Yesterday the Republican-controlled Senate approved a motion instructing those negotiating the 2016 federal budget to “insist” it includes provisions to deal with “human-induced climate change,” ThinkProgress reported.
The motion specifically says funds should be allocated to “respond to the causes and impacts of climate change, including the economic and national security threats posed by human-induced climate change.”
And while the motion is non-binding, its approval does have at least some significance. The Center for American Progress found that 70 percent of Senate Republicans reject the science that proves human action is responsible for climate change. This albeit small step shows that maybe they are coming around or at least willing to compromise on the issue.
As ThinkProgress pointed out, yesterday’s vote was done by voice, “meaning there was no roll call taken. So if a Republican Senator wanted to vote for the measure to include climate funding in the budget, no one would know. No one would be held politically responsible for voting for it.”
Given the GOP’s pandering to it’s smallest and most-extreme members, it’s not surprising that Republican members of Congress would not admit on the record that climate change action is desperately needed. As was the case with former Sen. Bob Inglis (R-SC), it could equal political suicide.
The problem with this strategy is that 63 percent of Americans believe that climate change is real and nearly 77 percent support funding more research into renewable energy. Denying the problem even exists is not going to help the Republican party, especially since nearly two-thirds of young voters — a bigger voting bloc than even senior citizens — are likely to vote for political candidates who support action on climate change.
The GOP plan to simply court the old, white vote is unsustainable. Unless the party evolves on issues like climate change — and soon, its demise can’t be too far off. Approving this motion might be the smallest step possible, but at least it is a step.