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Surprising Science

Politics Can Do Great Things for the Environment

It just depends on the level of environmental activism going on in your state.

Political attitudes that favor environmental protections can help evade the increase of carbon emissions seen in states that expect a rise in population and affluence. Both are factors that social scientists Thomas Dietz and Kenneth Frank say have proven to have a negative influence on the environment. However, they’ve found in their recent study that “the effects of population and affluence can be substantially moderated by political factors and, in particular, support for environmentalism.”

The two worked on comparing “the extent to which politics attenuates the effects of economic and demographic factors on environmental outcomes by examining variation in CO2 emissions across US states and within states over time.”

Most states showed normal growth patterns and the environmental stress following with it, but there were some outliers. Take New York State, where there was an increase in population and affluence. But because of state politics that favored environmental standards, those emissions fell.

The human element is there and it’s changing our planet day by day. It makes states like Florida, where words like “climate change” are banned from reports, frightening places to live. NASA has taken a page from the EPA’s book and released projection tools for the next 100 years, so that regions across the globe can start to make preparations. Bill Nye will keep spreading the word about climate change, but other scientists are done talking.

Dietz and Frank’s study show that the people can elect change.

Read more atScience Daily.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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