Even as primary voters in Indiana pushed climate denialist Donald Trump closer to becoming the Republican nominee for U.S. president, there are mounting signs of a shift in opinion on climate within his party.
It’s economics, rather than climate science, that is winning over converts, Bloomberg News suggests, as “a small and growing number of once-skeptical Republicans” embrace the wind and solar technologies creating new jobs and delivering cheap electricity, especially in America’s “impoverished rural areas.”
“This is going to change the discussion,” former North Carolina Republican Representative Bob Inglis told Bloomberg. “What I sense among Republicans is that, yes, this does sound like a song we could sing.”
Any such shift would run against the majority opinion among Republican legislators, but ThinkProgress too finds that “a growing number of liberal and moderate Republican voters are concerned about climate change and want their elected officials to reflect that concern.”
Veteran South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and four other GOP senators, three of whom face tight re-election battles against opponents stressing environmental issues, last month inserted a declaration into an energy bill affirming that “climate change is real and that human activity contributes to the problem,” ThinkProgress notes.
Meanwhile, millionaire entrepreneur and party donor Jay Faison of South Carolina has opened a lobbying office in Washington, DC and dedicated US$175 million to support Republican candidates who “feel compelled to talk about clean energy as part of their campaign.”
The highest-profile apostate from GOP climate orthodoxy may be the Republican mayor of San Diego, CA. The Guardian reports that Kevin Faulconer is pushing a plan to make the sun-baked but water-starved city “run on 100% renewable power by 2035,” making it “the largest American city to have such an ambition.”