Site icon Conservation news

Over 90 percent of Americans support action on climate change in midst of financial crisis



A new poll released today by Yale and George Mason Universities finds that Americans overwhelmingly—92 percent—support action to reduce global warming. However opinions vary as to how much effort should be put into reducing CO2 emissions and what actions are appropriate.



For example, 92 percent of American supported funding for renewable energy, 85 percent supported tax breaks for people who buy fuel-efficient vehicles or solar panels, and 80 percent supported regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. When an economic cost was involved numbers were still high: nearly 80 percent supported a 45-mpg standard for new vehicles even if it would push the cost of buying a new car or truck up $1,000 dollars and 72 percent of those surveyed supported a law that would require utilities to produce at 20 percent of electricity from renewable resources even if it would tack on an extra $100 a year for the consumer.



Support dropped however when Americans were asked about a national cap-and-trade system. Such a system is currently supported by President Obama and many politicians, although only 53 percent of Americans supported the initiative. Perhaps more troubling for the politicians, only 11 percent strongly supported cap-and-trade while 23 percent strongly opposed it.



“If the president and members of Congress want to pass cap-and-trade legislation this year, they would be wise to quickly take steps to educate the American people,” said Edward Maibach of George Mason University.



However, at the same time 69 percent supported the US signing a treaty which stated it would cut CO2 emissions 90 percent by 2050. In addition two out of three Americans supported the United States working to reduce emissions even if other nations refuse to. Seven percent held the opposite view: that the US should only act when other nations do.



“When you make a mess, you’re supposed to clean up after yourself,” said Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University. “We think many Americans view climate change in a similar way. The United States should act to reduce it’s own emissions regardless of what other countries do.”



The poll appears to be a contrast—though not an outright contradiction—of a recent poll by Gallup which showed that more Americans than ever believe global warming is exaggerated by the media (41 percent). If the results of these two polls are combined it appears that even Americans who believe global warming is exaggerated still see the issue as requiring action from the government.











Related articles



More Americans than ever believe global warming is ‘exaggerated’ by media
(03/12/2009)
While a majority of Americans believe the media is either correct or underestimating the threat of climate change, more than ever believe the threat is exaggerated.

Mass media ‘screwing up’ global warming reporting says renowned climatologist
(02/15/2009)
Stanford scientist and climate-specialist Stephen Schneider has called out media organizations for the quality of their reporting on climate change and other scientific issues. “Business managers of media organizations,” he said, “you are screwing up your responsibility by firing science and environment reporters who are frankly the only ones competent to do this.”

Cap or Tax Carbon Emissions?
(02/04/2009)
Debate is raging about the relative merits of a carbon tax or a cap and trade system as the centerpiece of federal legislation to reduce emissions that fuel global warming. Here is why cap and trade must be the U.S. policy instrument of choice.

Obama pushes for better mileage standards
(01/27/2009)
President Obama has moved to allow states set automobile emission rules, opening the door for more fuel efficient vehicles. Monday Obama signed a memorandum requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider California’s application to set tighter auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required under federal law. Should the waiver be granted, automakers would be forced to sell more fuel efficient vehicles if they want to do business in the state.

Obama may bring leadership, rather than obstruction, to climate change talks
(11/06/2008)
The election of Barack Obama as president of the United States may bring a new era of U.S. leadership on climate.