Once upon a time, in an ad that would seem inconceivable in today’s political environment, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (a Democrat) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (a Republican) sat down in a love seat together to urge climate action.
This was back in 2008, and the message was part of a campaign by former Vice President Al Gore to bring Democrats and Republicans together to address the climate crisis.
But thanks to the rise of political extremism and ramped-up donations from fossil fuel companies to Republican candidates, the climate consensus has broken down. In 2011, Mr. Gingrich repudiated the ad. And since then, President Donald Trump has famously called climate change a “hoax.”
But it looks as though the balance could be shifting again. Polls suggest that, among voters ages 18 to 38, there exists little difference between the responses of Democrats and Republicans when asked if climate change is caused by humans. As the next generation of Republicans takes the helm, climate change denial may go the way of Tyrannosaurus rex.
Why We Wrote This
Sometimes a political consensus can break down because of fringe actors. But as new generations take the stage, it’s possible to rebuild bipartisan harmony on certain critical issues.