Most Conservative White Guys Deny Climate Change
Posted on Aug 3, 2011
It’s not just a political stereotype: Conservative white men really do make up a disproportionate percentage of climate change deniers.
A paper for “Global Environmental Change” published in January found that almost 60 percent of conservative white males deny that most of the world’s scientists have agreed on climate change, while just 32 percent of the American general public deny that fact. Those conservative white males who reported having a better-than-usual understanding of global warming were even more likely to deny that anything aberrant is happening. —BF
It’s not exactly shocking news, if you’ve ever taken a moment to consider that white men seem to make up the majority of the audience for Fox News, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh. The authors boil it down to a few psychological explanations: “identity-protective cognition,” or seeking out and believing that which affirms the beliefs or values one already holds, and “system justification,” or a motivation to defend the status quo.
[Chris] Mooney also raises a good point about one theory the report authors left out of the discussion: “social dominance orientation.” Basically, the idea is that white men like things they way they are now, because so far they’ve made out pretty well. They also seek out and are affirmed by others who believe the same things (i.e., Limbaugh and Beck).
Flickr / longhorndave (CC-BY)