Where does political polarization come from? Locating polarization within the U.S. climate change debate

Fisher, D. R., Waggle, J. and Leifeld, P. (2013) Where does political polarization come from? Locating polarization within the U.S. climate change debate. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(1), pp. 70-92. (doi:10.1177/0002764212463360)

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Abstract

How do we understand political polarization within the U.S. climate change debate? This article unpacks the different components of the debate to determine the source of the political divide that is so noted in the mainstream media and academic literatures. Through analysis of the content of congressional hearings on the issue of climate change, we are able to explain political polarization of the issue more fully. In particular, our results show that, contrary to representations in the mainstream media, there is increasing consensus over the science of the issue. Discussions of the type of policy instrument and the economic implications of regulating carbon dioxide emissions, however, continue to polarize opinion. This article concludes by exploring how these findings help us understand more recent political events around climate change.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (BCS-0826892).
Keywords:Climate change, U.S. environmental politics, political polarization, discourse network analysis, social network analysis.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Leifeld, Professor Philip
Authors: Fisher, D. R., Waggle, J., and Leifeld, P.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:American Behavioral Scientist
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0002-7642
ISSN (Online):1552-3381
Published Online:02 November 2012
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 SAGE Publications
First Published:First published in American Behavioral Scientist 57(1): 70-92
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
01Social Networks as Agents of Change in Climate Change Policy MakingDana R. FisherU.S. National Science FoundationUNSPECIFIED