Mike Pence shows how out of touch the GOP is on climate change
The GOP’s perspective on the public’s belief in climate change remains rooted in the past
It’s been less than 24 hours since President Donald Trump made the dramatic announcement that he’s pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the administration is already on the defensive.
Appearing on — what else? — Fox & Friends on Friday morning, Vice President Mike Pence bemoaned the fact that climate change is only an issue for the far left and doubled-down on Trump’s asinine "I represent Pittsburg, not Paris" line.
.@VP: "For some reason, this issue of climate change has emerged as a paramount issue for the left – in this country and around the world." pic.twitter.com/1UgRsgVkj1
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 2, 2017
It’s an absurd statement that not only defies reality (just ask Pittsburgh’s mayor) but shows how the GOP remains stuck in a 1990’s mindset that climate change is only something discussed by far-left activists.
First of all, look, the Earth doesn’t care what political party you are. Climate change is real and there’s an overwhelming amount of data to support this.
Second, there’s also plenty of evidence to prove Pence’s partisan assertion is wrong.
While GOP leaders have remained as stubbornly focused on burning down climate change agreements as they were when refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol after it was negotiated in 1997, Republican voters are beginning to change their minds.
For instance, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that a majority of people in every state in the union — even pro-Trump states like Oklahoma and Alabama — support U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement.
Image: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
That’s not to say the anti-climate change messages Trump espoused on Thursday, and pence parried on Friday morning, don’t play well with the ultra-conservative base. A recent Pew study showed that "conservative Republicans" are still very skeptical of climate change research, while "moderate and liberal Republicans" seem more in the middle.
But, as another Yale study notes, while that skepticism remains, that same base is shifting away from this anti-climate change stance at a staggering rate. According to the 2016 study, the number of "conservative Republicans" that believe in global warming increased by 19 percent from 2014 to 2016.
The number of "Liberal or Moderate conservatives" that believe in global warming also increased by double-digits, at 10 percent.
Image: Yale/George Mason University
So, despite Pence’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge it, attitudes are shifting right under his feet.
Meanwhile, mayors and governors across the United States are pledging to follow the Paris Agreement while, on the international front, other world leaders are overwhelmingly in favor of the agreement, from allies like Canada, France, and Germany to antagonists like China.
There’s no left-wing conspiracy among the 194 other countries who are still pledging to honor the Paris Climate Agreement.
Nor among the long list of businesses who have slammed the Trump administration for their decision.
And if none of these numbers convince the Trump administration of the changing attitudes toward climate change, maybe other numbers, like the 5.5 trillion tons of ice lost from Greenland and Antarctica in the past 18 years alone, eventually will.