Republicans Waking too Little, Too Late, too Clueless on Climate

July 19, 2019

Voters are more concerned than ever about climate and environment – and for them, the Democrats are the only game in town.

Republicans are finding that conscience, like a muscle, can atrophy from disuse.
The course for the climate-concerned is clear.


Move over California and Massachusetts, New York has emerged as a national leader in battling climate change.

With the Trump administration shelving Obama-era climate plans and embracing the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, efforts to cut carbon emissions are now pushed almost entirely at the state level, especially in statehouses controlled by Democrats. And while Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long touted his green credentials, the 2018 election put Albany under full Democratic control for only the second time since the 1930s. The power shift has pulled the Empire state to the left on a range of policy areas — including climate change.

“Cries for a new green movement are hollow political rhetoric if not combined with specific aggressive goals and a realistic plan on how to achieve them,” Cuomo said at the signing of the measure at Fordham Law School in Manhattan. “And that is much easier said than done — but that, my friends, is the challenge for our great state of New York. To lead not just with rhetoric but with results.”

The win has advocates optimistic about what more liberal Democrats can achieve on climate when they gain power.

The New York law “is the most ambitious piece of climate legislation we’ve seen thus far — in terms of its ambitious goals, its sweep, the economywide nature of it and the equity and environmental justice goals,” said Natural Resources Defense Council’s Kit Kennedy. “It reflects the moment where we are in climate politics where grassroots, environmental justice groups, youths are increasingly demanding bold climate action and will hopefully push the agenda forward at the federal level.”

Financial Times:(paywall)

Some Republicans are quietly shifting tack on climate change. Investors and executives ignore this at their peril, since there are at least four reasons why this quiet(ish) shift might affect policy — even in the White House. One factor is the polls. Frank Luntz, the influential conservative strategist, recently conducted a survey that showed 58 per cent of Republican voters under the age of 40 are increasingly fearful about climate risks.

This — strikingly — is similar to the share of voters at large. More notable still, 69 per cent think the party will alienate younger voters with its climate stance. “Trump has a big problem here,” says Ted Halstead, head of the Climate Leadership Council, a lobby group that funded the poll. Extreme weather events such as floods along the Mississippi are fuelling this shift.

A second issue is the influence of business.
Mr Trump’s stance on climate change has hitherto been influenced by oil and gas companies. But executives from other sectors, including real estate (where climate change has an immediate impact on values) are now lobbying on the issue as well. “I told Donald a couple of weeks ago this has to change — he has to do something about climate!” the head of one of the largest property companies in the world told me.

New York Times:

WASHINGTON — When John Barrasso, a Republican from oil and uranium-rich Wyoming who has spent years blocking climate change legislation, introduced a bill this year to promote nuclear energy, he added a twist: a desire to tackle global warming.

Mr. Barrasso’s remarks — “If we are serious about climate change, we must be serious about expanding our use of nuclear energy” — were hardly a clarion call to action. Still they were highly unusual for the lawmaker who, despite decades of support for nuclear power and other policies that would reduce planet-warming emissions, has until recently avoided talking about them in the context of climate change.

The comments represent an important shift among Republicans in Congress. Driven by polls showing that voters in both parties — particularly younger Americans — are increasingly concerned about a warming planet, and prodded by the new Democratic majority in the House shining a spotlight on the issue, a growing number of Republicans are now openly discussing climate change and proposing what they call conservative solutions.

“Denying the basic existence of climate change is no longer a credible position,” said Whit Ayers, a Republican political consultant, pointing out the growing climate concern among millennials as well as centrist voters — two groups the G.O.P. will need in the future.

The Hill:

Republicans on Wednesday launched an environment-minded conservation caucus aimed at battling the perception that their party doesn’t care about climate change.

Dubbed the Republican Roosevelt Conservation Caucus after National Park Service founder President Teddy Roosevelt, the bicameral group lists public land access, water quality and ocean pollution among its priorities.

“From a Republican point of view, I think we need to showcase that we care about conservation, we care about the environment, and we have innovative solutions that are not top-down regulatory solutions,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters.

But critics have long said the Republican Party has done little to forward its own ideas on how to respond to the climate crisis under the leadership of a president who has mocked global warming.

Republicans, alongside Democrats, have introduced a number of bills this year that would fund research and development for battery storage, carbon capture technology and other energy needs.

But the caucus members on Wednesday stressed that traditional energy sources like coal, oil and gas would remain a part of the mix.

8 Responses to “Republicans Waking too Little, Too Late, too Clueless on Climate”

  1. doldrom Says:

    When politicians change their “views” you never know whether they actually believed their former or their present view, or whether they even know themselves the difference between a personal conviction and fitting on politically convenient talking points and rhetoric.

  2. jimbills Says:

    Lindsey Graham is a case study on this, as he’s made some news recently:

    Here’s a rough review of his record:

    In 2015, he said, “I believe climate change is real, but I reject the cap and trade solution of Al Gore. He’s made a religion. It’s a problem.

    I would like to clean up the air and water, become more energy independence, create jobs. I’m for offshore drilling. I’m for finding oil and gas that we own. I’m for coal, I’m for clean coal, I’m for natural gas but I would like a lower carbon economy over time. Clean up the air and create jobs in the process.”

    He’s basically a ‘keep all fossil fuels for now, don’t regulate them, and protect the environment’ sort of climate warrior.

    He says he’s for innovation solving the issue. Both Biden and Warren at the least have research funding being a major part of their environmental platforms. Trump is the opposite. And next year, now doubt, we’ll see Graham being Trump’s lap dog on the campaign trail.

  3. rsmurf Says:

    Never trust a republican!

  4. This is a tremendous opportunity for Democrats.

    Bernie Sanders tapped into this in 2016 and broke a logjam on the Democratic side, and it served him really well politically. The consequences of that are very clear today.

    We have a problem, one recognized by a very healthy majority of Americans, including most moderates and many conservatives. The clock is running out on Republican denial and avoidance. It’s a classic failure of leadership. I hope Democratic candidates in 2020 will vigorously use this issue for flipping senate seats and the presidency.

  5. patricklinsley Says:

    John Barrasso’s only (and I mean ONLY) reason for supporting nuclear power is because Wyoming is trying to open nuclear waste dump sites to create a new long term revenue source to replace the states coal mines.

  6. Derek Hernandez Fuentes Luna Says:

    Or really? NASA Democrats assert that Mars doesn’t have water 40 years ago, now say there is water.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      We have always known there was water on Mars, locked into the polar caps with frozen CO2.

      Got a reference for your “no water 40 years ago”?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: