Reality Check

Reality Check

Vets the truthfulness of claims and measures the efficacy of public policy

Reality Check: Republicans Don't Believe in Climate Change?

By Sam Brock and Kinsey Kiriakos
|  Monday, May 19, 2014  |  Updated 8:35 PM PDT
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In this edition of Reality Check, Sam Brock goes behind the numbers of Gov. Jerry Brown's claim that climate change has played a role in recent wildfires.

In this edition of Reality Check, Sam Brock goes behind the numbers of Gov. Jerry Brown's claim that climate change has played a role in recent wildfires.

We're just a few months into the fire season, and there's been about 1,500 wildfires in California to date - twice the average.

Governor Jerry Brown thinks climate change is largely to blame for the hot and dry conditions that have led to the fires, and he says it’s a problem that "virtually no Republicans" in Congress believe climate change is real.

Is it true that a small percentage, or close to zero, Republican lawmakers in our nation’s Capital fall into the category of not believing in either global warming, our ability to affect it, or both?

According to the Pulitzer-Prize winning web site, PolitiFact, the answer is, yes.

PolitiFact identifies eight GOP Congressmen and women who have made public statements affirming their belief in climate change science. If you take the total number of Republican members in the House and Senate, 278, that comes out to a rate of 3 percent.

How does this compare to the public’s feelings on climate change, or even just Republican voters?

Per the latest Pew Research poll on the subject conducted in the fall of 2013, about two-thirds of Americans believe in global warming.

There is hardly consensus thereafter, however. About 44 percent of those polled said human activity was to blame.

Among voters who identified as Republican, 46 percent believe in global warming, while that number is halved to 23 percent for those who think humans are responsible.

It appears that Jerry Brown’s claim that “virtually” no Republicans in Congress believe in climate change science is true, although at PolitiFact notes, there are many members without a publicly-stated position.

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