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By Sarah Mosko, Santa Ana
You might not know it given who was recently elected president, but Americans everywhere want their government to tackle climate change. An impressive national survey of over 18,000 adults by the The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication found that in all 50 states a solid majority of the public both believe global warming is happening, between 60 and 78 percent, and favor regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, between 66 and 81 percent.
A breakdown by individual districts revealed a similar pattern of opinions, even in historically conservative areas like Orange County. For example, here in Rep. Darrell Issa’s congressional district (CA-49), an estimated 70 percent believe climate change is happening and 74 percent want carbon dioxide regulated as a pollutant. Given that we live in a representative democracy, one should expect Issa’s actions to reflect the opinions of his constituents. It’s not clear that he has in the past, but there are signs he is coming around.
He’s long been an outspoken skeptic of governmental initiatives to slow global warming and even voted in the last Congress in favor of repealing rules establishing limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as set by Obama’s Clean Power Plan (S.J. Res. 23 and 24). However, he recently took the bold step of joining the Climate Solutions Caucus, a nascent bipartisan coalition of now 34 House members (evenly split with republicans and democrats) dedicated to solving climate change. Whether or not his razor-thin win to retain his seat last November has anything to do with this apparent shift, he should be applauded for doing the right thing.
Next, he should also step up and co-sponsor a first ever all-republican House resolution introduced on March 15 calling for action on climate change.