By Olivia Salzwedel, Alliance Intern from University of Minnesota Morris ’22
The climate crisis brought devastating impacts in July, which NOAA says was the planet’s hottest ever. However, 33% of Republicans feel there is no climate threat at all and 33% think it’s just a minor threat. Only 28% of Republicans agree with the 56% of Americans that it’s a major threat, according to PBS NewsHour. It’s even worse with federally elected Republicans, and most Republican Presidential candidates are climate deniers, such as Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis (it’s “exaggerated left wing talking points”) and Vivek Ramaswamy (“the climate agenda is a lie”).
While Republican voter attitudes on climate affect many elected Republicans, another factor is US fossil fuel company funding. According to Open Secrets, the Republican party’s 2024 campaign has received over $80 million in donations from the top 20 US oil, coal and gas companies in just two years. The Republicans’ climate strategy “address[es] the emissions from fossil fuels without reducing the fossil fuels themselves,” according to PBS. The plan assures no reduction in fossil fuel production, ensuring that fossil fuel donors will continue to finance GOP campaigns.
Republican refusal to address the climate crisis and continuation of opposition to meaningful legislation and funding will wreak increasing devastation for our country and world. The only way to reduce global warming is to switch to renewable energy and eliminate the burning of fossil fuels. The Republicans’ reluctance to agree highlights their belief that Earth’s global warming can be reduced but not at the expense of capitalism because according to Vivek Ramaswamy, “Fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity.”