George Mason University

News at Mason

Mason professor: Climate change is becoming a heated political issue

October 7, 2019

Ed Maibach is a University Professor and the director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication.

Climate change has dominated national politics as of late, and a George Mason University professor said that he expects the issue to become even more prominent as the 2020 presidential election draws closer.

“There has been a major increase in public concern about climate change over the past four or five years,” said Ed Maibach, a University Professor and the director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “Voters are much more concerned about climate change now than in the last election. So, no, I’m not surprised that the Democratic candidates are making this a major election issue because the voters are demanding it of them. Even Republican candidates are moving in the direction of science and reality on this issue because many of their voters—especially their young voters—aren’t willing to put up with climate denial nonsense anymore.”

Concerned about the seemingly accelerating pace of climate change, millions of young people recently brought the issue front and center with a global strike. Event organizers estimated the turnout at four million people in thousands of cities and towns around the globe.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist, captivated the world with a fiery speech at the United Nations that admonished world leaders for failing to do enough to combat global climate change.

The events have collectively helped raise awareness like never before, Maibach said.

“The news media is more actively reporting on the problem, especially as a local issue,” he said. “There have been repeated extreme weather events and other terrible climate impacts [such as extreme wildfires] over the past several years. But perhaps more than anything, I believe President Trump’s climate denial and his many policy stances that are harmful to the climate may have been the most important factor. Most Americans want government action to address climate change.”

Ed Maibach can be reached at 703-993-1587 or at emaibach@gmu.edu.

For more information, contact John Hollis at 703-993-8781 or jhollis2@gmu.edu.

About George Mason 

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.