GOP Stands Alone as the Only Climate Change-Denying Party

Jonathan Chait: “Of all the major conservative parties in the democratic world, the Republican Party stands alone in its denial of the legitimacy of climate science. Indeed, the Republican Party stands alone in its conviction that no national or international response to climate change is needed. To the extent that the party is divided on the issue, the gap separates candidates who openly dismiss climate science as a hoax, and those who, shying away from the political risks of blatant ignorance, instead couch their stance in the alleged impossibility of international action.”

“A new paper by Sondre Båtstrand studies the climate-change positions of electoral manifestos for the conservative parties in nine democracies, and finds the GOP truly stands apart. Opposition to any mitigation of greenhouse-gas emissions, he finds, ‘is only the case with the U.S. Republican Party, and hence not representative of conservative parties as a party family.’”


  1. Because they know it’s real. They just care about their campaign donations more. They drone on about the debt we’ll leave our children, but don’t seem to care about all the drowning in water our children will be doing.

    1. Some elected Republicans know it’s real, for sure.

      But never underestimate the power of self-delusion, particularly when relating to politically and ideologically charged issue. I have no doubt that Jim Inhofe and Louie Gohmert (and many many other Republicans) actually believe what they say.

  2. not representative of conservative parties as a party family

    Those are not the family values they’re looking for 🙂

  3. The author is giving Stephen Harper a bit too much credit. He doesn’t contest the reality of climate change, but he has refused to take any effective action. Canada has actually done much worse than the US in terms of carbon emissions over the last decade.

    1. No, they’re just exceptionally invested in denial–because that’s where the money is. Because we’re still a major producer and consumer of fossil fuels.

      So’s Canada, and Canada’s currently ruling Conservative Party has basically given only lip service, because of shale oil, and the money that comes from it.

      Putin (hardly a western Democratic leader, but technically elected) used to joke that Russians wouldn’t need so many fur coats–now he acknowledges that climate change is real, and that it’s having a disastrous impact on many parts of Russia, but he reserves judgment on whether this is man-made, or just some kind of planetary adjustment that we had nothing to do with. Sound familiar?

      We’re actually making huge progress in terms of renewables, thanks in no small part to Obama. Coal is a dying industry at present. Fracking is a disaster waiting to happen (for people in some rural areas, the disaster has already happened), but it’s become too lucrative to stop.

      It takes more than awareness–it takes people being willing to make sacrifices. European conservatives mainly govern in places where there’s less of an incentive to be a skeptic about global warming. And Europe simply doesn’t have huge fossil fuel reserves anymore, but the Germans just built an enormous coal-burning plant, and the English are still soaking up that North Sea oil, making sure the Scots never get their hands on it in future.

      It’s a human problem. We want free unlimited clean energy, and it does not exist. It may well be that it will never exist. But we still want it.

      So by all means let’s poke fun at the insane rationalizations our conservatives come up with for their unfounded unscientific opinions that are really based on greed. But let’s recognize that they’re really not so different, and that America is actually making as much progress as most other western nations in this area, and more than some, and it’s not enough. It’s just not enough. We have to do more. I don’t give a damn what politicians SAY. I care what gets DONE.

  4. By coincidence (not), the US is also the most religious and anti-intellectual country in the developed world.

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