Reality of climate change sinks in across party lines, say researchers

Intro

The tides have shifted among conservative voters, as new research suggests that half of Republicans heading to the polls this year believe that global warming is a threat. The survey, issued by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities, noted that twice as many conservatives believe that climate change is real compared to two years ago, highlighting a major leap in public opinion. As the urgency of a changing climate becomes increasingly prevalent, more and more people are taking a part in finding solutions through jobs and lifestyle changes. It’s now up to leaders to show their citizens that they are paying attention, and putting the concerns of communities – especially those at the forefront of climate impacts – at the heart of their political agendas.

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Key Points

 

  • Climate change is a non-partisan issue. Last March, Florida mayors from across party lines called for debate moderators to step in and address climate change during the televised Republican debate. In vulnerable places like Florida, which faces the highest risk of flooding in the country, people realize that their communities are at the forefront of the climate crisis, regardless of their political allegiances.
  • People want governments to do their part in solving the climate crisis. Although there are still divides over people’s perceptions of climate science across party lines, this fundamental change in opinion shows climate action is increasingly mainstream. According to this poll, most people are in favour of climate-friendly policies, including increased funding for renewables, reducing CO2 emissions, and tax programs such as rebates on energy efficiency, or a carbon tax.

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  • “I think if these trends continue, Republicans will find themselves out of step with voters who believe climate change is real […] I think Republicans should be trying to find areas of agreement with pro-environmental voters and seek to emphasize those areas rather than focus on the different views about whether or not climate change is real or the role mankind plays or doesn’t play in it.” – Sen. Lindsey (R – S.C.)
  • “From rising sea levels to ocean acidification, it is evident that South Florida is at the frontline of climate change […] We need to prepare for sea level rise and advocate for clean energy solutions that can compete in a free market.” – Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R – Fla.)

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