Turns Out That Young Republicans Know What’s Up With Climate Change

Republicans are generally portrayed as climate change deniers, but that label might be less accurate than youíd expect. A new scientific poll by YouGov demonstrates that there is a vast generational divide when it comes to environmental issues. Specifically, Republicans under the age of 45 are far more likely to believe that climate change is not only real, but also the consequence of humansí pollution.

Thatís right, thereís hope for the younger conservatives yet. While only 23 percent of Republicans who are 45 or older agree that climate change is the fault of humans, nearly twice as many younger Republicans Ė a sizable 41 percent – take the more traditionally liberal perspective on this issue. Meanwhile, 33 percent of younger Republicans acknowledge that climate change is real, but do not attribute the shifting temperatures to human activity.

This age differential makes sense in context, too. 72 percent of people, regardless of political affiliation, under the age of 30 believe that climate change is both real and due to human influence. No other age group can compare. It goes to show that despite the ongoing misinformation campaigns about climate change, Americaís under-30 crowd isnít buying the corporate rhetoric.

The climate age difference could parallel each generationís approach to technology. While the younger Americans flock to technological advancements, many of the older ones are hesitant to accept new devices into their own lives. Older Republicans have gone their whole lives not thinking about the consequences of climate change, and now theyíre possibly too stuck in their ways to change how they do things; deciding not to believe in climate change makes it easier for them to not act.

At some level, the older Republicans also probably understand that if climate change is real, they might not be around to see the worst of the effects down the line. Since younger generations wonít have that same luxury, theyíre more apt to acknowledge the problem.

To counter that point, however, the age gap in climate change beliefs is not significant amongst liberals at all. 75 percent of Democrats 45 and over agree climate change is a human creation, compared to 78 percent of Democrats below 45 who believe the same thing. If older Democrats can see the threat in front of them, whatís the excuse for senior conservatives?

Interestingly, when it comes to Republicans who say the climate isnít changing at all, the percentage (14 percent) is the same for both the over and under 45 crowd. Apparently, willful ignorance knows no age. Only 4 percent†of Democrats think climate change is made up altogether.

While itís encouraging to see polling data that shows younger Republicans breaking ranks with their elder climate deniers, itís unfortunate that many Republican legislators who can influence environmental policy are on the older side. With time running out for the planet, thereís not enough time to wait for the older Republicans to die out. If climate change is an issue that matters to younger Republicans, itís going to be up to them to either pressure the old guard into taking action or start running for office themselves.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

105 comments

Tom M.
Tom M1 years ago

I resent the author describing describing that global warming is a "liberal position." That's falling into the trap of making it a political issue. I remind people all the time in private discussion that it's about what the science tells us, not a matter of what political party one belongs to. I get that generally "liberals" acknowledge the reality of global warming and that "conservatives" do not. But that's the problem.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Michele Rosenbaum
m r1 years ago

thank you for sharing

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago

I don't believe there is any such thing as "climate change" or "global warming" or whatever it's being called right now. I live conservatively because it's being a good steward of the world God gave us.

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Angela Roquemore
Angela Roquemore1 years ago

Too bad we can't turn the Rethug elders into fossil fuels themselves!

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Jennifer Manzi
Jennifer Manzi1 years ago

Gee took long enough

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Marie W.
Marie W1 years ago

Exxon mobile knew 10 or more years ago this was happening.

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Grace Adams
Grace Adams1 years ago

Maybe it will be possible to negotiate a deal with too big to fail fossil fuel firms that they will allow government to tax emissions provided all the revenue is used to buy their fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights to keep it in the ground.
Maybe a little later, they will also agree to a tax on all energy regardless of carbon footprint, provided that 90% of the revenue from that tax is used to buy their fossil fuel reserves and remaining 10% is used for water projects: flood control and desalination of seawater with profits from the water projects to be given to those too big to fail fossil fuel firms.

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Grace Adams
Grace Adams1 years ago

CEO of Exxon-Mobil does NOT deny that climate change exists or even that it is a problem. He just expects that technological improvement will solve the problem so our too big to fail fossil fuel firms will not have to sacrifice any of their profits.

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Mike Kelly
Mike Kelly1 years ago

Dan Blossfeld (AKA Marvin the Martian) "Yes. The GOP has become split between the Tea Partiers and the old guard. The old guard is basically the same."

Who are you trying to bullsh*t, Marvin? The republican "old guard" is sold out to the billionaires and you damn well know it. The once proud party of my Father and Mother now courts and panders bigots, racists, supremacists, and religious radicals to get elected, because no one else can be fooled into vote for them, over and over and over again. The true mission of the republican party is, of course, to steal the money. The minute the Supreme Court anointed George W. Bush into office the republicans, 100% of them, voted to rip off the Social Security Trust Fund .......... TWICE! No mention of the great heist scheme was made while they ran for office. While they were running they spoke only of forcing motherhood upon women against their will, even in situations involving rape or incest. When it comes time to vote they all line up in lock step to carry out the wishes of the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson. We all hear what they say on the campaign trail, and we all see what they do the minute they are elected. Every knows it except, perhaps, self-deluded Martians such as yourself.

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