Climate Change Daily Government Policy

The politics of climate change and climate policy

The subject of climate change inserts itself daily into the current ideological divide in American politics. Within all science, including climate science, there is a body of data representing known facts, and then there are interpretations of that data. It is not unusual that debate occurs around individual interpretations, because these types of robust discussions are the basis of good decision making. However, the rejection of the facts themselves is unusual. The assertion that what we see, detect, and verify is not a reflection of reality is disturbing. 

Credible data indicating that average global temperatures have risen since the industrial revolution is firm. Global warming is a fact. There is no data supporting a contention that carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have remain level or fallen since 1950. So atmospheric increases in greenhouse gases are a fact. The available data supports ocean warming and pH changes in the earth’s seas. Temperature, atmospheric composition, and oceanic conditions are integral aspects of climate, and all of these factors are changing.

This clash with the facts is a triumph of ideology over reality. Climate change has thus taken on a meaning that clashes with ideological political views. In the case of climate policy, ideology has taken precedence over facts. The world we wish for is not the world we have, so we ignore our own reality.

What do the Party platforms say about climate policy?     

A search of the Democratic Party website on climate change yielded the following: “Democrats believe that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures, and that Americans deserve the jobs and security that come from becoming the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.” (Democratic Party Platform).

A search of the GOP website for climate change yielded no results (Jan 27th, 2020). However, a closer examination of the GOP platform found climate change mentioned three times under a position on America’s Natural Resources: Agriculture, Energy, and the Environment:

“Climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue. This is the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it.”

“The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy.”

“We demand an immediate halt to U.S. funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in accordance with the 1994 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. That law prohibits Washington from giving any money to “any affiliated organization of the United Nations” which grants Palestinians membership as a state.”

How to proceed?

However, the views of individual Republicans on climate change do not always reflect the Party stance. Younger conservative voters complain that the GOP is not addressing climate change in a productive way. Also numerous Republican representatives advocate for more disaster funding and strategic planning to deal with increasingly frequent weather-related disasters. However, the inability of the GOP as a whole to acknowledge the facts prohibits them from engaging in a debate about interpretations of those facts. The lack of meaningful debate then hampers the development of government climate policy that effectively addresses climate change issues.

Our country needs robust debate around climate and environmental issues. The debate, however, should not be about the facts. The debate should be about interpretations of the facts, how to verify those interpretations, and what they mean for our collective future.


Science versus an ideological approach: data versus magical thinking (Source: ArcheanWeb) – Also:

Science and Environmental Policy (Source: ArcheanWeb) – Also:


Environment (Democratic Party) – Also:

America’s Natural Resources: Agriculture, Energy, and the Environment (Republican Platform) – Also:

House Republicans caught between Trump and young voters on climate change (By  ZACK COLMAN, ANTHONY ADRAGNA and ERIC WOLFF; Politico) – Also:

Feature Post: Katrina-new-orleans-flooding3-2005 (NOAA) (Modify) – This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken or made as part of an employee’s official duties –

William House
William is an earth scientist and writer with an interest in providing the science "backstory" for breaking environmental, earth science, and climate change news.