Opinion Brief

The Tea Party vs. global warming

Among Tea Party supporters, fewer people believe that climate change is a problem today than believe Obama is a Muslim. What does that mean?

You'll rarely see Tea Partiers waving placards about it, but skepticism about climate change is as fundamental to their philosophy as small government and low taxation. A New York Times/CBS News poll suggests only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters consider global warming a serious problem right now — compared to 49 percent of the rest of the public. What does it mean that Tea Partiers reject the scientific community's effective consensus that the climate is warming and human greenhouse gas emissions are substantively to blame?

This is a disturbing problem: "It shouldn't come as a surprise that Tea Party supporters are more dubious about global warming than the rest of the American public," says Randy Rieland at Grist. But 14 percent is an alarmingly low figure. That means "more Tea Party boosters" believe the president is a Muslim than believe in climate change, despite the wealth of scientific evidence to support it.
"One out of seven Tea Partiers see global warming as problem"

Actually, Tea Partiers are the ones who "get it": The Times poll and subsequent story are typical of "establishment" efforts to "marginalize Tea Party activists," says Christopher C. Horner at Big Government. In the story, the science of global warming is referred to as "indisputable" — "except that it is highly disputed, so it must be disputable." Tea Party supporters are simply savvy enough not to swallow "preening advocacy shrouded in the aura of objectivity."
"On climate change, most Tea Partiers get it"

This is probably just about demographics: This position may not be "sustainable," says Andrew Restuccia at the Washington Independent. Tea Party supporters are mostly aged 45 and over, and polls show young people mostly favor "putting limits on the country's greenhouse gas emissions." Chances are, "as young people take on leadership roles," we'll see the GOP's "position on climate change... change."
"On young people and climate change skepticism"

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