Gen Z Republicans are ready to force America to address climate change as a reality instead of a myth
- Gen Z is leading the movement to address climate change, as young people on the right and left demand the government take action.
- Only 18% of Gen Zers who identify as Republicans said they believe the Earth is warming because of natural patterns in a Pew survey, compared to 30% of millennial, 36% of Gen Z, and 42% of baby-boomer Republicans.
- "We see younger generations being more concerned, and part of it is a realization that they're going to have to inherit a lot of the decisions," Melissa Deckman, a political science professor at Washington College, told Business Insider.
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Gen Z is deadly serious about climate change.
Some 54% of Gen Zers believe the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, according to a report from Pew Research Center, a similar proportion of millennials who believe climate change is caused by people's actions.One of the biggest changes amongst Gen Z - a generation that ranges from nine-year-olds to 21-year-olds - is that those on the right believe that climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed.
"Gen Z Republicans are much more likely than Republicans in older generations to say government should do more to solve problems, and they're less likely to attribute the Earth's warming temperatures to natural patterns, as opposed to human activity," Kim Parker, Pew's director of social-trends research, told Business Insider.
Only 18% of Gen Zers polled who identified as Republicans said they believe the Earth is warming because of natural patterns in Pew's survey, compared to 30% of millennial, 36% of Gen Z, and 42% of baby-boomer Republicans.
"Climate change, environmentalism - that's probably going to become a little more important as the years go on," Charlie Ciporin, an 18-year-old from Connecticut, told Business Insider on issues uniting his peers on the right and left.
"I've seen people from the conservative side start to take a little bit more of an interest in it," Ciporin continued. "I don't think it's completely agreed upon yet, but I could definitely see that becoming a bigger thing for both sides as time goes on, especially because we're probably going to start seeing more and more effects of it."
Young people leading the climate change charge
"We see younger generations being more concerned, and part of it is a realization that they're going to have to inherit a lot of the decisions," Melissa Deckman, a political science professor at Washington College, said. "So I think you see more priority among younger generations to say, look, we're growing up in a world that's a lot less stable when it comes to the planet."
In an INSIDER poll conducted on SurveyMonkey Audience, 38% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 said that climate change should be a factor in a couple's decision about whether to have children. While 34% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 44 agreed, older generations have a different take.
Only quarter of respondents between the ages of 45 and 60 agreed that climate change should be a consideration, and roughly 20% of those older than 60 years old believed that climate change should be a factor when deciding to have children.
Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben told Business Insider's Aylin Woodward that 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) served as the catalyst for the current Gen Z-led "climate moment."
The report found that "rapid and far-reaching" transitions in energy sources, infrastructure, industry, and transportation were necessary to avoid potential mass extinctions, severe drought, and natural disasters, such as heat waves and hurricanes.