9 Out of 10 States Most at Risk From Climate Change Voted for Trump
U.S. opinion on climate change is still highly polarized, with 82 percent of Democrats and only around 25 percent of Republicans ranking it a "very serious" problem, according to a November poll from Monmouth University. However, that divide is weakening. The same poll found that 64 percent of Republicans now acknowledge that it is happening, compared to 49 percent three years ago.
Now, a report released Tuesday explains that Republican attitudes have good reason to shift. The Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program looked at the data and found that many Republican-leaning states and districts are actually more likely to suffer the impacts of climate change than many so-called blue states.
Many of the states with the most to lose from climate change voted heavily for Donald Trump in 2016.… https://t.co/18Kyov8zIc— Brookings (@Brookings)1548810661.0
"Drill down on the political geography of climate damage and it becomes clear that in much of the country Republicans are voting for people who are opposed to climate policy even as they are most exposed to climate impacts," report authors David G. Victor, Mark Muro and Jacob Whiton wrote.
The report relied on data from the Climate Impact Lab predicting the county-by-county economic costs of climate change in the U.S. through the end of the 21st Century. It found that many traditionally red states would be disproportionately impacted. Part of this is because sea level rise and more extreme coastal storms like hurricanes will cause especial damage to the Southeast and Florida. States like Texas and Arizona also stand to see heavy losses. Overall, Republican-leaning counties could see their income fall by as much as 28 percent by 2100 if no action is taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The climate harms map makes clear that in much of the country Republicans are voting for people who oppose policies… https://t.co/StSr5EPrZP— Mark Muro (@Mark Muro)1548771480.0
On the other hand, many Democratic-leaning regions like the Pacific Northwest, the upper Midwest, the Interior West and New England could actually see economic gains by the end of the century.
Looking specifically at the 2016 Presidential election, the report authors found that nine of 10 states that stand to lose the most from climate change voted for Trump, while nine of 17 states that could benefit from climate change voted for Hillary Clinton.
New @BrookingsMetro study: 16 / 20 states that face greatest economic losses from #climatechange voted for Trump, o… https://t.co/8MX7AO6l8p— Mark Muro (@Mark Muro)1548775393.0
A similar discrepancy was apparent at the county level during both the 2016 Presidential and 2018 Congressional elections:
Along these lines, we estimate that counties that voted for President Trump in 2016 will experience on average a nearly 5-percent loss of GDP compared to the smaller 3.3 percent loss borne by counties that voted for Hillary Clinton. Similarly, congressional districts that in November voted Republican face a 4.4 percent GDP tax from climate change compared to the smaller 2.7 percent loss projected for districts that voted Democratic.
Muro, Victor and Whiton used their findings to recommend a new strategy to environmental activists looking to convince Republican voters.
"Activists who want to change the political equation can derive a clear strategy from the harm data: Work in the reddish swing states by focusing spotlights and cost accounting on the severe economic effect wrought by climate change," they advised. "Party attitudes on climate change could shift quickly there as people are confronted with climate reality. That's exactly what happened in other areas—for example, gays serving in the military or state-sanctioned gay marriage—when political attitudes were forced to confront new realities around the Thanksgiving dinner table and on television."
Correction: This post has been revised to correct a misspelling in the name of author Jacob Whiton.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
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