Political and policy feedbacks in the climate system

Political and policy feedbacks in the climate system

Climate Change: Understanding feedback from nature, culture and society

From the University of California – Santa Barbara


Two graphs outlining Democrat vs. Republican beliefs that Global Warming is happening. Credit Matto Mildenberger


Matto Mildenberger, University of California Santa Barbara explains how perceived experiences with climate change in the United States can be linked to political shifts in Congress, culture and society. He will demonstrate how partisan opinions about the prevalence and dangers of climate change in each of the 50 states and 435 congressional districts in the United States can change policymaking by Congress.

Announcing the 2018 Partisan Climate Opinion Maps

We are pleased to announce our new estimates of Democrats and Republicans who hold particular beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences about global warming. These estimates cover both states and US congressional districts. The visualize the distribution of climate and energy beliefs among US Democrats and US Republicans.

This new data release will be made available shortly at: http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/

About the Partisan Climate Opinion Maps

Even as US partisan polarization shapes climate and energy beliefs and attitudes, substantial heterogeneity in climate opinions still exists among both Republicans and Democrats. To date, our understanding of this partisan variability has been limited to analysis of national or less commonly, state-level opinion poll subsamples. The Partisan Climate Opinion Maps provide new data about how Republican and Democratic climate and energy opinions vary across all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts. They reveal new spatial patterns with policy-relevant implications for the trajectory of US climate change policy reforms. These maps have now been updated through to 2018, and give new information about the state of partisan climate and energy beliefs in the current political context.

The public opinion estimates were generated using a statistical model that combines nationally representative survey data gathered by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication between 2008 and 2016 with voter registration, U.S. census, and geographic data. Party registration data is available for 32 states, and is imputed in the remaining states (i.e., in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin).


Details about the methods can be found here:

Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., Howe, P.D., & Leiserowitz, A. (2017) “The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales,” Climatic Change. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2103-0.

Additional information can be found in Howe, P., Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., and Leiserowitz, A., “Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA,” Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2583.

Can I use the data?

Yes. We encourage you to explore the maps and use the results in your own work. The data are available on our Data Download tab at the top of this page so that you can do your own analyses and create your own visualizations. If you publish an academic paper using these data please acknowledge the source by using the following citation:

Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., Howe, P.D., & Leiserowitz, A. (2017) “The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales,” Climatic Change. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2103-0.

If you publish a news article, visualization or blog post using these data, please include a link back to the Partisan Climate Opinion Maps website.

HT/David B

From EurekAlert! Public Release: 16-Feb-2019

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
February 19, 2019 6:14 am

Alternate Headline: “Study Highlights Where Those That Don’t Use Data-Based Decision-Making Live”.

Reply to  NavarreAggie
February 19, 2019 6:16 am

Or, “Effects of Conflating Natural Climate Change with CAGW on Survey Responses”.

Reply to  NavarreAggie
February 19, 2019 9:20 am

Exactly. When I saw “%age of democrats who believe GW is happening” I instantly wanted to know what the actual question was.

Sure the world is warmer than it was 300y ago. I suspect they ask the question without defining what it is they mean by GW and thus without asking a question anyone can legitimately answer.

Reply to  Greg
February 19, 2019 9:30 am

OK, my cynical assumption was unjustified in this case. The SI gives the questions text and the very first one clarifies the meaning.

Opinion that global warming is happening
Question: Recently, you may have noticed that global warming has been getting some attention
in the news. Global warming refers to the idea that the world‘s average temperature has been
increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world‘s
climate may change as a result. What do you think: Do you think that global warming is
happening? [Response Scale: Yes, No, Don’t Know]

Full marks to the team for clarity in what was being asked and not confounding man made and natural variations.

Opinion that global warming is human-caused
Question: Assuming global warming is happening, do you think it is… [Response scale: Caused
mostly by human activities, Caused by human activities and natural changes, Caused mostly by
natural changes in the environment, Neither because global warming isn’t happening]

Reply to  Greg
February 19, 2019 10:21 am

So, I wonder, what would they do with my response that is Yes on the first question and caused by human activities and natural changes on the second?

My biggest problem with the whole crusade is they never answered my original question in the science: How much of the change in temperature is natural?

Whether it is a problem or not depends on how you answer that question. If you are a scientist, you have to answer that question as: “We don’t know.” Until that question is answered none of the other questions matter.

Reply to  Greg
February 19, 2019 12:45 pm

While the questions may be relatively neutral, the problem is that the interpretation of those questions is not.

As someone who believes that the world has warmed up about 0.7C over the last 150 years, and that man has played a small part in that warming, (Not all through CO2 either) I have no doubt that the authors of the paper would lump me in with those who want to drastically cut back CO2 emissions.

Reply to  Greg
February 19, 2019 12:46 pm

Owen, even if 100% of the small change in temperature was due to man, they still haven’t presented evidence that more CO2 would create anything other than entirely beneficial warming.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Greg
February 19, 2019 6:34 pm

Full marks? Hmmm… Greg, next time I have to sit an exam, can you mark it for me? 🙂

The actual question may go down great word counts to try and formally define the question, but that does not mean the conclusions drawn from these answers are going to be meaningful.

We have the concept that Temp(now) is higher than Temp(now-150), ergo it has been warming. Now for many that may be enough. For others there is the question of warming from what to what, the question as to is the warming of concern, is the warming constant, if it is not constant is the trend up or down, is it going to level out or even is the warming now over.

I would, if pressed, admit that I accept that Temp(now) is greater than Temp(now-150) and – again if pressed – say that yes, under these terms there has been warming over the last 150 years. This answer, under the yuh/nuh/huh? split of answers, places me as someone who agrees ‘believes in global warming’ where all I really are willing to sign my name against is T(now) vs T(then) has a positive delta.

(for the record – it is warmer than 150 years ago, the ‘Pause’ was real, temps are now dropping, power of Sun massively exceeds power of Man, Green Blob is Real, Socialism kills people and Parabellum. That is what I believe.)

The bigger questions – is this a bad thing, is it still happening, what was the magic perfect temp in the first place – and not covered and this is BEFORE we even get to the big two of ‘is man to blame’ and ‘what the drokk does plant food have to do with this anyway’ questions.

The survey questions are still very general and the as results the conclusions must still be viewed via pragmatic coloured glasses with the cynical lens tint.

Reply to  NavarreAggie
February 23, 2019 3:48 pm

Here is a comprehensive model that works that shows we are heading for deadly cold. See Paullitely.com.

Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  NavarreAggie
February 19, 2019 7:19 am

Is it a measurable mental defect, or maybe a virus?

February 19, 2019 6:15 am

Next up is percent of each Party who know enough about the survey subject to question the survey wording and design to account for human caused, long- and short-run natural cycles, and recognition of policy crusades.

Now where is that line from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still when the reporter is talking with Klaatu in the crowd.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 19, 2019 6:32 am

If Klaatu did not have a valid passport and did not properly clear Customs, did that make him an illegal alien?

Reply to  TonyL
February 19, 2019 7:18 am

Yes, but you might have trouble enforcing a deportation order while Gort was around. Of course, you could always try saying to Gort “Klaatu barada nikto”.

Reply to  RicDre
February 19, 2019 8:58 am


Klaatu: I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.

Reply to  TonyL
February 19, 2019 7:28 am

Illegal alien is a term reserved for the little fish.

I’m guessing that anyone who can destroy the planet at will, gets instant recognition as a diplomat, and the key to the city, and all the sushi he feels like eating. realpolitik

The fact that Republicans and Democrats differ so markedly on CAGW is a big tell that it has little to do with actual science. The Democrats view it as a practical tool to use as an excuse for extending government power. The Republicans recognize the true nature of the problem. It’s another example of realpolitik.

David S
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 19, 2019 7:24 am

Gort, Klaatu barada nikto ??

OOPS no that’s a different line.

David Baird
February 19, 2019 6:28 am

Back in the 80’s I had a friend who was an economics professor at the local college. He was what is known as a Blue Dog Democrat. Of the things he and I talked about, one observation he made has stuck with me ever since, and he was spot on. Concerning Democrat voters he said, “Most democrats know the last thing someone told them”. I’d say some things never change.

Reply to  David Baird
February 19, 2019 2:18 pm

Interesting insight.


Thanks. I guess I sort of knew that but it’s good to hear it from another. It also fits with Millennials and Facebook news source users. I guess subliminal messages also work more for some than others. Is there a personality type for that?

Dave Fair
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 19, 2019 3:04 pm

There is always Abe’s truism: You can fool some of the people all of the time.

David Chappell
February 19, 2019 6:35 am

” Party registration data is available for 32 states, and is imputed in the remaining states …”
That’s a good start for a model…make up the data.

Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  David Chappell
February 19, 2019 7:22 am


Reply to  David Chappell
February 19, 2019 10:25 am

You know in Georgia, your party affiliation is private like your private club memberships. The only thing someone can see is whether you pulled a Republican or Democrat primary ballot in the past elections, and many people pull a ballot more with wrecking their opponents than with voting for winners. They assume their party will get their nominee right but hope to get the weakest candidate for their opponent in the general election.

Thomas Englert
Reply to  David Chappell
February 19, 2019 11:35 am

Registration of political party not required in Indiana.

You can vote in either party primary.

Rich Davis
Reply to  David Chappell
February 19, 2019 6:43 pm

Well they only made it up for 25 of the 57 states then. What’s the problem? It’s less than half wrong.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Rich Davis
February 20, 2019 11:19 pm

From his comment about not being allowed to visit Alaska and Hawaii, having visited 57 and still having 1 more state to go, he must think there are 60 states. From his pause while he was doing the math, it is clear he doesn’t really know how many states there are.


Dave O.
February 19, 2019 6:40 am

I suppose this could be useful information when it comes to the dissemination of propaganda by the alarmists.

February 19, 2019 6:50 am

If the greater part of the Media promulgates a lie for 30 years, while the education system endorses the lie; then at the end of the thirty years 70 percent of the population under age thirty will accept it as fact.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Dipchip
February 19, 2019 8:59 am

YUP, …..…. cigarette smoke causes cancer, ……… increased CO2 causes global warming, ……… capitalism causes death n’ hardship.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
February 19, 2019 11:08 am

Samuel, smile when you say “… capitalism causes death n’ hardship.”

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 20, 2019 3:31 am

Dave, the in-house political driven “death of America” is nothing to be smiling about ……… even though the Democrats are celebrating every time their “actions” are successful at said.

The Democrat Party is over-joyous now because the horrendous in-flow of foreign immigrants are keeping them in power …… but its just a matter of time before said immigrants “take control” of the Party and throw the “old guard” under the bus.

February 19, 2019 6:52 am

“The(y)? visualize the distribution of climate and energy beliefs among US Democrats and US Republicans.”

Robert W Turner
February 19, 2019 6:58 am

So now they are modeling survey results? The post truth world just keeps getting stranger.

February 19, 2019 7:00 am

Really a survey on virtue signaling. How many of those that believe climate change is happening drive SUVs? How many have stopped flying? How many have taken the extra steps to make their homes more efficient?

Until people put their money where their mouth is, it’s all virtue signaling and nothing more.

Ron Long
February 19, 2019 7:04 am

Let’s don’t forget that “public opinion polls” have nothing to do with science.

Bruce Cobb
February 19, 2019 7:20 am

Yeah, whatever. Notice how all the Dimocrats hopping aboard the We Can Beat Trump train are really pushing the “climate” issue. This is gonna be so much fun. Trump pretty much has his reelection in the bag.

February 19, 2019 7:25 am

Do they have another graph that indicates gullibility?

Reply to  Ve2
February 19, 2019 8:47 am

I thought that what this one was for.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Ve2
February 19, 2019 11:11 am

Actually, studies show anti-CAGWers are more scientifically literate than CAGWers.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 19, 2019 3:12 pm

I’m looking for those studies. They seem to have disappeared from the internet, along with CAGW meaning Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.


February 19, 2019 8:01 am

“Ministry Of Fear” pronounces…

Goebbels used to sit around the Propaganda Ministry dreaming up more effective ways of communicating National Socialist drivel and the Fuhrer Cult. He was pretty successful while he controlled the narrative. Climate climate communication is unfortunately serious business as it can influence voters. Slapping down the scare although often fun is also necessary.

Buck Wheaton
February 19, 2019 8:17 am

Converges towards socialism, which is the real goal anyway. And the instant any solution fails to drag society towards socialism, it is minimized, denigrated, negated or even outlawed.

Reply to  Buck Wheaton
February 19, 2019 8:48 am

Which explains the almost universal hatred of nuclear amongst CAGW acolytes.

Gary Pearse
February 19, 2019 8:27 am

Trouble with sociological ‘research’ is they have zero understanding of the science and the positions held, which makes this another colossal waste of electrons. How is this anything to do with “communications”? Global warming and global cooling, unadorned, are happening all the time. Your grandparents will tell you, Demo or Repub, that the globe warmed up a lot from early in the last century to mid-forties, thar it cooled so badly fir the next 35yrs that “ice age cometh” fears gripped scientists and this was followed by warming of 20yrs that caused all the present hype, but in 5he new millennium, it stopped warming.

For those who studied geology, Dem or Repub, the warming and cooling have alternated- 100,000yrs of ice sheets followed by 10-20,000yrs of interglacial warming.

The fact that everyone except the humanity “sciences” understand this is because warmologists refuse to define what the term global warming really means to them. So here goes: it refers to Catastrophic Anthropo GW which hasnt happened yet, it supposedly will or maybe not. All this is going to show is that Republicans on balance seem to be more scuentific and Democrats more wifty poofty groupy feely. Is that what you want?

Peter Hartley
February 19, 2019 8:32 am

Yet another study hopelessly compromised by equivocation on the phrase “climate change”. When they say “climate change is happening” do they mean “changes in climate no matter what the cause”or do they mean “changes in climate only from human emissions of CO2”? Without clarifying this, the study is worthless.

Roger Knights
February 19, 2019 8:36 am

Now that the Dems are preparing to make an election issue out of AGW, the time is ripe for Trump to counter that with his red team and/or subsequently an administration position paper on the topic.

February 19, 2019 8:54 am

Ah yes, the signature all red map just like the heat thematic maps of climate data exaggeration. It pops up everywhere like maybe it’s from a common instruction manual.

Ann in L.A.
February 19, 2019 9:00 am

Ask a stupid question…

Q1: Do you believe climate change is happening?
Q2: Do you believe that humans are having an effect on climate?
Q3: Do you believe that humans are having a catastrophic effect on climate?

Questions 1 & 2 should have near universal agreement. But, it is the degree and severity of human effects–question 3–that is at the heart of the issue.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Ann in L.A.
February 19, 2019 11:27 am

Q1: That depends on what you mean by “climate change”. I assume in this case that you are not equating climate change with human-caused climate change. So, yes, I believe the climate changes. I believe the climate has changed since the beginning of time on Earth, and will continue to do so until the end of time on Earth. All due to natural causes. At least, up until the present era.

Q2: I believe humans have an effect on local climates such as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect where built up cities are several degees warmer than the surrounding countryside. As for whether humans producing CO2 causes changes in the Earth’s climate, the jury is still out. It has not been determined yet how much net heat is added to the Earth’s atmosphere because of increased CO2. It may be so little as to have no discernable effect. The jury is still out on this number.

Q3: No, I see no evidence of any catastrophic effect to the Earth’s atmosphere caused by CO2. The storms of today are no different from the past (despite the alarmist rhetoric). For every big weather maker of recent times, we can find a bigger one in the past before CO2 would have been a factor. Statistics show that all forms of extreme weather are less extreme today than in the last century. Those are the facts. If CO2 were ramping things up in the atmosphere then things would be ramping up, but they are not. On top of which, temperatures have declined about 0.6C since Feb. 2016, and did so while human CO2 output is increasing. Where’s the connection between increased CO2 and increased heat in this case?

There is no evidence of a connection between weather systems and CO2. It’s pure speculation and hyperbole on the part of those who are trying to sell CAGW as being real.

Hot under the collar
February 19, 2019 9:03 am

Hasn’t global warming been happening since we came out of the last ice age? I’m sure I’ve seen surveys showing a minority of the public think it’s mostly due to human influence.

Kip Hansen(@kiphansen2)
February 19, 2019 9:30 am

The Yale questionnaire is found here.

Global warming is caused mostly by human activities
Assuming global warming is happening, do you think it is… ?

Caused mostly by human activities
Caused mostly by natural changes in the environment
None of the above because global warming isn’t happening

I couldn’t answer the question because it leaves out the 50/50 choice, equally human activities and natural changes.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
February 19, 2019 9:54 am

well there you go.

Junk in gets junk out gets published as science in the popular press

Reply to  Kip Hansen
February 19, 2019 10:19 am

Where would that level of survey design get you in the health sciences? I would say straight out of the profession and any attempt by grant program officers to ignore this would get them in serious trouble too.

February 19, 2019 10:18 am

People believe the strangest things. Strongly. I couldn’t possibly list them all. Take God (or Allah) for example. Who can prove He (she/X) exists? He only talks to schizophrenics. The rest of us have to take someone else’s word for it.

Or take Global Warming. At least 99% (97%) of us do not have any scientific or skeptical DNA and we have to take someone else’s word for it.

Global Warming is part of a new (metro-leftist) religion taking over where Christianity has been abandoned.

February 19, 2019 12:13 pm

Ah. Another revealing study into what people believe as opposed to what is actually real.

Must have been done by Liberals.

Dennis Sandberg
February 21, 2019 3:11 pm

Republicans in Iowa are shown as being a little more warmist than their immediate neighbors. Iowa is a big ethanol state and ethanol was once considered a “save the planet from fossil fuels alternative”. It’s been convincingly demonstrated that ethanol is an environmental and economic mistake and should be ended. That would be very bad for the Iowa economy. Are Iowa republicans leaning more warmist from conviction than most republicans or are they ‘claiming” to be because of their profiting from the ethanol industry? IMO much of expressed global warming “concern” is by persons who know it’s all BS but are financially linked to the Green Gravy Train.

%d bloggers like this: