Thursday, December 19, 2013

Republicans Have Painted Themselves Into a Corner on Climate Change

The Republican position on climate change may drive party support to historic lows in the not too distant future. While most Americans (including supporters of the GOP) think that climate change is real and want the government to act, the majority of Republicans in Congress are science eschewing climate deniers. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, 58 percent of Republicans in the current Congress deny the existence of climate change or oppose action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Congressman Joe Barton of Texas and Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma are poster boys for the flat earth/Luddites in Congress. They regularly dismiss climate change as a “hoax.” However a new analysis from a Stanford University Social Psychologists makes this position politically untenable. Americans, including Republicans think global warming is real and want the government to act.

“This new report is crystal clear,” said Waxman. “It shows that the vast majority of Americans – whether from red states or blue – understand that climate change is a growing danger. Americans recognize that we have a moral obligation to protect the environment and an economic opportunity to develop the clean energy technologies of the future. Americans are way ahead of Congress in listening to the scientists.”

While Democrats are known for their acknowledgement of a science based understanding of climate change Republicans have forcefully defined themselves as "skeptics." What is most striking about the research is the fact that members of the GOP in Congress are at odds with party supporters. 

According to the Stanford study, it is people's personal experience with extreme weather like heatwaves that is driving them to acknowledge the existence of man-made global warming and support government action to combat it. The GOP's recent hearings on global warming were little more than a climate denial sham, which suggests that many Republicans in the House have yet to feel the heat.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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