For most of the last ~10 years, the Republican party has actively denied that climate change is real and has made fun of people and politicians who take climate change seriously. This is despite ~97% of the world’s climate scientists saying that climate change is a very real and critical issue.
The Republican Viewpoint from ~2006-2018
This video from Vox is a fantastic breakdown of the timeline of events from 2006-2018 that has led to the current political stalemate on climate change.
What’s most interesting about this video is how many Republican senators and leaders switched sides and became climate deniers once Obama took office and made climate change a priority.
Pre-Obama, Republicans had declared climate change a major priority. But that all changed in the late 2000s.
The Recent Change (Since ~2019) in the Republican Party
The good news is that it seems like since this video was made in 2018, many prominent Republicans (not including Trump) have switched sides and now believe that climate change is real.
This is likely a reflection of the fact that 70% of Republicans under 45 believe in man-made climate change and that GOP strategists are sounding the alarm that climate change is “a GOP vulnerability.”
Some of these prominent Republicans include Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Matt Gaetz, and Lindsey Graham. The next big step is getting Republicans not just to acknowledge that climate change is real, but to take major action on this key issue.
Extrapolating To The Future
The biggest hurdle is moving past the Trump era where climate denial and supporting the fossil fuel industry is in full force. The good news is that because young Republicans are strong believers in the science, the party’s politicians will be forced to adapt or risk losing a significant voter base to the Democratic party.
Based upon this recent shift, it seems that in the next 5-10 years, the political conversation will shift from “is climate change real?” to “what’s the best way to deal with climate change?”
How fast this shift happens will heavily depends on whether Biden or Trump wins this election. Here’s to hoping that the conversation shifts as soon as possible to free-market vs. government oversight instead of “do climate scientists actually understand climate science?”