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Meanwhile, On Planet America

Updated: Dec 21, 2017

In the last days of the US Presidential campaign, Hurricane Sandy has brought to the fore a topic little-mentioned until now: climate change.

The absence of debate around this topic is perplexing to many in the world, given America’s role as the source of a fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions. Some may see this as strategic denial. Yet it points to a broader divergence between scientific consensus, on one hand, and the views of the American electorate.

This appears especially true among Republican voters. While 39.2 per cent of Republicans, for example, deny that climate change is a worry, 17.9 per cent are also unaware that the earth goes around the sun, and a further 21.7 per cent think this happens either once a day, or once a month. 38.2 per cent are also unaware that the North Pole sits on a sheet of ice (which, indeed, it may not much longer).

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