Only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters believe global warming is a real environmental problem compared to 49 percent of the rest of the public, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. Global warming skepticism is an article of faith among Tea Party adherents, some of whom say they rely on the teachings of scripture and conservative opinion leaders as sources for their information about climate science. Tea Partiers' beliefs on global warming agree with those of the fossil fuel industry, which funds the Tea Party movement. Following in the footsteps of the tobacco industry, the fossil fuel industry has carried on a longstanding, pervasive campaign to raise doubts about global warming science and undermine policies that to address it. For decades, the fossil fuel industry has created and lavishly funded institutes that produce anti-global warming studies, organized and paid for rallies and Web sites that question the science, and generated scores of economic analyses that claim policies to reduce greenhouse gases will eliminate jobs and damage the overall economy. Conservative opinion leaders, like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, George F. Will and Sarah Palin have spread the oil industry's ideas by questioning the credibility and motives of scientists who point to global warming as a situation that needs to be addressed. The industry's campaign appears to have had a significant impact on Tea Party adherents' beliefs.
By Anne Landman on October 21, 2010