21 September 2013 (AFP) – The upcoming UN report on climate change is not likely to rattle US deniers of global warming who hold sway in the halls of power, experts say.
A hefty analysis of the latest science on global climate change, the report is packed with recommendations for policymakers.
It will be released at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) next week, though most Republicans in the US government are expected to dismiss it outright.
"The IPCC report will help for the observers and the public to understand where the majority of the scientists' opinion stands," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"But I don't think it will change the mind of the hard core deniers."
Meyer added: "We don't call them skeptics, because they are not putting forward alternatives ideas and having them tested in a peer review journals. They basically deny this problem."
Climate skeptics and deniers dominate the House of Representatives, but Meyer said some legislators admit privately that the science is correct and that global warming is being exacerbated by fossil fuel use.
"But they cannot say it because they will be challenged in the primary (elections in 2014) by the Tea Party," the ultraconservative wing of the Republican party.
They "say what they have to say to get reelected," Meyer told AFP.
Public opinion polls have shown that an increasing number of Americans believe climate change is real.
According to a Pew research poll this spring, 69 percent of Americans, a 12 point hike over 2009, believe there are strong indications the planet is getting warmer.
However, these surveys have also shown that a just a third of the US public thinks climate change is a serious problem.
Surveys also show a stark partisan divide, with 50-58 percent of Republicans saying they do not believe that climate change is happening.
Americans' views on climate change are closely linked to their political orientations; those who doubt the theory of evolution and believe in creationism are often climate skeptics or deniers, according to Joe Casola, an expert at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions in Washington.
"With the IPCC report, the older arguments -- that climate change does not exist or CO2 is not responsible for warming or the humans are not responsible -- are harder and harder to make," he said.
"I think there was a subtle shift in the last few months to focusing more on this kind of future tense that warming will not be that bad," he added.
"It will be interesting to see if the old arguments come back, or if they shift to the new ones." [more]