These poll numbers are surprising, given the context of an overall lack of adequate reportage of climate change in the corporate media.
With midterm elections nearing, the fact that most US citizens now understand that climate change is happening — and more than half of them know it is human-caused – means that climate may increasingly be a major issue for voters.
A growing number of both Republican and Democratic representatives (90 thus far) have already joined the Climate Solutions Caucus, “a bipartisan group in the US House of Representatives which will explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate,” according to their website.
Debates Not Addressing Climate Change
Media watchdog group Media Matters released a report recently showing that, from an analysis of 17 debates in competitive Senate and governors’ races this year, only one of them has included a question related to climate change.
This is a far worse tally than the Media Matters analysis for the 2016 races, in which less than one-quarter of the debates featured a climate change question.
This ignorance, dismissal and devaluing of the largest global threat to the human species is occurring against the backdrop of increasingly expensive disasters: 2017 saw climate and extreme weather disasters costing the US at least $306 billion, an all-time record.
Moreover, the recent Media Matters analysis reveals a stunning lack of concern about climate change in states that are at risk of being impacted by it the most severely.
For example, in Alaska — which is at risk from warmer temperatures, coastal flooding and erosion, wildfires and thawing permafrost — there have been two gubernatorial debates analyzed by Media Matters and not a single question about climate change was asked.
Connecticut, which is at risk from coastal and inland flooding, has had three gubernatorial debates, without a single climate change question.
The same is true for Kansas, which is at risk from drought, increasing tornadoes, extreme heat, crop failure and inland flooding; and Maine, which is at risk from coastal and inland flooding, as well as extreme heat and drought.
Rhode Island, which is at risk from coastal flooding, extreme heat, sea level rise and inland flooding, had no climate change questions asked during a gubernatorial debate. The same is true for Texas, which faces extreme heat, increasing hurricanes, drought, wildfires, and coastal and inland flooding.
Thus far, the one instance where climate change was brought into the debate was during a gubernatorial race debate in Minnesota, which is at risk from drought and extreme heat.
This lack of attention to climate change is particularly worrisome in states where the climate impacts are already severe and obvious.
For example, the gubernatorial debate in New Mexico, which is already suffering from lack of adequate water, drought, wildfires and extreme heat, saw no questions about climate change.
We need your help to propel Truthout into the new year
As we look toward the new year, we’re well aware of the obstacles that lie in the path to justice. But here at Truthout, we are encouraged and emboldened by the courage of people worldwide working to move us all forward — people like you.
If you haven’t yet made your end-of-year donation to support our work, this is the perfect moment to do so: Our year-end fundraising drive is happening now, and we must raise $150,000 by the end of December.
Will you stand up for truly independent, honest journalism by making a contribution in the amount that’s right for you? It only takes a few seconds to donate by card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or Venmo — we even accept donations of cryptocurrency and stock! Just click the red button below.