Republicans are nowhere near as ignorant about climate change as their commander and chief. Donald Trump’s anti-science climate denial is at odds with the majority of Americans including Republican registered voters. According to a recent poll people in the party that elected Trump are slowly inching their way towards a science-based understanding of global warming with solid majorities indicating their support for climate action.
The latest national survey conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication suggests that the views of Republican registered voters are evolving. Since last Fall, more Republicans are conceding that climate change is real and caused by human activities. What is even more surprising is the fact that they have increased their support for climate action. This is in stark contrast to the Trump administration which has systematically eradicated science-based climate policies.
Climate and CO2
The Yale poll found that there has been a 9 percent increase in Republicans who accept the anthropogenic origins of global warming since last Fall and a 5 percent increase in Republicans worried about climate change. Perhaps the most surprising result is the fact that compared to last Fall 9 percent more Republicans support strict carbon dioxide limits on existing coal-fired power plants. This is particularly interesting in light of the Trump administration’s efforts to kill all vestiges of climate action including the Obama era Clean Power Plan. Like his boss EPA chief Scott Pruitt has infamously lied to support of his efforts to kill the plan
Although Pruitt has demonstrated that he is intent on enfeebling the EPA, 69 percent of Republicans, representing an increase on 8 points since last Fall, support regulating CO2 as a pollutant. In total 81 percent of Americans support this idea including 91 percent of Democrats and 80
percent of Independent.
The Yale poll shows that 79 percent of Republicans support more funding for renewable energy research. This idea has the support of 87 percent of Americans, including 94 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of Independents. A solid majority of Republicans (81 percent) support generating renewable energy on public lands. This idea is supported by 86 percent of Americans polled, including 91 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Independents.
A strong majority of Republicans support solar energy. When asked if the US should use more solar energy 75 percent of Republicans agreed. In total 80 percent of Americans share this view including 84 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Independent.
Wind energy is also supported by Republicans with 62 percent of Republicans indicating their support. In total 73 percent of Americans support wind energy including 82 percent of Democrats and 75
percent of Independents. Republican support for levying a revenue-neutral carbon tax against fossil fuel companies increased by 7 percent.
There has been a 6 percent increase in the number of Republicans who support tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels. A total of 85 percent of Americans support this idea including 77 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Independents and 91 percent of Democrats.
Trump campaigned on the promise to increase fossil fuel extraction in the US, however, only 18 percent of Republicans think that the US should use more coal and 16 percent think the US should use more oil. A total of 12 percent of Americans think the US should use more coal including 6 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Independents. Only 11 percent of Americans think the US should use more oil including 7 percent of Democrats, and 16 percent of Independents.
These are especially surprising results given that Trump’s policy positions indicate that he dislikes renewable energy and loves fossil fuels.