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The GOP debate barely touched climate, but voters want more to be done

The U.S. electorate wants the government to do more to combat climate change. GOP candidates barely mentioned it at the first debate on Wednesday.
The GOP debate barely touched climate, but voters want more to be done
Posted at 4:50 PM, Aug 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-24 18:50:54-04

At the first Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, only one candidate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, said that climate change was real. And not one candidate said they believed human activity was causing climate change.

"The climate change agenda is a hoax,” candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said at the debate on Wednesday. “The reality is more people are dying of climate change policies than they actually are of climate change."

Some within the Republican party have taken steps to acknowledge and even mitigate some impacts of climate change. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, called for the planting of one trillion trees. 

But Republican leadership — and aspiring Republican leadership — still resist endorsing government action to tackle climate risks. 

Polling shows the U.S. electorate, and particularly younger people, want more to be done.

Sixty-two percent of people in the U.S. say the federal government isn't doing enough to reduce climate change, according to a poll last year from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Among Republicans, there is a distinct age divide. Younger republicans are more likely to hold this view than older ones, according to the poll's findings.

Young republicans are also more likely to feel anxious when discussing climate matters than older ones.

SEE MORE: NOAA, NASA agree that July 2023 was the hottest month on record

Meanwhile, the tangible effects of climate change have stacked up this year in unprecedented ways, in the U.S. and worldwide.

Increasingly dry and windy conditions in Hawaii contributed to the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history earlier this month.

Climate data has shown July of 2023 set multiple records for the hottest day, week and month ever recorded on the planet. By one analysis, four out of five people worldwide have experienced elevated temperatures this year due to the effects of climate change.

And the day this article was published, nearly a third of the people in the U.S. were subject to extreme heat advisories, watches, and warnings.

Scientists worldwide overwhelmingly agree that climate change is occurring, and is a result of emissions from human activity.

"It is unequivocal that the increase of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere over the industrial era is the result of human activities," according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a group of scientific and policy experts representing 195 countries. "Since systematic scientific assessments began in the 1970s, the influence of human activity on the warming of the climate system has evolved from theory to established fact."

SEE MORE: Why some people don't see climate change as an urgent problem


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