Is this the new climate consensus? More than half of Americans say global warming is not a threat to their way of life, according to a CNN poll. Furthermore, nearly half of Americans say global warming is caused by natural forces or isn’t a proven fact.
CNN’s poll reveals that a “majority of those polled, at 57 percent, say global warming will not pose a serious threat to their way of life,” and that only 43 percent “expect global warming to threaten them.”
“Meanwhile, only 50 percent of Americans believe global warming is caused by man-made emissions, while 23 percent say it’s caused by natural changes and 26 percent say it isn’t a proven fact,” CNN notes.
CNN’s poll comes as Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists are trying to stop Congress from passing a bill that would approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, bringing oil sands from Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. Opponents of the pipeline argue it will only make global warming worse.
“Unless we get our act together, the planet that we’re going to be leaving to our kids and grandchildren will be significantly less habitable than the planet we have right now,” Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders told MSNBC on Wednesday.
But it’s an argument that doesn’t seem to be resonating with the American people, as 57 percent of them don’t see global warming as a threat to their lives.
Democrats also have another problem: Fifty-seven percent of Americans also support building the Keystone XL pipeline while only 28 percent oppose it.
Some Democrats have recognized this and have changed their arguments from climate-focused ones to ones about the economics of the pipeline. Pipeline opponents have argued that low oil prices no longer make the project necessary, and that the oil sands will be exported and not benefit U.S. industry.
New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney said the pipeline would “help Canadian companies export their oil and it happens to be the filthiest energy form.”
“The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would transport Canadian tar sands oil – the dirtiest fuel on the planet – through America’s heartland to be refined and then shipped abroad,” said Danielle Droitsch, the Canadian director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Most energy experts disagree with the idea that oil sands will be shipped thousands of miles to the U.S. Gulf Coast — the area with the country’s largest concentrations of refining capacity — just to be sent overseas.
“It seems a stretch to believe that a crude oil marketing group would use the Keystone XL pipeline to take about 800,000 bpd of heavy crude to the world’s largest concentration of heavy coking capacity, and then bypass all that so it could put it on a ship and take it somewhere else for an additional $4 to $5,” Michael Wojciechowski, an energy analyst at Wood Mackenzie, told Reuters.
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