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76% of Americans say government not doing enough to address global warming

76% of Americans say government not doing enough to address global warming

76% of Americans say government not doing enough to address global warming
Rhett A. Butler,
March 15, 2006

A new survey released today by the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute found that 76 percent —
including two out of three conservatives — think the federal government is not doing “enough to
address global warming and develop alternative energy sources in order to reduce our dependence
on foreign oil.”

The survey, based on telephone interviews conducted among a sample of 1,029 American adults (512
men and 517 women) aged 18 and over during the period of February 23-26, 2006, also found that more than four out five Americans (83 percent) — including 77 percent of conservatives — said that “in the absence of federal leadership” today, they support the fast-growing number of pushes by “state and local officials to curb global warming and promote new energy resources.”

Results from the poll suggest that environmental policy is a top concern of Americans going into an election year. 77 percent of those surveyed think that “developing alternative or renewable
energy sources and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil should be President Bush’s top priority
for the balance of his term in office” and 83 percent would like to see more attention paid to global
warming during the 2006 Congressional elections and the 2008 Presidential elections.

“One of the most striking aspects of these findings is the widespread and decidedly bipartisan nature of the
concerns about inaction on global warming and energy solutions,” said Graham Hueber, Opinion Research Corporation Senior Research Associate of the Civil Society Institute. “We don’t see the party-line
polarization that is so evident on many other national issues. This survey will give no
comfort at all to politicians who think they can drag their feet on climate change and energy

While the United States may be known as the land of pickups and SUVs, the survey suggests that a growing number of Americans believe “it is patriotic to drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle
since it requires less fuel to run, and therefore, can help to reduce U.S. dependency on Middle
Eastern oil.”

The survey results come a day after NASA announced that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide now stand at 381 per million (ppm), about 36 percent above pre-industrial levels. Carbon dioxide is a principal “greenhouse gas” thought to be driving global warming. Humans boost carbon dioxide levels primarily by the combustion of fossils fuels and deforestation. Presently, the United States is the world’s largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions.

Scientists expect higher temperatures to increase the severity of tropical storms and hurricanes in coming years. The damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina has bolstered awareness of climate change among many Americans.

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