Republicans get serious about climate change

Posted by Thomas Anderson

In a recent survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents conducted by the Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) at George Mason University, a majority of respondents (62 percent) said they feel America should take steps to address climate change.

Indeed, more than three out of four survey respondents (77 percent) said the United States should use more renewable energy sources, and of those, most believe that this change should begin immediately.

The national survey, conducted in January 2013, queried more than 700 people who self-identified as Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents about energy and climate change.

"Over the past few years, our surveys have shown that a growing number of Republicans want to see Congress do more to address climate change," said Mason professor Edward Maibach, director of 4C.

"In this survey, we asked a broader set of questions to see if we could better understand how Republicans, and Independents who have a tendency to vote Republican, think about America’s energy and climate change situation."

Additional key survey highlights include:

  • Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents prefer clean energy as the basis of America’s energy future and say the benefits of clean energy, such as energy independence (66 percent) saving resources for our children and grandchildren (57 percent), and providing a better life for our children and grandchildren (56 percent) outweigh the costs, such as more government regulation (42 percent) or higher energy prices (31 percent).
  • By a margin of 2 to 1, respondents say America should take action to reduce its fossil fuel use.
  • Only one third of respondents agree with the Republican Party’s position on climate change, while about half agree with the party’s position on how to meet America’s energy needs.
  • A large majority of respondents say their elected representatives are unresponsive to their views about climate change.

"The findings from this survey suggest there is considerable support among conservatives for accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean renewable forms of energy, and for taking steps to address climate change.

"Perhaps the most surprising finding, however, is how few of our survey respondents agreed with the Republican Party’s current position on climate change," added Maibach.