According to a new Yale survey, the vast majority of Americans now believe addressing global warming should be a top priority for Congress and the Obama administration. The survey indicated that 71 percent of Americans now think that tackling climate change should be high on the agenda. This is an improvement over the last couple of years when it was not considered a high priority.
Support for clean energy is almost unanimous with 91 percent of Americans saying that “developing sources of clean energy should be a very high (32%), high (35%), or medium (24%) priority for the president and Congress, including 97 percent of Democrats, 89 percent of Independents, and 85 percent of Republicans.”
Americans want their government to invest in the effort to curb global warming. Despite ongoing concerns about the economy, 67 percent of Americans say the US should undertake a large (29%) or medium-scale effort (38%) to reduce global warming, even if it has large or moderate economic costs. These results could be interpreted as support for ending oil subsidies.
The business community should also take note as 65 percent of Americans want more action to address global warming from corporations. Their is a growing awareness of the relationship between the environment the economy and jobs. 82 percent of Americans (including 94% of Democrats, 74% of Independents, and 76% of Republicans) say that protecting the environment either improves economic growth and provides new jobs (56%), or has no effect (26%). Only 18 percent say environmental protection reduces economic growth and costs jobs.
Americans indicate the want more renewable energy even if it costs more. The study indicates that 68 percent of Americans support requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year, including 82 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of Independents, and 58 percent of Republicans.
The study shows that Americans support more research funding as indicated by the fact that 84 percent of Americans support funding more research into renewable energy sources, including 90 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of Independents, and 81 percent of Republicans.
More than half of Americans want to see more action from Congress to address global warming. This should cause Republican lawmakers who frown on support for renewable energy to take note as their ongoing obstructionism could prove politically fatal.
With the exception of the finding that 68 percent of Americans want more gas and oil drilling, this is a very positive report for the environment. This survey breathes new hope into the possibility of passing US energy and climate change legislation if President Obama succeeds in winning a second term.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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