One of the problems is the Watermelon Effect. Many Americans who might otherwise be inclined to worry about incremental man-made warming will ignore it because they have no interest in assuming all the ideological baggage that comes with this admission. Joining the Left on “climate change” means joining it on array of agenda items that are often incompatible with many Americans’ economic and political beliefs.
Environmentalism has always been leftist malware, infecting economic growth, the most nefarious of all things. You can flip though a Naomi Klein book or browse Grist—though, really, it’s implicit in most of the agenda—to understand how many archaic ideas about top-down control litter every corner of this philosophy. Put it this way: John Holdren, whose intellectual lineage can be directly traced to the ugliest strains of this movement, a man who believes that proliferation of human beings is destroying the planet, is our Science Czar in 2015. So even if global warming is real, I would prefer it.
Then, of course, there is a difference in believing climate change is real and believing that climate change is calamitous. All one needs to do is a quick cost-benefit analysis. Voters are willing to support a certain some level of environmental policy. They are “fairly concerned,” as Gallup points out. But if they truly believed the End of Days was approaching, they wouldn’t be living the lives they do. Perhaps they intuitively understand that people have a remarkable ability to adapt to change. When it comes to climate, it’s what humans have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years now.