Figure 35 Proportion Of Each Group Who Favored The Federal Government Giving Tax Breaks To Build Nuclear Power Plants
Gasoline Consumption Taxes. An increase in federal taxes on gasoline to cause people to use less of it has almost never gained majority support. Increased gasoline taxes reached and surpassed 50% favoring among Democrats in 2015 and 2018, then gained significant traction in 2020, reaching a peak at 65%. The partisan gap in 2020 was 47 percentage points, an all-time high.
Are Republicans Coming Out Of The Closet On Climate Change
Bruce Westerman, a Republican congressman from Arkansas, has a plan to help save the planet one he thinks may also help save his party.
His proposal, which calls for planting a trillion trees to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, was warmly received last month when House Republicans gathered to discuss their policy agenda heading into the 2020 elections.
After years of denying that the planet was growing hotter because of human activity, an increasing number of Republicans say they need to acknowledge the problem and offer solutions if they have any hope of retaking the House.
In poll after poll, large numbers of young and suburban Republican voters are registering their desire for climate action and say the issue is a priority. And their concern about climate change is spreading to older GOP supporters, too.
Almost 7 in 10 Republican adults under 45 said that human activity is causing the climate to change, according to a poll last summer by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Republicans cant win the majority back without winning suburban districts, and you cant win suburban districts with a retro position on climate change, said former South Carolina congressman Bob Inglis, a Republican who is pushing his party to craft a climate plan.
Figure 4 Party Breakdown Of Beliefs About Effects And Observations Of Global Warming
Majorities of Democrats and Republicans also diverge in their observations of the world around them. Majorities of Democrats and Republicans believe they have seen effects of global warming. But although majorities of Democrats believe that, during the last three years, global weather patterns have been more unstable , that global temperatures have been higher , and that weather patterns in the county where they live have been more unstable , only minorities of Republicans hold those views: 41%, 41%, and 26%, respectively.
Majorities of Democrats and of Republicans endorse action to deal with global warming. Democrats are almost unanimously in favor of action by the US government, governments in other countries, US businesses, and average people. Sizable majorities of Republicans expressed these preferences as well. The partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans on these issues ranges from 27 to 50 percentage points and averages 36 percentage points.
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Figure 31 Proportion Of Each Group Who Thought The Government Should Either Require Or Give Tax Breaks To Construct More Energy
Increase energy efficiency of buildings. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have consistently favored federal government efforts to improve the energy efficiency of new buildings. In 2020, 86% of Democrats, 61% or Republicans, and 74% of Independents favor this policy option, with a partisan gap of 25 percentage points.
Only 27% Of Republicans Think Climate Change Is A ‘major Threat’ To The United States
According to a new poll, less than a third of Republicans think that climate change is a “major threat to the well-being of the United States.”
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Institute asked respondents about several “serious global threats,” including Russian influence, the Islamic State and North Korea’s nuclear program.
Global climate change was far and away the most divisive issue: Only 27 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agreed it was a threat, compared to 84 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
Overall, though, the issue ranked as the biggest crisis for most respondents, with 57 percent saying it put the U.S. at risk. That’s 2 percent less than were concerned with climate change in a 2017 Pew survey.
That might not be surprising, given the debates about the Green New Deal in Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who says he does believe in climate change, claimed the Green New Deal would ” off entire domestic industries down millions of jobsbasically the only sources of energy that working-class and middle-class families can actually afford.”
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, currently a Democratic candidate for president, has made the environment a central part of his campaign, with a “community climate justice” plan for America to transition to clean economy.
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New Caucus New Opportunity
Even broaching the topic with some political conservatives can be challenging, said U.S. Rep. John Curtis, a Republican from Utah.
He compared the reflexive reaction many conservatives have when it comes to climate change to how Democrats feel when they hear about former President Donald Trumps U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Their chest tightens, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
I think climate has been like that for Republicans, right? Just the word climate has all these agendas, the Green New Deal and Al Gore kind of associated with it, and I think thats turned them off.
Last week, Curtis launched the Conservative Climate Caucus – a group in Congress that already boasts a roster of more than 50 Republicans to try to educate colleagues and brainstorm ideas to deal with climate change.
Curtis said he envisions field trips to look at electric vehicle manufacturing or forest fire damage, a big worry in the western United States right now.
But hes not keen on virtually eliminating use of fossil fuels – something scientists say is crucial to limiting dangerous warming – instead preferring a switch to cleaner ones.
I think theres a role for fossil fuels, he said. If were able to export U.S. natural gas to China and it displaced coal, that would have dramatic impacts on worldwide carbon emissions.
Curtis acknowledged that among a certain set of conservative voters, winning heart and minds on climate change will take much more work.
The Fossil Fuel Industrys Funding Of Denial
CAPs analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that these 139 climate science deniers have accepted more than $61 million in lifetime direct contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industries, which comes out to an average of $442,293 per elected official of Congress that denies climate change. This figure includes all contributions above the Federal Election Commissions mandated reporting threshold of $200 from management, employees, and political action committees in the fossil fuel industries. Not included in this data are the many other avenues available to fossil fuel interests to influence campaigns and elected officials. For example, oil, gas, and coal companies spent heavily during the 2020 election cycle to keep the Senate under the control of former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a known climate denierwith major oil companies like Valero, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips contributing more than $1 million each to the conservative Senate Leadership Fund.
This analysis only shows direct, publicly disclosed contributions to federal candidates. The fossil fuel industry regularly spends millions of dollars of dark money advertising to the public; shaping corporate decisions; lobbying members of Congress; and otherwise funding the infrastructure that makes climate denial politically feasible and even profitable.
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Actually Republicans Do Believe In Climate Change
Dr. Van Boven and Dr. Sherman are social psychologists.
It is widely believed that most Republicans are skeptical about human-caused climate change. But is this belief correct?
In 2014 and 2016, we conducted two national surveys of more than 2,000 respondents on the issue of climate change. We found that most Republicans agreed that climate change is happening, threatens humans and is caused by human activity and that reducing carbon emissions would mitigate the problem.
To be sure, Democrats agreed more strongly than Republicans did that climate change is a concerning reality. And among climate skeptics there were more Republicans than Democrats. Nevertheless, most Republicans were in basic agreement with most Democrats and independents on this issue.
This raises a question: If Democrats and Republicans agree about climate change, why do they disagree about climate policy?
As we and our colleague Phillip Ehret argue this month in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, our research suggests the problem is not so much that Republicans are skeptical about climate change, but that Republicans are skeptical of Democrats and that Democrats are skeptical of Republicans. This tribalism leads to political fights over differences between the parties that either do not exist or are vastly exaggerated.
Some Republicans Find Failure To Grapple With Climate Change A Political Liability
A small but growing number of Republicans say the G.O.P. needs a coherent climate strategy and formed a Conservative Climate Caucus on Capitol Hill.
WASHINGTON When Representative John Curtis quietly approached fellow Republicans to invite them to discuss climate change at a clandestine meeting in his home state of Utah, he hoped a half dozen members might attend.
Soon the guest list blew past expectations as lawmakers heard about the gathering and asked to be included. For two days in February, 24 Republicans gathered in a ballroom of the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City where they brainstormed ways to get their party to engage on a planetary problem it has ignored for decades.
Some came with the promise of being anonymous. Its terrible that Republicans cant even go talk about it without being embarrassed, Mr. Curtis said in an interview.
For four years under President Donald J. Trump, even uttering the phrase climate change was verboten for many Republicans. His administration scrubbed the words from federal websites, tried to censor testimony to Congress and mocked the science linking rising fossil fuel emissions to a warming planet.
Now, many in the Republican Party are coming to terms with what polls have been saying for years: independents, suburban voters and especially young Republicans are worried about climate change and want the government to take action.
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Majorities Of Us Adults Say Federal Government Is Not Doing Enough On The Environment
Majorities of Americans continue to say the federal government is doing too little to protect key aspects of the environment. About two-thirds of Americans say the federal government is doing too little to protect water quality of rivers, lakes and streams , protect air quality and reduce the effects of climate change . About six-in-ten think the federal government is doing too little to protect animals and their habitats , and a slightly smaller majority say the federal government is doing too little to protect open lands in national parks .
These findings come amid a changing federal regulatory landscape. The Trump administration is reversing or seeking to change more than 100 rules and regulations related to carbon dioxide emissions, clean air, water or toxic chemicals.
Public views on how much the federal government is doing to protect key aspects of the environment are virtually unchanged in the last two years. In Pew Research Center surveys in both 2018 and 2019, about two-thirds of Americans said the federal government was doing too little to protect air or water quality or reduce the effects of climate change.
Over the past several years, Americans have become significantly more likely to say protecting the environment and addressing climate change should be top priorities for the president and Congress, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey.
Among Democrats, there are hardly any gaps in views on these questions by generation or gender. .
Congressman John Boehner Republican Of Ohio
Speaker of the House
Boehner reliably pleads ignorance to punt on climate change. Listen, Im not qualified to debate the science over climate change, Boehner said in May. But I am astute enough to understand that every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs. That cant be the prescription for dealing with changes in our climate.
Boehner called the US-China deal the latest example of the presidents crusade against affordable, reliable energy that is already hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families.
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Democrats Mostly Agree The Federal Government Should Do More On Climate While Republicans Differ By Ideology Age And Gender
Majorities of Americans say the federal government is doing too little for key aspects of the environment, from protecting water or air quality to reducing the effects of climate change. And most believe the United States should focus on developing alternative sources of energy over expansion of fossil fuel sources, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
A majority of U.S. adults say they are taking at least some specific action in their daily lives to protect the environment, though Democrats and Republicans remain at ideological odds over the causes of climate change and the effects of policies to address it, according to the survey of 3,627 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 1 to Oct. 13, 2019, using the Centerâs American Trends Panel.
These findings come amid the Trump administrationâs intention to officially withdraw from the 2016 Paris climate accord and ongoing efforts to roll back domestic environmental protection regulations, including relaxing limits on methane and carbon emissions.
About two-thirds of U.S. adults say the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change, and similar shares say the same about government efforts to protect air and water quality â findings that are consistent with results from a 2018 Center survey.
Views about government efforts to protect the environment in areas such as water or air quality show similar differences among Republicans by ideology, generation and gender.
Figure 11 Party Breakdown Of Opinions On Obama
Of the 24 policies, 17 are favored by a majority of Independents, including the 7 that are favored by majorities of Republicans and of Democrats.
Of the seven policies favored by a minority of Independents, two are also favored by minorities of Republicans and Democrats: tax breaks to encourage nuclear power plant construction and increased consumer taxes on electricity.
Four of the other five policies favored by a minority of Independents are: increasing consumer taxes on gasoline, helping companies prevent leaks and pollution from pipelines, spending stimulus money to advance manufacturing of all-electric cars, and installing charging stations for electric cars. For the proposed policy of helping companies make batteries that are smaller and last longer, 50% of Independents were in favor.
For two policies more Republicans than Democrats are in favor, by margins of 13 and 11 percentage points respectively.
Of the remaining 22 policies, more Democrats than Republicans are in favor by margins ranging from 18 to 58 percentage points and averaging 37 percentage points.
In sum, Democrats are generally more supportive of emissions reduction policies than Republicans, and Independents are generally in between those two groups. And although majorities of both Republicans and Democrats agree with one another about some policies, they disagreed on most.
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Republicans Who Believe In Climate Change Seek Alternative To Green New Deal
Republicans have trashed the Green New Deal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and create a renewable energy economy as unrealistic, unaffordable and ill-conceived.
But ever since the New York Democrat began promoting the idea late last year, a growing number of House GOP lawmakers have been increasingly willing to say those four little words: “Climate change is real.” And they’re warning the rest of their party that Republicans must push for alternative solutions before it’s too late.
Reps. John Shimkus, R-Ill., the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce’s Environment and Climate Change subcommittee, Billy Long, R-Mo., Bill Flores, R-Texas, Buddy Carter, R-Ga., and Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, among others, made their views plain during a pair of hearings on the topic in early February.
“This is an extremely important subject,” Carter said during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on the Environment and Climate Change hearing on Feb. 6., adding that climate change “is real” and is “something that we have to address.”
Shimkus, along with Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Fred Upton, R-Mich., the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce’s Energy subcommittee, argued in a Feb. 13 opinion article that the Green New Deal would have “potentially devastating consequences on our national debt and on our economy.”
What Has Trump Done On Climate Change
The Climate Deregulation Tracker, run by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, has documented more than 130 steps the Trump administration has taken to scale back measures to fight climate change.
High-profile rollbacks include:
- Replacing President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would have limited carbon emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants, with the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which had weaker regulations
- Attempting to freeze the fuel efficiency standards imposed on new vehicles, and prevent California from setting its own emissions rules
“He’s completely halted and reversed the momentum that was built up during the Obama administration in fighting climate change,” Prof Gerrard says.
While withdrawing from the Paris Agreement was “terrible symbolically”, the agreement had “virtually no specifics on what the US had to do”, so other rollbacks, especially the attempt to limit fuel economic standards of cars, were more damaging, he adds.
Dan Costa worked at the Environmental Protection Agency for more than 30 years, including as the National Director of the Air, Climate & Energy Research Program.
He said he noticed an “anti-science stance” once the Trump administration’s team took over.
“One of the folks who came as part of the transition team said ‘if climate change is such a bad thing, why are so many people moving to Arizona? Anyway, you can turn up the air conditioning.'”
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