Climate Change: Americans Aren’t Worried, But Republicans Should Be

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Climate change may not be the biggest concern for Americans — at least based on a March Gallup poll — but that doesn’t mean it won’t pack a punch when it comes to political maneuverings. Specifically, Democrats could see some electoral advantages to their sudden focus on environmental issues in Congress.

Earlier this week, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) began what turned into an all-night session over climate change, saying: “Climate change is real. It’s here.” He said that humoring those who shrug it off as though they “have a valid point” is wrong, the New York Times reports. Still, the extended, sleepless climate caucus will likely lead to nothing in the way of legislation. The Washington Post says that this focus could be predictive of the Democrats’ upcoming campaign strategy — not a bad one, judging by academic research that shows environmentally active Democrats have seen electoral advantages in recent times.

The efforts in the Monday caucus are more preparatory than seeking any concrete action. “It’s aimed toward the day when something more concrete can be legislated,” Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said to the New York Times. Others in his party have made efforts to speak on climate change during both House and Senate meetings, and have been actively meeting with lobbyists and environmental leaders, as well as with corporate representatives that have an interest in such policy changes.

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