President Barack Obama recently observed that tackling climate change remains vitally important despite difficulties moving legislation forward. Conservatives, of course, are trying their utmost to remove the issue permanently from political discussion, claiming that the public is tired of the debate and no longer has an appetite for combating global warming.
But a just-released poll from the Yale and George Mason climate change communication programs reveals the lie in this claim. In the poll 63 percent of respondents said the United States should move forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do, compared to 3 percent who said we should await action by industrialized countries, 8 percent who said we should wait for both industrialized and developing countries to move, and 5 percent who said we shouldn’t bother reducing emissions.
In the same poll the public supported, by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent, requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if that would cost the average household an extra $100 per year.
The poll also found 65 percent of Americans supporting an international treaty to require a 90 percent cut in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
Clearly, reports of the death of public support for action on global warming are overblown. Contrary to conservative assertions, that support is alive and kicking.
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 Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.