Following Donald Trump’s irresponsible decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal, some media coverage have portrayed the move as driven by either Trump’s personal idiosyncrasies, or the policy agenda of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. And while there’s an element of truth to that, it misses the big picture.
Let’s face it: This isn’t just a story about Trump — it’s a story about the Republican Party and the science-hating conservative movement.
The party simply does not believe climate change is a serious problem. White some right-wing pundits and politicians acknowledge that the science is real, they argue that even if it is accurate, the consequences might not be so bad, or that action would simply be too costly for the oil industry.
Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris deal was hardly a fringe position in the Republican Party — he was being outright pressured to do it.
• Twenty-two Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, sent a letter to Trump in May urging him to withdraw from the accord.
• Forty conservative think tanks or activist groups, including the Heritage Foundation, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, and the longtime climate science–denying Heartland Institute, signed on to a similar letter calling on Trump to pull out.
• Pro-Trump conservative media outlets like Fox News and Breitbart praised the move as expected.
But whether the US stayed in the Paris agreement or not, it was crystal clear both before and after Thursday’s announcement that the vast majority of the Republican Party supports an agenda of environmental deregulation and inaction on climate change.
Take Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt. All along, it was clear that Pruitt would be a fervent opponent of federal regulatory efforts aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
Anyone even remotely concerned about climate change should naturally have opposed Pruitt’s nomination to head the US’s top environmental regulatory agency, and yet the sole Republican senator who voted against Pruitt’s confirmation was Susan Collins of Maine.
The reality is, Trump’s withdrawal in Paris isn’t an odd outlier, but instead a long-standing GOP policy.
With that said, who do you blame for Trump’s quitting the Paris deal? The entire Republican party, or just Donald Trump?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.