The Climate Generation Gap

November 19, 2014

climate_gengap2

The once great Republican party has long been completely captive to a rabidly anti-science faction of its base.  There may be some in Washington celebrating the re-ascendance of 80 year old climate denier Jim Inhofe to to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.   More thoughtful heads might counsel, be careful what you wish for.

The stage is set for a demographic earthquake.

Chris Mooney in the Washington Post:

Several commentators have suggested that climate change could become the gay marriage issue of the future for the GOP. In other words, demographic changes within the Republican Party itself and in society in general could leave GOP leaders looking badly out of step with their own constituency and scrambling to switch sides.

Over the past decade, support for gay marriage has grown within the Republican Party, especially as young Republicans grew older and swelled the ranks of the party. Opposition to gay marriage — and the party’s support for a slew of state ballot initiatives banning gay marriage — may have looked mainstream with the Republican Party 10 years ago, but now looks outdated. “The ballot initiative wins masked the rapidly rising tide of gay acceptance fueled by younger generations,” wrote Bill Scher of the Campaign for America’s Future, who likens the issue to climate change.

Will the climate change issue really follow the same course? To test that theory, we looked more closely at the data from a series of global warming questions asked by the Washington Post-ABC News poll back in June. In particular, that poll asked a nationally representative sample of respondents whether they believed the federal government “should or should not limit the release of greenhouse gases from existing power plants in an effort to reduce global warming?”

People overwhelmingly supported this idea of doing so, with 70 percent in favor.
climate_gengap
Support for action to slow climate change (even if it costs something) was also much more widespread among younger voters in the poll. As they become increasingly central to the electorate, the GOP war against the EPA’s climate regulations could look shortsighted.

 

yale_1114poll

 

Yale Project on Climate Change Communication:

Two in three Americans support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal fired plants to reduce global warming and improve public health.
Americans by a two to one margin support (67%) rather than oppose (32 %) the following policy: “Set [ting]
strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal fired power plants to reduce global
warming and improve public health. Power plants would have to reduce their emissions and/or investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase.”

UPDATE:

Anyone wanting to understand even more clearly the problems a hidebound, hard right GOP will face with a new generation, and the electorate at large,  in 2016, should read this, and watch this:

3 Responses to “The Climate Generation Gap”

  1. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Incapable of backing out, they’ll keep digging their hole until it implodes.


  2. The electorate wants to address climate issues. GOP is running for cover. The GOP has a full list of problems potentially splitting the party. The Tea Party wants Solar power for independence. GOP stances on gays, women, and minorities are backfiring. As the demographics change, they cannot just be the party of old white males. Right now they have little to offer. A do nothing, no taxes platform can only take one so far. They have to be for something.


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