Straws in the Wind? Climate Change and the GOP.

There are some signs the GOP may finally bestarting to acknowledge the reality of climate change.

Is Republican climate denial starting to crack?  The GOP’s official position has long been that climate change isn’t happening, or if it is, it’s not caused by humans, and anyway it’s not that serious and there’s nothing to be done about.  Three events last week may be signs that this position is starting to weaken.

The first event involved the Pentagon, perhaps the part of the government with the strongest support among Republicans. Last year, the Republican-controlled Congress directed the Pentagon to report on the military’s vulnerability. The military has been a reliable GOP stronghold, with service members favoring Trump over Clinton by a two-to-one margin. But the Pentagon‘s report issued last Friday didn’t follow the Trump Administration line on climate change. Indeed, the report painted a dire picture of climate impacts: “The 22-page assessment delivered to Congress on Jan. 17 says about two-thirds of 79 mission-essential military installations in the U.S. that were reviewed are vulnerable to current or future flooding, with more than half vulnerable to current or future drought. About half also are at risk from wildfires, including the threat of mudslides and erosion from rains following the blazes.” (Bloomberg, 1/18/2019). That’s not going to reassure members of the Armed Services Committees.

A day earlier, in conservative Idaho, which Trump carried by over twenty points, the Republican Governor spoke out about climate change.  Here’s what he had to say: “Climate is changing, there’s no question about it,” he said. “Sometimes what you do from a regulatory standpoint might be counter to what the right thing to do is, but you’ve got to recognize it. It’s here. We’ve just got to figure out how we’re going to cope with it. And we’ve got to slow it down. Now, reversing it is going to be a big darn job.” (Idaho Statesman, 1/16/2018).

Also last week, the heads of forty-one college College Republican chapters joined in a letter that  “wholeheartedly call[ed] on our fellow College Republicans to support conservative action on clean energy and environmental issues.”  Referring to the Republican party’s need to attract millennial voters, they said that “[a]s leaders, both on campus and in our states, we firmly believe that environmental stewardship is important, deserves our attention, and should employ a market-centric solution.”

As I noted in a December 2018 post, the views of rank-and-file Republicans may already be shifting. Two-thirds of Republicans now believe the world’s climate is undergoing a change that is causing more extreme weather patterns and sea level rise. The College Republican leaders were right about their generation: a survey by Pew found that “[a]bout a third (36%) of Millennials in the GOP say the Earth is warming mostly due to human activity, double the share of Republicans in the Baby Boomer or older generations.”

It’s far too early to know whether GOP views are finally starting to shift in the face of reality. But there’s reason not to give up hope.


, , , , ,

Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Straws in the Wind? Climate Change and the GOP.”

  1. Dan said;
    “…..The GOP’s official position has long been that climate change isn’t happening, or if it is, it’s not caused by humans, and anyway it’s not that serious and there’s nothing to be done about….”

    Dear Dan,
    Our official informed position is that climate always changes, humans cause only a minor and insignificant impact on climate, its not that serious, humans cannot control global climate, and “climate mitigation” schemes are not effective and do not work. The views of the GOP have always been based on reality and continue to be so. Anyone who claims to be able to mitigate climate change, without offering proof, is a contemptible charlatan and shall not be elected in 2020.

  2. Geologist – “The sun, not CO2, drives Earth’s climate”

    “…..Devastating news for human-caused global warming proponents. “The sun, not CO2, drives Earth’s climate,” says Dr Roger Higgs, long-time consultant geologist and sedimentologist. Higgs bases his statement on four vital points: Global warming and cooling are driven by the sun, specifically by the solar-sourced Interplanetary Magnetic Field, which regulates incoming cosmic rays, which in turn govern cloudiness and thus global temperature (the breathtakingly elegant Svensmark Theory). Global temperature oscillations lag 25 years behind the causative solar magnetic fluctuations.

    This 25-year lag is due to ocean thermal inertia in remarkable agreement with the 15-20-year time lag estimated by Abdussamatov et al. 2012). The idea that CO2 is the main climate driver, despite its scarcity in Earth’s atmosphere, ie 400 parts per million, near plant-starvation level, contrasts starkly with CO2’s 1,000 to 4,000 ppm levels for most of the last 600 million years. Earth is now cooling. Global warming ended in 2016: proof that the sun, not CO2, drives Earth’s climate. Moreover, from AD500 to 1200, CO2 levels were anti-correlated with Earth’s temperature.

    “The reality is that man’s industrialization just happened to occur in a period of solar-driven warming, a mere coincidence, causing governments to needlessly spend trillions of taxpayer dollars on CO2-reduction efforts,” says Dr Higgs. See entire paper, with several graphs…….”

Comments are closed.

About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

READ more