NEW YORK (AP) — Drought California Rahul Krach, a rice farmer and graduate student in the Sacramento Valley, grows very little. Using groundwater, she and her husband cultivated 75 acres this year to maintain their markets. The 200 acres of land she regularly sowed remained empty due to lack of water.
The 53-year-old Democrat said it was clear to him that climate change was to blame. But she says that opinion is deeply divisive in her community.
“Our contacts with our neighbors are very limited because our views are very different. Climate change is a topic we don’t usually discuss because our views are very different,” Krach said.
Effects Climate change It hit communities across the country, including Kirch, but voters in rural communities were less likely to feel Washington was in their corner on the issue. Rural Americans and experts report a disconnect between what leaders are talking about about climate change and how these communities are experiencing it.
AP PollingA comprehensive survey 2022 Midterm The poll shows clear differences between urban and rural communities in voter sentiment towards the President Joe Biden Dealing with climate and how climate change affects their communities.
About half of voters nationwide approve of the president’s handling of the issue. Inflation Act This summer means historic investments aimed at reducing climate-changing emissions. While 6 in 10 urban voters approve, this number drops to half for suburban voters and 4 in 10 for rural voters.
The urban-rural divide also exists within the Republican Party, showing that those differences are not driven solely by a partisan divide between blue cities and red villages. While 27% of urban Republicans approve of Biden’s leadership on climate, only 14% of small-town and rural Republicans say the same, VoteCast showed.
Sarah Jaynes, executive director of the Rural Democracy Initiative, which funds groups that support progressive policies in rural areas, suggested that the urban-rural divide has a lot to do with messaging issues.
“People in rural areas and small towns are less likely to think that Democrats are fighting for people like them, so there’s a partisan trust issue,” Jaynes said. “I think there’s an issue right now in rural communities where people don’t want to signal that they support Democrats.”
VoteCast shows that despite nationwide climate crises — from Cyclone For wildfires droughts – There are various concerns among voters about whether climate change is in their backyard. Three-quarters of urban voters are somewhat concerned about the effects of climate change on their communities, 6 in 10 in suburban areas and half of small-town and rural voters.
That difference is not necessarily explained by a lack of belief in climate change within rural communities. A September AP-NORC poll showed majorities across social categories agree climate change is happening.
“If you talk about the climate in general, rural people say, ‘Well, are you really worried about me? Are you talking about me?'” Jaynes said. “If you ask them, ‘Are you worried about floods? Are you worried about water crisis? Are you concerned about the effects of extreme weather?’ You’re going to hear a lot of positives when you meet them where they are.
In Krach’s community, “everyone is clear that there is no water, there is a drought. Attributing them to climate change is different.
At the national level, extreme weather has taken a heavy toll on agriculture. Krach’s experience is not unique: Colusa and Glenn counties have seen their rice acreage reduced by at least three-quarters due to California’s ongoing drought. According to an analysis UC-Davis agricultural economist Aaron Smith. In TexasDrought and heat wave means close to 70% of cotton crop likely to be abandoned. In Georgia, farmers have begun Growing citrusAs the weather warms, it becomes increasingly unpalatable for peaches.
Jonathan Hladic, policy director of the Center for Rural Affairs NebraskaAn organization focused on rural community development, including environmental protection, the nature of much of the work done by rural people makes it difficult to see on a global scale – as in agriculture.
“Farmers are experiencing climate change in a very different way than many urban people. It’s in every part of their work. It’s like a day-to-day battle. You’re in the trenches every day, and it’s very difficult to step back and see the big picture,” he said.
Olivia Stott, a 20-year-old junior Iowa A fourth-generation corn, bean and row crop operation was developed at State University, Marble Rock, Iowa. Another factor contributing to the divide on climate issues is that some rural people feel that urban communities are shouldering disproportionate blame for climate problems rather than looking in the mirror.
“There always has to be a scapegoat, and I feel like there are a lot of rural communities in these urban areas,” Stott said. “But no one is to blame or create all the problems.”
Stott knows firsthand how much agricultural communities think about natural resources—her family not only uses the land but also cares for it for the future, and connection to the earth can be remote for urban dwellers. It’s heartening to see new mega-developments in cities and smog coupled with the notion that agriculture is to blame for climate change.
The findings are complicated by Biden’s lack of knowledge of climate action. The month of September AP-NORC survey 6 in 10 American adults say they know nothing about the Inflationary Reduction Act — widely billed as the largest investment in climate spending in history.
The IRA, which Biden signed into law in August, includes about $375 billion in climate investments over 10 years. Among other things, the law provides about $260 billion in tax credits for renewable energy and consumer rebates for heat pumps and solar panels and up to $7,500 in electric vehicle credits.
Some elements of the Act are also in the agricultural sector. According to the US Department of AgricultureThe legislation includes $20 billion for conservation programs run by the department, $3 billion in relief for distressed USDA borrowers in financial jeopardy, and $2 billion in funding for farmers who have experienced past discrimination in USDA loan programs.
Follow AP’s coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. More details on AP VoteCast methodology can be found at https://www.ap.org/votecast.
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