Even as the science of global warming gets stronger, fewer Americans believe it’s real. In some ways, it’s nearly as jarring a disconnect as enduring disbelief in evolution or carbon dating. And according to Kari Marie Norgaard, a Whitman College sociologist who’s studied public attitudes towards climate science, we’re in denial.
Wired.com: Why don’t people seem to care?
Kari Norgaard: On the one hand, there have been extremely well-organized, well-funded climate-skeptic campaigns. Those are backed by Exxon Mobil in particular, and the same PR firms who helped the tobacco industry (.pdf) deny the link between cancer and smoking are involved with magnifying doubt around climate change.
Norgaard: Climate change is disturbing. It’s something we don’t want to think about. So what we do in our everyday lives is create a world where it’s not there, and keep it distant.
Wired.com: Is that what this comes down to — not wanting to confront our own roles?