With the dire effects of climate change becoming more and more apparent, the push for politicians to take action in order to prevent an estimated 100 million deaths globally by 2030 is increasingly important. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have taken very different stances on the global issue, with the latter sparking outrage among climate activists for his statements of indifference.
To put the gap between politicians and academia into perspective, the Better Future Project recently conducted a survey, polling professors at the alma maters of top politicians, including Romney and Obama, about their climate change research and whether they believe that climate change is man-made, as the scientific consensus holds. Surveying 203 professors, the results indicated that 97 percent of researchers publishing in the field agree that human-caused climate change is real.
While 100 percent of professors at Harvard and Stanford Universities, two of Romney's alma maters, agree that climate change is man-made, Romney has flip-flopped on the issue, first writing in his book "No Apology" that "human activity is a contributing factor," then later stating "we don’t know what’s causing climate change." At Brigham Young University, where Romney studied as an undergraduate, 86 percent of professors who have published on climate change agree with the consensus.
Though Romney has made his controversial thoughts about the importance of climate change in the 2012 presidential election well known, he recently changed his tune, noting that humans are at least partially to blame for climate change.
“I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences,” Romney said in a written statement posted on Sciencedebate.org.
Conversely, Obama's statements and policy choices regarding climate change have consistently fallen in line with the holdings of his alma maters -- 100 percent of professors surveyed at Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard University agree with the majority opinion on climate change.
Although many of the academics surveyed were likely not present at the colleges and universities when Romney and Obama attended, the findings of the report still reveal the general understanding among professors at top-ranked U.S. universities that climate change is a man-made phenomenon.