The Great Political Divide on Global Warming

The National Journal asked 113 members of Congress, “Do you think it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made problems?” 95 percent of the Democrats polled replied “Yes” and a mere 13 percent of Republicans did.

The percentages are down from the last poll, but fortunately these sad numbers only reflect 113 of the over 500 men and women of Congress.

A second detail to note is that many of the comments left do not entirely refute anthropogenic warming. One Republican “No” added that “Not beyond a reasonable doubt, but all scientific studies are leaning that way”; another that “The key phrase is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’; and yet another that “There is a possibility that man’s activity, while certainly part of the problem, is not the sole reason for global warming.” The statements indicate that the wording of the question too strictly and therefore wrongly classifies policymakers.

A second question posed to participants asked, “Which of these actions to reduce global warmign could you possibly support?” The clear winner was Increased Spending on Alternative Fuels, as it received the okay from 95 percent of the Democrats and 71 percent of the Republicans. No other policy option, including mandatory emissions limits and a carbon tax, received the same bi-partisan support.

An observation to emerge from this question also underscores how the political parties tend to differ on the next steps. 90 percent of the Republicans polled favor more reliance on nuclear energy, while only 58 percent of the Demoracts do. Conversely, 45 percent of the Republicans favor higher CAFE standards but 90 percent of Democrats do.

We know global climate change is a fact and so with that in mind, and Democrats in Congress, let’s see some higher CAFE standards.