My pal Tina Beattie and I talk a lot about what it means to be a Republican who is deeply concerned about climate change. Tina is a founding member of the Moms Clean Air Force’s Leadership Circle, and also the Chair of ConservAmerica; the president, Rob Sisson, is also a member of our leadership circle.
Nothing makes Tina crosser than to be labeled a RINO–a Republican in Name Only — just because she is an environmentalist. She is proud of the long tradition of conservation, stewardship and protection of our land, air and water, that were once the pride of the Republican party. She wants that commitment back. And, as a recent poll shows, it turns out so do many Republicans.
Tina is a mom who is raising her family in Arizona, but she and her husband have roots in Rhode Island, the Ocean State — and a love for a place that I share with her. It is painful to think that if we don’t slow down global warming, Rhode Island will one day be the Under the Ocean State; since 1993, the rate of sea level rise has increased over three times. That’s only one of a million things that concerns Tina about climate change. She has been suffering through the intense new heat waves in Arizona, and has been dumbfounded by the clouds of dust that envelop her city (view Arizona dust cloud photos here). Climate change is not causing heat and haboobs, but it is intensifying them: our weather is on steroids.
Recent remarks from President Obama go even further to highlight his commitment to a bipartisan approach on climate change:
Look, my intention here is to try to get as much done with the Republican Party over the next two years as I can, because we can’t have perpetual campaigns. And so I mean what I say. I am looking to find areas of common ground with Republicans every single day.” ~ Pres. Obama
Highlights from the report contain topline results from a national survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents:
- A majority of respondents (52%) believe climate change is happening, while 26 percent believe it is not, and 22 percent say they “don’t know.”
- A large majority (77%) says the United States should use more renewable energy sources (solar, wind & geothermal) in the future. Among those who support expanded use of renewable energy, nearly 7 out of 10 think the U.S. should increase the use of renewable energy “immediately”.
- 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%), saving resources for our children and grandchildren (57%), and providing a better life for our children and grandchildren (56%) outweigh the costs, such as more government regulation (42%) or higher energy prices (31%).
- By a margin of 2 to 1, respondents say America should take action to reduce our 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.
Please read the full report — it indicates very strongly that we can fight climate change — without fighting each other, politically.
What does our nation have in store if it doesn’t address climate disruption? The US Global Change Research Program has released a draft of the Third National Climate Assessment, which provides concrete regional and national information about what we can expect if we don’t act now. Written by 240 contributing scientists, and the result of a collaboration among 13 federal agencies, the draft Assessment is now open for public comment.
We need the will to focus, and the wherewithal to try any and every solution at hand. The problem is urgent. On that, Republicans and Democrats can agree.