Study reports the worst climate deniers: Rich Republicans

And the possible reasons why are not surprising

Topics: sustainability, study, Climate Change, climate skeptics, Koch Brothers, wealthy, Republican, GOP,

Study reports the worst climate deniers: Rich RepublicansThe Koch brothers

A new study, published in the journal Climate Change, found a strong correlation between Republicans’ abundance of wealth and dismissal of climate change.

The study, by Jeremiah Bohr at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that “increased income predicts a higher probability of dismissing climate dangers among Republican-leaning individuals when compared with Independents and Democrats,” according to the study’s abstract. (On the flip side, as wealth increased for Democrats, the probability that they would rank climate change as the most important issue in the U.S. also increased.)

For the study, Bohr examined data from the 28th round of the General Social Survey, which happened in 2010. The General Social Survey is — with the exception of the U.S. Census — the source of data most frequently looked at by social scientists. It contains “core” attitudinal and demographic queries along with special interest questions.

In 2010, the survey asked, “In general, do you think that a rise in the world’s temperature caused by climate change is extremely dangerous for the environment, very dangerous, somewhat dangerous, not very dangerous, or not dangerous at all for the environment?”

Mother Jones explains how Bohr interpreted the data gleaned from this question:

“Bohr looked specifically at those individuals who chose the “not very dangerous” or “not dangerous at all” options. And he found that at the lowest income level, the probability that a Republican would give one of these dismissive answers was only 17.7 percent. But at the highest income level, it was 51.2 percent.”

A graph of the data can be found here.

The conclusion? Republicans with low incomes are not much different than Democrats or Independents with the same income, in terms of denying climate change. As income increases, however, Republicans are more likely to deny the dangers of climate change, while Democrats and Independents remain mostly unchanged.

There are a couple reasons why this correlation could be happening, according to Mother Jones, not including eduction, which was a control.

The first possibility is that at a higher income level, GOP folks are more politically aware of their party’s values.

Another possibility is that climate denial works hand in hand with economic interests. According to Mother Jones, Bohr writes:

“Among individuals with conservative political orientations, there is a correlation between occupying advantageous positions within industrial economic systems and an unwillingness to acknowledge the risks associated with climate change. Perhaps to validate their economic interests, these individuals are more likely to process information on climate science through political filters that result in denying the risks produced by climate change.”

h/t Mother Jones

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...