As a rift builds between Republicans who do or don’t want to acknowledge climate change as a problem, another wedge is growing between Democrats who support radical solutions and those, like Slotkin, who want somewhat less radical solutions. It is mainly playing out through the internal battle over the Green New Deal, which so far is more of a call for dramatic action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions than a specific legislative agenda, but has been effectively branded by conservative outlets like Fox News as a leftist crusade to ban meat and air travel.
It’s not a coincidence that Trump has vowed to run for re-election against the Green New Deal, or that Senate Republicans gleefully forced a vote on it, or that no Senate Democrats dared to vote yes. Even liberal House speaker Nancy Pelosi, while supporting deep emissions cuts and denouncing Trump’s efforts to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, has declined to endorse “the green dream or whatever.”…
The question is whether the current politics of climate is making that more or less likely. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, widely considered the scientific gold standard on the issue, has called for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to slash emissions. But it can be politically risky to support rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. The Washington establishment seems convinced that as a generic long-term issue requiring politicians to do something, climate change makes Republicans look out of the mainstream, but as a demand for massive upheaval on a tight planetary timeline, the Green New Deal makes Democrats look just as far out of the mainstream.
And it’s exposing real tensions inside the Democratic Party—between center and left, congressional leaders and insurgents, labor groups and green groups, and even among various factions inside the Green New Deal movement.