Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Hurricanes Cut Swath Through US Politics

Scientists have shown that hurricanes are hitting the US harder than ever, yet many Republican-voting men remain unswayed by evidence of climate change.

Astronaut’s view of the eye of the storm as the ferocious Hurricane Patricia prepares to strike the US Gulf Coast in 2015. (Creit: NASA/Scott Kelly) Click to Enlarge.
Whether US citizens believe that hurricanes are getting more violent and more destructive depends on whether they have been in one lately – and also whether they are female, and vote Democrat.

If you are male, and tend to vote Republican, you may be less likely to accept the reality of climate change, say scientists who have been looking at public attitudes in exactly those coastal places most often hit by shrieking winds, storm surges and pounding seas.

And that is in the face of evidence that by all objective measures – wind speed, storm surge height, and economic damage – hurricanes are now hitting the US harder than ever.

“Climate change has become a signature political issue that polarizes the American public,” the scientists report in the International Journal of Climatology.

Extreme weather events
“Due to its political implication, Republicans generally refuse to accept the existence of climate change out of fears of massive governmental intervention.  This resistance to climate change is even reflected in their views towards extreme weather events that are arguably linked to climate change.”
Researchers have repeatedly warned that global warming can only stoke up the frequency of extreme weather events, and that the cost of hurricanes to the US in particular is set to rise.

Read more at Hurricanes Cut Swath Through US Politics

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