Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Enviros Assert GOP Senate Takeover Wouldn't Yield Changes in Climate Policies, Voter Attitudes

GOP Senators (Credit: fivethirtyeight.com) Click to enlarge.
In a memo published last week the National Republican Senatorial Committee boasted it could pick off as many as 15 Democratic seats this cycle.

In addition to states the GOP has named as top targets in its efforts to grab the six seats it needs for a Senate majority next year -- Louisiana, Arkansas and Alaska -- Republicans suggested they might win battlegrounds like North Carolina and Colorado, as well as relatively safe Democratic seats like New Mexico and Minnesota.

But while the Republican nominees in many of those states can be categorized as climate science skeptics -- North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis has called global warming "false science" -- Daniel Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said environmentalists aren't bracing for a significant shift on Capitol Hill.

"A majority of congressional Republicans are already on record as climate science deniers," Weiss told E&E Daily.  "If the Senate were to have Republican leadership, and the leadership remains the same, its top two leaders are climate science deniers, Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [Ky.] and Sen. [John] Cornyn [Texas].  Adding a lot more climate science deniers to the Senate will only increase their alienation from Americans on this topic beyond what it is today."

Weiss pointed to a Bloomberg News National Poll conducted June 6-9 that showed a majority of voters view climate change as a threat.  Among the 1,005 adults polled, 46 percent said global warming constitutes a "major threat," 27 percent said it is a "minor threat," and 24 percent said it is "no real threat".

The survey, which had a 3.1-point margin of error, also found Americans to be more likely to back a candidate who supports government action to address climate change.  Fifty-one percent of those polled said they would be more likely to support such a candidate, while 26 percent said they would be less likely to do so and 19 percent said the topic did not play a role in how they vote.

"The really important number for climate science deniers that they need to have is 67, which is enough climate science deniers to override a presidential veto," Weiss said.  "If there are 53 Republicans climate science deniers or 58, it won't have much impact on what they actually do."

Enviros Assert GOP Senate Takeover Wouldn't Yield Changes in Climate Policies, Voter Attitudes

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