Millennial Republicans Aren't Quite as Into Climate Denial as Boomers

Ladies and gents, I present to you: The Youth.
Photo: Getty

Younger Republicans are finally kinda sorta starting to understand climate change, according to new survey results. But they’ve got a seriously long way to go. Results from a Pew Research Center poll released on Monday show that while younger members of the Republican party are starting to shift away from climate denial, they still have a lot to learn.

According to the survey—which polled 3,627 U.S. adults over two weeks in October—the younger a Republican is, the more likely they are to understand climate change. That doesn’t mean young Republicans are perfect, though.

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Just 34 percent of the millennial and younger participants said human activity contributes to climate change “a great deal.” That’s nothing compared to the 73 percent of Democrats across all ages surveyed that do, but it’s more than double the 14 percent of Boomer and older Republicans that believe it. Still, younger Republicans still have a lot to learn because 41 percent attribute climate change to “natural patterns.”

Sigh. Whatever that means.

Meanwhile, scientists have reached a 100 percent consensus on humans causing global warming according to a separate study published last week. Previously, they were at 97 percent. The point is, you can trust the science,.

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At least the younger Republicans from this survey had better answers for other questions. On whether the government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change, 55 percent of millennials and younger participants said yes. These Republicans might hold onto whatever climate-denying conspiracy theories they want, but at least they recognize that the Donald Trump-run government is failing to take sufficient action to stop the crisis. Most of these red millennials also said the government was doing too little to protect water quality, air quality, and animals and their habitats.

As for prioritizing the development of alternative energy sources, 78 percent of Republican millennials or younger participants agreed it’s something that should happen. That number jumps to 91 percent when asked specifically about expanding solar panel farms and 81 percent for wind turbine farms. To be fair, even boomers like the idea of solar panels and wind turbines, but they also really like fossil fuels. The younger Republicans surveyed are least in favor of offshore oil and gas drilling, fracking, and coal mining when compared to boomers and older generations.

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However, millennials aren’t that young, right? Older millennials are nearing 40 years old! What about the actual youth? Like, ahem, the teens? While the survey doesn’t get into it, a previous report has shown that 77 percent of the youngest Republicans—which includes Gen Z—find climate change to be a serious threat.

I’d like to think that right-leaning teens might save their forsaken political party from ruining the Earth forever. Luckily, I know that teens at large will be the future of the U.S. one day. And they’re giving us every reason to entrust them with it, especially as we adults fail on leaving them a habitable planet. Shout out to the youth, man.

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About the author

Yessenia Funes

I mostly write about how environmental policy and climate change intersect with race and class though I occasionally write about animals, science, and art, too. We all need an escape, right?

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