Many Americans don’t believe that climate change is coming for them

He did the same thing late last year when freak tornadoes swept through the state.

That kind of spending is okay.

But as he led Republican opposition to the massive legislation Democrats hope will rid the country of carbon-emitting energy sooner, McConnell said people were worried about other things.

“The American people are clear about their priorities. Environmental regulation is a 3 percent issue,” McConnell said in a statement Sunday after the Senate passed the bill. “Americans want solutions to inflation, crime and the border,” he added, suggesting that Democrats shouldn’t spend on the climate crisis.

A failure to link flooding to climate spending

None of the Kentucky Republican senators voted in favor of the climate bill. The state’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear rarely mentions climate change and, as Inside Climate News has pointed out, he does not cite climate change as a driving force behind his environmental policies.

Democrats like Beshear and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who can thrive in coal states, will not promote the climate crisis.

“I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky,” Beshear said of the flooding and to the dismay of climate activists who know exactly why Kentucky keeps getting hit. “I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have much continue to get hit and lose everything. I can’t tell you why, but I know what we’re doing about it. And the answer is all we can. These are our people. Let’s make sure we help them.”

Tragic flooding may not be the time to whine about the climate crisis, but as the number of natural disasters increases, scientists say, the dots need to be connected for more Americans.

About half of the country does not believe that the climate crisis will harm them

A majority of Americans recognize that climate change is real and that humans are contributing to it.

But many people in eastern Kentucky may not know that they are feeling the effects of the climate crisis.

About half of the country in 2021 – 47% – believed in it global warming would harm them personally according to the data collected from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

It used a statistical model to apply the results state by state and estimated that Kentucky residents were less likely than the American public at large to believe that humans are primarily responsible for climate change or that climate change would harm them personally.

Even the mention of climate change can polarize

When the climate bill came into question last year, CNN’s René Marsh visited parts of West Virginia hit by catastrophic flooding in 2016.

“I don’t believe in the whole climate change thing,” Jimmy Rader, a retired Iraqi war veteran in Elkview, West Virginia, told Marsh. He was still rebuilding his home years after it was destroyed by the floods. Check out this report here.
And this week, read Marsh’s great story on how melting ice in Greenland could create an opportunity to mine the nickel and cobalt needed to power electric vehicles.

voters don’t drive

The climate crisis could be the existential threat driving a proliferation of strange weather events and national disasters, but it’s unlikely to drive the majority of people to vote in November.

In a CNN poll conducted by SSRS in June and July, only about a third of registered voters said climate change was coming extremely important for their vote for the Congress this year. This includes about half of Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters and only 13% of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters.

In McConnell’s view of American concerns, the economy and inflation were the most frequently mentioned issues.

A climate bill sold as an inflation bill

Democrats have decided to market their climate and health bill as an anti-inflation bill, though it’s likely to have little or no impact on inflation in the short term.

That doesn’t mean Democrats can’t claim to have done the world a solid service by banding together to spend billions to cut carbon emissions faster.

But unless they can effectively link the need for spending to natural disasters, it won’t do them much politically.

Climate spending will also help red states

Framed as an economic opportunity, the shift to renewable energy is finding an audience in red states, CNN’s Ella Nilsen wrote in April as she surveyed the booming wind industry in places like Oklahoma.
This industry will surely benefit from the almost $370 billion in climate spending over 10 years that Democrats are on track to deliver when the House of Representatives votes on sweeping legislation later this week.

“Let’s be clear: if we address our emissions, the main cause of global warming and climate change, then we will stabilize temperatures and prevent the worst effects of climate change from affecting our communities and our people,” he said, Ali Zaidi , the Biden administration’s deputy national climate adviser, who appeared on CNN Monday to talk about the climate bill but was also asked about the Kentucky floods.

One more click

CNN’s Brandon Tensley wrote for his newsletter Race Deconstructed that climate change is hitting some communities harder than others. He spoke with Deke Arndt, director of the Division of Climate Science and Services at the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Key Lines: “The reality is that when creeks overflow their banks, they almost always find the people who already live closer to the edge, whether they are people in prefabs or mobile homes, or people in houses that are well within the flood plains lie,” Arndt told CNN. “We saw it in eastern Kentucky last week. We saw it last summer in my home region of western North Carolina.”

It’s an unrelenting issue, experts say: Flash flooding in particular is hitting already vulnerable communities hard. To help protect against climate-related hazards, we need to look at disaster risk reduction as a long-term goal, not a short-term goal.

About Ellen Lewandowski

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