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What is the Republicans' Position on Global Warming?
Blog...What is the Republicans' Position on Global Warming?

What is the Republicans' Position on Global Warming?

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How do Republicans view global warming, what kind of policies do Republicans implement to fight climate change, and how do they approach the creation and passing of legislation with the concept of climate change in mind?
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Republicans have an infamous reputation amongst most of those residing in the blue party for “ruining” the United States’s chances at better environmental regulations or even receiving backlash over repealing certain pieces of climate legislation that could have improved the current situation regarding climate change and air pollution.

👉 How do Republicans view global warming, what kind of climate change policies do they create, and how do they approach the creation and passing of legislation with the concept of climate change in mind?

What are Republicans?

While there are several small parties that people can run for government positions in, there are two main parties in the U.S. government – Republicans and Democrats.

👉 Did you know? The first elected president from the Republican party was Abraham Lincoln (known for being shot by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.) in 1861.

Republicans, also referred to as GOP or “Grand Old Party”, is the major party known for prioritizing reduced taxes in order to stimulate the economy and encourage more economic growth – while also supporting conservative social policies such as stricter border control, preventing immigration, and being pro-life. In addition to this, Republicans are known to be against government-funded social programs and affirmative action. In other words, Republicans do not strive to extend their hand to those who are struggling, and do not seek to tax the wealthy as a means to balance the economic situation in the country. Republicans are also supportive of high security standards in terms of foreign policies, as many Republicans will not be in favor of easy immigration into the United States.

A good rule of thumb for Republicans is to view their choices and policies as traditional and abiding by old texts, for instance – as many Republicans’ are Christian, with a whopping 82% of Republicans having identified as Christian in 2014. 

Ultimately, Republicans are known for sticking to their traditional values – but it sometimes can prove unproductive in changing times, especially seeing as climate change has become a new predicament that becomes more threatening with each year that passes.

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How do Republicans approach climate change?

One of the biggest values amongst Republicans is to create economic freedom, and Republicans do so by priding on one of the most predominant American values – independence and individuality for all. In other words, Republicans are not into socialist approaches that seek to provide health insurance or other forms of insurance at low-costs for Americans.

Due to Republicans’ value on finances, many Republicans have dismissed the concept of climate change in its entirety – citing that science is not an explicit source or explanation for the rising global temperatures around the world. Ironically, the IPCC has released in its most recent report that the primary reason due to the increase in global temperatures is in fact due to increased human activity.

Most Republicans have publicly stated their disbelief that climate change is not caused by man-made activities, and that climate change is more of a natural occurrence than a cause-and-effect situation.

Therefore, given this mindset amongst Republicans regarding climate change and rising global temperatures – many Republicans have viewed climate change as something not needed to worry about how to take governmental action to improve. In other words, many Republicans have viewed climate change as a “season” and that it is likely to “naturally” turn around at any minute.

For instance, Senator Jim Inhofe went outside prior to a political meeting in 2015 to make a snowball and put it in a plastic bag to take inside before demonstrating to the chair how the extensive snow outside proves that it is still “very cold” outside and that the climate has not changed. Ironically, the U.S. has experienced massive snowstorms this past winter too – with some science indeed having pointed out that climate change might have contributed to the storm due to cold air being pushed out of the Arctic circle as a result of global warming. 

However, in more recent years – Republicans have begun to acknowledge the existence of climate change, but still do not view it as a priority in the way they do economic endeavors.

Many of the support for climate change reform amongst Republicans comes from younger generations who identify with the political party. As of 2021, 58% of Republicans still don’t view climate change as a priority – and 44% of Republicans still believed that climate scientists have placed too much emphasis and influence on climate policy debates. However, 42% of Republicans said they believed that “some” of climate change was due to human activity – demonstrating their willingness to develop policies even if isn’t a priority amongst Republicans.

In fact, as of 2023 according to the New York Times – a whopping 70% of Republicans view climate change as a minor threat.

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What are some examples of Republicans’ perspective on climate change through real-life examples?

Republicans haven’t been shy to express their dismay regarding recently appealed rules and climate change legislation that has been passed, with two popular examples being the repeal of the roadless rule in the Tongass National Forest and the ConocoPhillips' Willow Project.

The Roadless Rule for the Tongass National Forest was meant to safeguard old trees throughout the forest, seeing as they can aid in reducing emissions by absorbing carbon dioxide and as urbanization or construction development in the area could impact the biodiversity in the forest’s surrounding areas. As Republicans are the dominant political party in Alaska, much of the state and its fellow Republicans expressed their dismay regarding the decision to prioritize protecting the Tongass National forest over building the area up for tourism purposes that could’ve helped to stimulate Alaska’s economy through the creation of new jobs such as in hospitality or becoming a local tour guide. This is a perfect example of Republicans in how their value on the economy always precedes the concern over climate change. 

Republicans were also generally supportive of the ConocoPhillips' Willow Project, despite the fact it would compromise road access and require oil drilling – as it would help to boost the country’s economy.

The predicament with the repeal of the Roadless Rule for the Tongass National Forest is similar to the controversies associated with the ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project – both could boost the state’s economy at the expense of the environment. This serves as another example of how Republicans will value a project’s economic value over its impact on the environment.
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How can Republicans' position on climate change be bad for the environment?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve the economy of the United States, especially in the midst of inflation and following the Covid-19 pandemic – but the problem with Republicans’ position on global warming is that economic activities will often take the driver’s seat over protecting the environment or Americans themselves from the effects of climate change. 

A great example of this is with the new G.O.P. energy bill example, which many Republicans refer to as the Lower Energy Costs Act. The G.O.P. energy bill was voted on by Republicans who worked with the House of Republicans to create an energy bill approved that would facilitate the use of domestic oil and the production of gas, and allow for hydraulic fracturing to occur without being banned by the White House. While the G.O.P. energy bill is meant to help support clean energy projects, it will also put areas in harm by allowing for hydraulic fracturing – which in itself is bad for global warming. 

The potential side effects wouldn't stop there. Currently, it is presumable that the next Republican president would be likely to deter plans for a $400 billion dollar investment with the Department of Energy office to deploy new green technologies. This would make distributing and encouraging the use of solar, wind, and other renewable sources of energy much more difficult.

Republicans have advocated for this new G.O.P energy bill has it will help prevent future economic opportunities from slipping away, but Democrats have had the opposite reaction to it – fearing that these future oil drilling projects that will occur in the future without needing to be approved by other governmental authorities will have an impact on rising temperatures and global warming.

It is true that Republicans, while more focused on the economy, some Republicans (mostly younger Republicans) have become more cognizant of the climate change predicament – but is there a way for Republicans to ensure the economy is thriving while also protecting the environment from the effects of global warming?

In what ways should Republicans’ seek to improve their position on climate change?

Many Republicans still do not put an emphasis in creating climate legislation that is solely garnered towards environmental improvement, due to their long-standing value in improving the country’s economy. However, if more Republicans realized that addressing climate change would also help to stimulate the economy – it could be a win-win situation both for Democrats who want stronger climate change reform and for Republicans who want to improve the economic circumstances in the United States.

👉 Often times, we have to do things we may not love at first sight in order to achieve our end goal: and while many Republicans may view implementing climate change policies as counterintuitive to their end goals – it could prove more efficacious in the long-run for both Democrats and Republicans. 

There are a few ideas for Republicans to have the best of both worlds. For example, many Republicans are in favor of planting trees to help absorb carbon dioxide emissions, and while this wouldn’t deter the future emissions to be created – it’s still a start and would act as a natural carbon capture and storage system. Another climate change policy many Republicans agree on is to provide a tax credit for businesses to help them finance greater carbon reduction technologies, such as an actual carbon capture and storage system itself. Both of these ideas for climate legislation have already been supported by other Republicans.

However, Republicans still lack the desire to reduce the root sources of excess emissions that are driving climate change: such as placing more stringent restrictions on power plants, taxing businesses that produce excess emissions, or striving to implement the use of clean energy or developing more energy efficient modes of transportation.

Republicans ultimately value the economy over climate change, but the truth is that seeking to improve climate situation might be the most productive way to establish long-term economic success in the country.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about the Republicans’ position on global warming has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

There are several pieces of legislation that Republicans and Democrats have disagreed on when it comes to environmental policies. Check out our legislation tracker here to see which rules your company has to adhere to.

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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