"Acceptance of the scientific consensus is now seen as an alignment with liberal views consistent with other 'cultural' issues that divide the country -- abortion, gun control, health care, and evolution," Hoffman writes. This partisan divide on the issue is a recent phenomenon, something that wasn't seen during the 1990s. Hoffman examined "the climate change debate through the lens of the social sciences," because he says "we need to understand the social and psychological processes by which people receive and understand the science of global warming."
He writes there are two "overriding conclusions" about the climate change debate: Climate change is not a "pollution" issue, and it is an existential challenge to our contemporary world views. He outlines three possible ways in which the ideological debate will manifest: the "Optimistic Form," in which "people do not have to change their values at all," the "Pessimistic Form," in which "people fight to protect their values," and the "Consensus-Based Form," in which "a reasoned societal debate, focused on the full scope of technical and social dimensions of the problem and the feasibility and desirability of multiple solutions," are discussed. (Read more)