GOP Platform Doesn’t Mention the Word “Climate” Once — Even After Hottest Year on Record

Prem Thakker / The Intercept

The Trump-led 2024 Republican platform instead calls for an American Iron Dome and the largest deportation operation ever.

2023 was the hottest global year on record; data so far suggests that 2024 will match the trend. This week, more than 130 million Americans are under heat alerts, with numerous cases of death and illness being attributed to the sweltering heat. And amid it all, the 2024 Republican platform does not mention the word “climate” once.

The basic inanity underscores the malign interest driving one of two major American political parties: $300 million of donations to lawmakers from energy and natural resource interest groups (namely, fossil fuel companies) since 1990 — more than double the amount directed to Democrats during that same period.

On Monday, the Republican National Convention announced its platform, which affirmed that the party is wholly Donald Trump’s. “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” the 16-page document’s headline read.

The document paid no mind to environmental protection, never mind the 130 million Americans currently trudging through oppressive heat. But it did call to “BUILD A GREAT IRON DOME MISSILE DEFENSE SHIELD OVER OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY,” a reference to Israel’s U.S.-funded defense system, and to “CARRY OUT THE LARGEST DEPORTATION OPERATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY.”

That the Trump-led, Republican agenda doesn’t mention “climate” is not surprising. In his first term, the former president overturned some 100 environmental regulations, pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and weakened the Environmental Protection Agency. In April, Trump reportedly promised oil tycoons that he would reverse some of Joe Biden’s climate policies in exchange for a $1 billion campaign contribution. Meanwhile, three of his Supreme Court justices just helped corporate America get even further off the hook from having to respect environmental regulation by overturning the Chevron doctrine, a decades-old legal precedent that directed courts to defer to federal agencies’ interpretation of unambiguous statues.

“Trump can’t mention it because every last one of his policies would make it worse. He’s essentially running on heating the planet even more,” Bill McKibben, environmentalist and founder of climate groups Third Act and, told The Intercept.

In an exchange with a young climate activist on the day the GOP’s platform was released, Republican Sen. Katie Britt — framed by the party as “America’s mom” before her memorable “State of the Union” response speech — embodied her party’s dismissive response to the burning of our planet.

“Oh you, look at how dishonest that was. You asked if you could take a selfie and now you’re asking questions,” Britt said to a voter who asked her about money she receives from the oil and gas lobby. Britt proceeded to ask what the voter’s issue was with “Big Oil.”

“I think that the climate crisis is here and getting worse, and you’re being funded by the people who are making that happen,” the activist said.

The senator from Alabama responded evasively, seeming to cheer on more toxic drilling. “Listen, we’ve got to be not only energy independent, but energy dominant. We do it better than anybody.”

Britt did not respond to questions about her plan to address climate change and environmental protection, or about the $197,037 she has received from the oil and gas industries since joining Congress in 2022.

It’s not as if modern Republicans have not engaged with climate. In 2021, Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, launched the Conservative Climate Caucus in 2021 to educate Republicans on climate policies and legislation. “Don’t be too tough on us, but watch us. I am totally ready to be judged a year from on how much impact we’ve had on the debate,” he said at the time of the group’s founding.

As it turns out, the effort, which has received favorable media coverage since its inception, has not had much tangible impact. The group’s members have attacked environmental regulations, undermined or simply refused to vote for bills like the Inflation Reduction Act, and taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fossil fuel industry.