersons, and even politicians (hard to believe but it’s true that they agree on something!).

So it was a shock to me when I came to the United States to learn that it was not a given here – after all, it’s a developed country. But large percentages of people (more than 50%) do not believe that man is causing an important change in the temperatures of the earth. My wife and I were ill prepared for this since it was akin to suddenly trying to talk to someone who didn’t believe the earth was round. Several arguments ranging from “Climate change isn’t happening”, “The earth is too big for man to affect it”, “Are you crazy? It’s getting colder!” and even “There is no scientific consensus on the matter.” And the worst response – “So what?”

Image Credit: sepponet

Americans and Global Warming

Americans and Global Warming


Well, just for the record, 84% of all scientists believe that significant human induced climate change is taking place. That’s a huge majority. The influence of humans on climate change has not been disputed by any national or international scientific organization (including American ones!) for the past 2 years. And yet more than half of all Americans don’t believe it’s happening. Why?

For one, there have been records of interested groups such as oil companies actively trying to debunk Global Warming since that would lead to a negative image about fossil fuels in the country and therefore against them. Also, when public opinion is divided, the government doesn’t feel enough pressure to seriously think of switching to non polluting energy sources – thus keeping their business models safe. Lobbying in America is bribery of the Government and the public on a colossal scale. For example, the Tobacco industry in the United States once spent billions of dollars on projects funding “research” to demonstrate that smoking didn’t cause lung cancer.

We in India have a huge interest in the American public waking up to the reality of Climate Change since the United States is the largest emitter of Carbon dioxide (though it seems that China is fast catching up.) It has the resources to really make a difference to the world – and themselves of course since Climate Change affects everyone. What is needed is the will.

So that is why the attitudes of people in a developed country like America lag behind those of countries like China and India. In Europe of course, there is a high awareness of Global warming. In the United States, people depend on cars much more than anywhere else in the world. Cars that run on fossil fuels. And this might be the driving force behind the American public’s apathy towards Climate Change.

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  1. Yeah, I had to respond to this post, because for the most part it's quite true. I don't understand why so many Americans don't believe people have a significant impact on the environment. I don't know if this has to do with the fact that many Americans are more religious. Or maybe people believe that it's a conspiracy from the "leftist environmentalists" who people to change their lifestyles. I mean seriously. When people here the words "global warming" they think the weather all around is getting warmer, not realizing that it can also make temperatures much colder than usual.

    It's one those things that make me ashamed of being American.


    • In reply to RenKiss

      Absolutely RenKiss. Climate warming doesn't mean the whole earth will slowly cook. It can take many forms – and not all of them need even be about temperature!

      You're also right about people thinking that it's a "conspiracy" – as if it's even possible for such a huge conspiracy to take place affecting all countries, all scientists and all governments…


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