Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Pew Research has revealed US climate concern is soaring – but most of the growth in concern has been amongst Democrats.
More Americans see climate change as a priority, but Democrats are much more concerned than Republicans
Climate change has emerged as a key issue in the 2020 Democratic primary season. Candidates are debating how best to address the subject, which many Americans see as a growing national priority. As 14 states and one territory prepare to hold primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday, here’s a look at how Democrats see climate change – and how their views differ from those of Republicans.
1A growing share of Americans say addressing climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress, but most of the change has come among Democrats. Over the past four years, the share of Americans who say dealing with global climate change should be a top priority has increased from 38% to 52%. Among Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party, 78% say climate change should be a top priority, up 22 percentage points since 2016. But among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, there has been no statistically significant increase. Democrats are more than three times as likely as Republicans to say dealing with climate change should be a top priority (78% vs. 21%).
The share of Americans who say global climate change is a major threat to the well-being of the United States has also increased in recent years. But on this question too, the rise in concern has come primarily among Democrats, regardless of ideology. Among both moderate and conservative Republicans there has been no statistically significant change since 2013.
…Read more: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/02/28/more-americans-see-climate-change-as-a-priority-but-democrats-are-much-more-concerned-than-republicans/ft_2020-02-28_climatechange_01/
Other surveys which compare priorities tend to suggest people place a much higher priority on prosperity and safety – politicians who bet everything on climate policy tend to lose badly.
It is puzzling that people who claim to believe the global warming is a serious threat also tend to vehemently oppose nuclear power. A drowning person doesn’t care whether the boat which saves them is a sailboat or a diesel trawler, so you have to wonder why people who believe climate change is a top priority threat to the world think opposing the only scalable zero carbon energy source which has strong support from Republicans is a higher priority.
If Democrats decided overnight to switch to supporting nuclear power, a bipartisan bill for massive government sponsored expansion of the USA’s nuclear fleet, like the 1970s French nuclear expansion, would sail through all levels of the US government.
The French nuclear experiment delivered – France still has one of the lowest carbon footprints per capita in the industrialised world, 5.0 tons per capita per annum, vs the USA’s 17.75 tons per capita (2016 figures), mostly due to France’s overwhelming reliance on affordable, zero carbon nuclear power.
Perhaps Democrats who answer Pew surveys care more about defeating Republicans than they care about CO2 emissions.