During the most recent bout of California wildfires earlier this month, President Donald Trump tweeted the Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newson, accusing him of “[doing] a terrible job of forest management” and saying that he must “‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what [Newsom’s] bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him.”
This accusation is grounded in the idea that the forest fires are caused by poor upkeep in the California forests, when in reality the main cause of the annually increasing intensity of the forest fires is climate change.
Newsom, in response to Trump, tweeted “[y]ou don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.” While perhaps not the most diplomatic response, this exchange is reflective of typical relations between parties on issues relating to climate change. Often, the climate crisis is written off as a problem solely on the liberal agenda when, in reality, it is all encompassing.
Climate change is an urgent issue that requires aggressive and immediate action from politicians — and citizens, though they have less influence on policy — regardless of their partisan affiliations.
A survey conducted earlier this year suggests that only 21% of Republicans believe that Congress should prioritize finding solutions to climate change, while 67% of Democrats believe the same. The large margin between the two parties is typical of most surveys and studies on climate change, with Democrats routinely polling higher on questions concerning the importance and urgency of fighting climate change. This divide is perhaps the biggest obstacle to enacting the policies needed to effectively counteract climate change.
Thoughts on climate change were not always divided down the party line. During his 1988 campaign, George H. W. Bush addressed the issue of climate change, which was just becoming relevant to the public.