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: Iowapolitics.com via Flickr