Memo to policymakers: Public STILL favors the transition to clean energy

From what you've read and heard, in general, do you favor or  oppose setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions and making companies  pay for their emissions, even if it may mean higher energy prices?

Conservatives have been doing their best to torpedo the movement toward clean energy by hyping controversies about the science behind global warming. But whatever effect these controversies have had on the public they do not appear to have undermined support for action on the clean energy front, as polling expert and CAP Senior Fellow Ruy Teixeira explains.

Take support for a cap-and-trade approach to limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Back in October, views on this approach were running 50-39 in favor according to a Pew Research Center poll. Recently, Pew tested this approach again and actually found a slight widening of support to 52-35 in favor.

The same poll also shows support for a wide range of ways to address America’s energy supply. But, as in almost all other polls, the most popular option is to promote alternative energy. By 78-17, the public wants to see increased federal funding for research on wind, solar, and hydrogen technology.

As I read some possible government policies to address America's energy supply, tell me whether you would favor or oppose each. Would you favor or oppose the government increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar, and hydrogen technology?

Policymakers, take note. The public hasn’t given up on clean energy and neither should you.

— Ruy Teixeira.  [For more of his public opinion analysis, go here.]

JR:  I’d add that pretty much every major poll in the past six months makes clear that the public supports climate and energy legislation because it achieves multiple benefits, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

6 Responses to Memo to policymakers: Public STILL favors the transition to clean energy

  1. Seth Masia says:

    The public has always supported renewable energy development. National opinion polls in the Lexis-Nexis database, going back to 1979, show 2:1 support of solar over coal as an energy source, and overwhelming willingness to pay moderately more for energy from wind and solar sources than from fossil fuels. This is not news, but it does show that politicians pay no attention to inconvenient polls.

  2. OT, but I need help from those of you with research grant experience. I have already heard from several scientists but it would be nice to hear from a few more. I originally posted this at RC last week and am now branching out to this blog and others.

    I have a thread on my blog titled Taking the Money for Grant(ed) – Part I that responds to the following two claims:

    1) Scientists are getting rich from research grants!
    2) Scientists holding an anti-AGW viewpoint cannot get funding!

    I used my own recent grant experience to debunk claim #1. In a future post called Part II, I want to show examples of how grant money is spent at other institutions, especially the larger research institutions. Essentially, tell me why you are also not getting rich from your grants. You can comment on my blog or send me a private email.

    My email address is

    You can give me as much or as little detail as you think it necessary to dispel claim #1. Before I post part II, I will send a draft copy to any person whose information is being used and you will have carte blanche to edit what I had planned to post. Nothing will appear in my post that you do not confirm.

    I appreciate all the help you can offer!

  3. James Newberry says:

    These polls have shown the same pattern for decades, even with questions like the above loaded with ideology. The question about rising “energy prices” is biased. The sun’s energy does NOT rise in price. Actually, solar electric is droping in price and is at grid parity in many circumstances. We are talking about the mined materials used for burning (“fossil fuels”) that are wreaking public and planetary health.

    Moving to sustainable investments, including “clean energy” strategies like building retrofits and rail transit, changes the longer term costs (like federal financial support for mining and GM of Global Meltdown) to socially beneficial investments. In the larger sense, it is a change from corporate ownership to public benefit, such as could occur through assertive public support of transit. Of course, if the economy is rigged as a racket then not much changes, and “energy” is one of the biggest rackets on earth.

  4. ewh says:

    Clean Energy tech advocates would do well to keep the energy security/national security arguments front and center as well as climate change. We would need clean renewable energy even if AGW weren’t happening. That should be part of the message, the main part for some audiences.

  5. Roger says:

    Great work, Scott! I like your well-written blog. Keep it up!