Sierra Club: ‘Climate Deniers’ Are Racists

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

The Sierra Club has a message for white Republicans who disagree with them on global warming: You’re racist.

That’s right, the U.S.’s oldest environmental group is pushing a recent study that claims “high levels of racial resentment are strongly correlated with reduced agreement with the scientific consensus on climate change.”

“The percentage of white Americans who said that they believed climate change is a very serious problem declined during the Obama administration. Why?” The Sierra Club tweeted on Monday.

The Sierra Club is not the first to compare skeptics of man-made global warming to racists. It’s part of a larger trend of linking environmental issues to race.

Former Vice President Al Gore has repeatedly compared the climate crusade to the abolitionist and civil rights movement — implying their opponents are akin pro-slavery, anti-voting rights forces.

Sierra, the club’s national magazine, published an article Monday about the race study by DePauw University political science professor Salil Benegal who “found that the percentage of white Americans who said that they believed climate change is a very serious problem declined during the Obama administration.”

“Climate Deniers Are More Likely to Be Racist. Why?” reads the Sierra article’s headline. (RELATED: Emails Suggest EPA Officials Colluded With Lobbyists To Thwart Trump’s Agenda)

Benegal also claimed that white Republican concern over the plight of coal miners has “a racial undertone,” he told Sierra. “[B]ecause coal mining is an industry that is overwhelmingly very white,” he said.

Interestingly enough, a quick look at Pew Research Center’s data on the political divide on global warming shows that belief in man-made global warming increased in both major U.S. political parties.

The percentage of Democrats who attribute most global warming to human activities increased from around 50 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2016. The percentage of Republicans who agree also went up, from below 20 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2016.

Pew data also shows the group most concerned with global warming are white Americans, with 57 percent saying the cared “a great deal” about the issue. Minority groups, on the other hand, expressed extremely low levels of concern about global warming. Only 22 percent of Hispanics and 12 percent of blacks cared “a great deal” about warming when polled in 2016.

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