Donald Trump today announced that he's withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, breaking ranks with 190 other countries on the question of what to do about climate change.
As with so many other issues -- military might, moral authority, economic prowess -- this appears at first blush to be a simple question of American exceptionalism. The rest of the world does one thing and we do another, because we're America and we're Number One.
But climate politics aren't as much about American exceptionalism as they are about American Republican exceptionalism. Consider this: in 2015 the Pew Research Center polled 40 of the world's countries on six different continents, asking people who lived there what they thought about climate change.
About 45 percent of Americans told the pollsters they thought global climate change was a "very serious" problem. That share's not to far away from the global median of 54 percent across all 54 countries surveyed. But look what happens when you break out American Democrats and Republicans separately.
Democrats, of course, are much more likely to be concerned about climate change: 68 percent say it's a very serious problem, in line with numbers from developing nations where people tend to be more worried about these things.
But only 20 percent of Republicans say it's very serious. If American Republicans were a country, they'd be be virtually indistinguishable from people in Poland and China on the question of climate indifference.
Put it another way: American Democrats are about 14 percentage points away from the global median on their climate concern. But Republicans are a stunning 34 points away from the center.
You could probably run a similar analysis for conservative/liberal parties in other countries, and indeed, Pew did it for a couple other wealthy democracies and found similar partisan gaps.
Still, the fact stands that whatever partisan splits on climate concern exist elsewhere, literally every single other country in the world (Nicaragua and Syria excepted) went ahead and ratified the Paris agreement. So on that measure at least, U.S. Republicans have had more success bending policy to their will than conservatives in other countries.