An analysis of voter opinions finds that half of Republican voters think climate change is happening, and would support regulating CO2 as a pollutant. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the Republican who heads the House Science Committee, has long been skeptical of global warming. He has accused government climate scientists of doctoring climate data. And called the U.N.'s climate reports, quote, "more political than scientific." All part of what he called the "climate change religion," in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
But those views may be increasingly out of step with what Republican voters actually think. Because a new analysis finds that a majority of Republicans across the country would actually support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
As for the overall consensus on whether climate change is, indeed, a thing? Half of Republican voters think the climate is indeed being transformed…although far fewer think human activity is what’s responsible for the changes. The study is in the journal Climatic Change. [Matto Mildenberger et al., The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales]
Study author Matto Mildenberger of the University of California, Santa Barbara: "I think here the picture that's emerging is that the public has a lot more appetite and would have a lot more tolerance and interest in seeing political officials act in the U.S. than you'd think just listening to some of the debate and rhetoric we hear at the federal level in the United States right now."
But perhaps that rhetoric will start to change—as climate reality makes the politics of denial too hot to handle.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]