Public Supports Moving Forward on Climate Change

Health care reform is occupying almost everyone’s attention these days, which is understandable given its level of importance and how close we are to big decisions in Congress. But other critical issues remain on Congress’s agenda and will be taken up once the health care situation is resolved. On the top of that list is climate change. Just-released data from the Pew Research Center suggests the public is ready to move forward in this area.

First, the public rejects the idea that the United States should go alone in addressing climate change. By 56-32, they say that the United States “should join other countries in setting standards to address global climate change” rather than “set its own standards to address global climate change.”

graph of public supporting joint action

Second, the public gives 50-39 support to “setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions and making companies pay for their emissions, even if it may mean higher energy prices” (emphasis added).

graph of public supporting setting emissions limits

These findings indicate that legislators should not rest on their laurels even if they succeed in passing health care reform. The public appetite for change is clearly broader than that.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Culture page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.