Climate change continues to polarize congressional politics, says Barry Rabe

August 1, 2013

The United States has experienced a staggering number of weather extremes in recent years—368 national disaster declarations since 2011. And polls indicate that the majority of Americans believe global warming is real. Despite this, Congress remains deeply divided over the issue of climate change.

"Democrats and Republicans are reacting very differently to these tragic events," Barry Rabe says in Inside Climate News. "It is another example of the increasing partisan polarization of the issue."

Rabe also notes that the partisan politics surrounding climate science wasn't always the case. Republican politicians often backed stronger regulations because of the potential environmental danger of having no response at all. Certain politicians, however—including Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota—at one time urged action, but have now begun to back away from previous positions or reject climate science entirely, often despite increasingly extreme weather conditions in their home districts.