63 Percent of Americans Are Represented By A Climate Denier
Turns out most Americans disagree with their congressional representative on climate change. Sixty-seven percent of Americans support action to combat global climate change, yet 63 percent of Americans—more than 202 million people—are represented by a member of Congress who questions or denies the science behind human-caused climate change, according to new research from the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Despite the fact that 2015 was the hottest year on record with 10 out of its 12 months breaking temperature records, Congress hasn’t warmed to the science behind climate change. 59 percent of House Republicans and 70 percent of Senate Republicans are climate deniers. In total, there are currently 182 climate deniers in Congress,—144 Representatives and 38 Senators. Since similar research was conducted last year, fourteen House members are new to the list. The number of Senate deniers stayed the same, but Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) took herself off the list and was replaced with Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). Check out the interactive map to see the deniers from your state.
Although there are a handful of congressional Republicans who accept the science behind climate change, all deniers in Congress are Republicans, including the entire party leadership, making the GOP pretty lonely at home and abroad. The American people are way ahead of Congress when it comes to accepting the science behind climate change: 76 percent of Americans, including 59 percent of Republicans, believe humans are the main contributors to global climate change. And the American Republican Party is the only conservative party in the world that denies human-caused climate change, according to research by the University of Bergen in Norway.
One possible reason for this disconnect? The influence of the dirty energy industry. Climate deniers in Congress have received $73,294,380 from dirty energy companies in the oil, gas, and coal industries according to CAP Action’s research. And the difference in contributions between deniers and non-deniers is significant. The average career dirty energy contribution per Senate denier was $889,101 compared to only $202,272 per non-denier. The average contribution per House denier was $274,365 compared to $92,000 for non-deniers.
As climate change becomes a more serious threat and more part of the national conversation, an increasing number of senators and representatives have spoken out about it, and as a result climate denial has shifted slightly in tone. There are still over four dozen lawmakers who deny the planet is warming at all. But in the last year and a half many members of Congress have tried to avoid taking a position on the science by saying “I’m not a scientist” or questioning human contribution to climate change. Yet But the overwhelming majority of scientists have been sure for some time that carbon emissions caused by human activity are the primary cause of the global warming observed in the last half century.
BOTTOM LINE: On the heels of the hottest year on record, the majority of Congressional Republicans still question or deny the science behind human-caused climate change. As Congress continues to deny what 97 percent of scientists know to be true, the stakes are only getting higher. Denying the existence of climate change and blocking any actions to combat it threatens Americans’ public health, national security, and economic security.
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