DIVIDED AMERICA: Temperatures rise, US splits

From The Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tempers are rising in America, along with the temperatures.

Two decades ago, the issue of climate change wasn’t as contentious. The leading U.S. Senate proponent of taking action on global warming was Republican John McCain. George W. Bush wasn’t as zealous on the issue as his Democratic opponent for president in 2000, Al Gore, but he, too, talked of regulating carbon dioxide.

Then the Earth got even hotter , repeatedly breaking temperature records. But instead of drawing closer together, politicians polarized.

EDITOR’S NOTE – This story is part of Divided America, AP’s ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.

Democrats (and scientists) became more convinced that global warming was a real, man-made threat . But Republicans and Tea Party activists became more convinced that it was – to quote the repeated tweets of presidential nominee Donald Trump – a “hoax.” A Republican senator tossed a snowball on the Senate floor for his proof.

When it comes to science, there’s more than climate that divides America’s leaders and people. The mainstream scientific establishment accepts evolution as a reality, as well as the general safety of vaccinations and genetically modified food. But some political leaders and portions of the public don’t believe any of that. It’s not a liberal versus conservative issue, especially when it comes to vaccinations, which are doubted by some activists on both ends of the political spectrum.

But nothing beats climate change for divisiveness.

“It’s more politically polarizing than abortion,” says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. “It’s more politically polarizing than gay …

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