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How climate change became political

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Whatever your perspective on climate change, it is likely to have been shaped by political culture and the media. For some, though, the subject is now so divisive that even the words “climate change” are controversial.

A study by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication in the US found that, in trying to encourage support for climate policies, switching to the phrase “extreme weather” was more effective in winning over American conservatives — for whom “climate change” has become a highly charged term.

This is just one example of how cultural attitudes, driven by everything from political philosophies to religious beliefs and even language, influence the ability of countries and policymakers to address climate change.

“In the political culture war, climate is one of the many dividing points that’s been amplified and exploited by certain actors,” says Anthony Leiserowitz, the Yale programme’s director.

“It’s…

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