Science is Winning: 58 Percent of Republicans Support Climate Action

Republican presidential candidates are pictured during the Iowa GOP/Fox News Debate at the CY Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. Pictured left to right: former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; businessman Herman Cain; Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, Pool)

A majority of Republicans support climate action. Unfortunately, the Republican presidential candidates haven’t gotten the memo.

One of the most striking things at the Paris UNFCC COP21 Climate Change Conference, which I and several other TriplePundit team members attended earlier this month, was the complete lack of climate denying. Every delegate, NGO representative, business leader or media member understood that climate change was a real, serious and immediate threat to the global economy.

It was a stark contrast to what you hear sometimes in America, where the political discourse on climate and the environment is far more divided. Turn on the nightly news and when climate change is mentioned, it is likely that there is a denier ready to speak. But it turns out that years of efforts by scientists, NGOs and, yes, businesses to raise awareness of the threat of climate change is making a difference, even among Republicans. That is according to a recent poll from Reuters/Ipsos, which found that more than half of all Republicans supported President Barack Obama’s climate pledges in Paris.

What’s more, the polls found that 58 percent of Republicans are willing to take individual steps to help the environment.

The poll’s findings come in stark contrast to the opposition to climate action from Republican hopefuls in the race for the party’s presidential nomination. One candidate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, promised this week that he would pull out of the Paris Agreement if he was to win the presidency.

It’s quite sad. If you listen to the Republican presidential debates, whenever climate comes up (and it’s not often), the candidates jump over each other to be the most backward-facing. This isn’t a surprise for a party whose lead member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee once brought a snowball into the Senate as proof that climate change was not real.

Thankfully, these Republicans had no voice in Paris, and thus far President Obama is paying them no heed. If this poll is right, then it’s just a matter of time before Republican leaders begin to represent their constituency. If not, expect a tough time for the party this coming November, because campaigning against reality is never a winning recipe.

Image credit: via Flickr

Nithin Coca is a freelance journalist who focuses on environmental, social, and economic issues around the world, with specific expertise in Southeast Asia.

One response

  1. I don’t believe that your “if . . . then” statistics pan out. Just because “58 percent of Republicans are willing to take individual steps to help the environment” does not mean that 58% of Republicans believe “that climate change [is] a real, serious and immediate threat to the global economy.” There is a huge difference in a person being willing to do their part to be good stewards (such as recycling, not buying a gas guzzler, etc.) and believing that climate change will imminently destroy our economy through some degree of world annihilation. I recycle and I don’t litter. In fact, if one Google’s “individual steps to reduce global warming” and peruse the lists, I believe (although unscientifically) that a large portion of people follow a majority of these suggestions despite their political stance. I care about our planet, our home – even as a proud denier and a proud Conservative! I do not deny, however, that our climate is ever-evolving and changing. I simply deny the fact that this change is an imminent threat. In the 70’s, the scientific scuttle was that we would soon be entering another Ice Age. More recently, the threat was/is ‘global warming.’ However, that was then rectified to ‘climate change’ because the perception of our extreme cold and deep, snowy winters were eroding that theory. Our climate will continue to change. Maybe in the next couple of decades, the scientists will return to their prediction of another Ice Age. That will fit in to the left’s narrative of ‘change’ and not ‘warming.’ The bottom line is that there are a myriad of factors that contribute to our evolving climate, some of which are man-made. However, I believe that even if every continent, every country and every citizen of this world were to suddenly reduce their carbon imprint to zero, it would make some impact on our climate but not enough to drastically change the future. Our globe and its climate patterns are much larger than any one person or even any one country.

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