Critics usually attribute the unwavering Republican opposition to acting on climate change primarily to ideology and money. Ideologically, most Republicans are predisposed against efforts to reduce the emissions of carbon associated with global climate change because they view it as an example of governmental regulatory overreach. Financially, the GOP hesitates to act because it receives the vast majority of the campaign contributions from oil, gas, coal and other energy industries. (In the past three elections, the oil and gas industry has directed nearly 90% of its campaign contributions to Republicans, and the coal industry channeled at least 96% of its contributions toward them in 2014 and 2016.)
But more important than either of these factors may be the geographic divide. From Congress through the White House, the Republican Party now relies overwhelmingly on the states that are the most deeply invested in the existing fossil fuel economy -- and thus feel the most threatened by any initiative to reduce carbon emissions. That includes not only the states that produce the most fossil fuels like oil and coal, but also the Rust Belt states that consume large quantities of coal-fired electricity for manufacturing.