Public support for action on global warming has grown since January

The Yale Project on Climate Change just released a poll that found growing support for measures to reduce global warming pollution.   It interviewed 1,024 people from May 14 to June 1, and compared the results to a similar poll it conducted in January 2010.  CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss and intern Ariel Powell have the story.

There was more support or more intense support in the June survey for the following actions.

  • Global warming should be a very high or high “priority for the president and Congress.”
  • Corporations and industries should take more steps to reduce global warming.
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents agreed that the “United States should reduce its greenhouse gas regardless of what other countries do.”
  • The U.S. should make a large-scale or medium scale effort, even if it has large or moderate economic costs.
  • There was an 8 percent increase in strongly or somewhat support “regulating CO2.”
  • The poll found nearly a one-third increase in strong support for “providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy efficient vehicles or solar panels.”

By far the two most popular clean energy policies were “fund renewable energy research” and “provide tax rebates for efficient cars and solar panels.”  However, “regulate CO2” had more support than “expand offshore oil drilling,” much more support than “build more nuclear power plants.”

These polls reiterate strong public support for comprehensive clean real energy reform that includes reductions in global warming pollution.   There is additional urgency to this demand after the BP oil spill.  It’s up to the U.S. Senate to respond to this public outcry for action.

JR:  Why the recent growth in support for action on warming?  The spill may have focused attention on the dangers of fossil fuels, but more important, I think, as Stanford communications expert Jon Krosnick notes, “One factor that can influence opinion is the perception of local changes in the weather” (see “One more reason that recent U.S. polling on global warming is down slightly“).  Well, it has been a hot spring (see “After a blow-out U.S. April, a record-busting May“):

I’ll write about the new work of Krosnick when I get back from Pasadena.  He discusses it in a NYT op-ed, “The Climate Majority”:

… national surveys released during the last eight months have been interpreted as showing that fewer and fewer Americans believe that climate change is real, human-caused and threatening to people.

But a closer look at these polls and a new survey by my Political Psychology Research Group show just the opposite: huge majorities of Americans still believe the earth has been gradually warming as the result of human activity and want the government to institute regulations to stop it.

18 Responses to Public support for action on global warming has grown since January

  1. Leif says:

    To Politicians who might mossy by. I am a single issue voter any more. Vote Green or you will not get my vote.
    That is my story and I am sticking too it.

  2. mike roddy says:

    Krosnick is clearly a very thorough and professional pollster. This result makes you wonder about prior ones claiming American indifference or hostility about global warming legislation.

    Poll results are highly subjective, depending on the randomness of the sample, the questions and their wording, subtle attitudes of the interviewer, and many other factors.

    Maybe I’m getting paranoid, but I would not be surprised to learn that prior polls that puff up the number of “skeptics” were commissioned and carried out by entrenched big money interests.

  3. Will Koroluk says:

    Sadly, I am reminded more and more of Winston Churchill’s famous comment:
    “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing–after they have tried everything else.”
    Even more sadly for those of us north of the border, our Canadian government isn’t even trying. Anything.

  4. Doug Bostrom says:

    Another very recent result:

    But a closer look at these polls and a new survey by my Political Psychology Research Group show just the opposite: huge majorities of Americans still believe the earth has been gradually warming as the result of human activity and want the government to institute regulations to stop it.

    In our survey, which was financed by a grant to Stanford from the National Science Foundation, 1,000 randomly selected American adults were interviewed by phone between June 1 and Monday. When respondents were asked if they thought that the earth’s temperature probably had been heating up over the last 100 years, 74 percent answered affirmatively. And 75 percent of respondents said that human behavior was substantially responsible for any warming that has occurred.

    For many issues, any such consensus about the existence of a problem quickly falls apart when the conversation turns to carrying out specific solutions that will be costly. But not so here.

    Fully 86 percent of our respondents said they wanted the federal government to limit the amount of air pollution that businesses emit, and 76 percent favored government limiting business’s emissions of greenhouse gases in particular. Not a majority of 55 or 60 percent — but 76 percent.

    Large majorities opposed taxes on electricity (78 percent) and gasoline (72 percent) to reduce consumption. But 84 percent favored the federal government offering tax breaks to encourage utilities to make more electricity from water, wind and solar power.

    And huge majorities favored government requiring, or offering tax breaks to encourage, each of the following: manufacturing cars that use less gasoline (81 percent); manufacturing appliances that use less electricity (80 percent); and building homes and office buildings that require less energy to heat and cool (80 percent).

    Thus, there is plenty of agreement about what people do and do not want government to do.

    Our poll also indicated that some of the principal arguments against remedial efforts have been failing to take hold. Only 18 percent of respondents said they thought that policies to reduce global warming would increase unemployment and only 20 percent said they thought such initiatives would hurt the nation’s economy. Furthermore, just 14 percent said the United States should not take action to combat global warming unless other major industrial countries like China and India do so as well.

  5. Doug Bostrom says:

    Oops, failed to read the end of Joe’s article again. My post is redundant.

    So much for The TomskTwaddle aka “ClimateGate”.

  6. prokaryote says:

    A little less than a month ago, back before he was madly tripping over his tongue, BP CEO Tony Hayward was sounding almost inspirational as he channeled Winston Churchill: “We are determined to fight this spill on all fronts, in the deep water of the Gulf, in the shallow waters, and, should it be necessary, on the shore.”

  7. prokaryote says:

    Funny, when i type “hayward” into google it suggest “hayward pool products”.

  8. Mark says:

    Perhaps Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman might need to walk back their pledges to roll back Gov. Schwarzenegger’s climate initiatives.

  9. catman306 says:

    maybe you’ve just found the name of the nastiest, deadest, and smelliest part of the oil pollution in the Gulf.

    The Hayward Pool

  10. BobSmith says:

    I just found this link to Odwalla’s plant-a-tree program. They’ll plant a tree for free for you. I voted to put mine in Louisiana, for the obvious reason of the spill. Although, I’m hoping they’ll plant a tree in front of New Orleans to protect the area from hurricanes.

  11. Dan B says:

    BobSmith @ 10;

    It may be too late for tree planting, or it might be just in time.

    Plant species are migrating north – in the northern hemisphere. Whatever, they’re all moving away from the equator, not much land left south of the equator.

    Although I’m in favor of planting trees, in general – I make my living off planting, I believe it must be part of a comprehensive plan that considers where trees will grow in 20 years + and where they’ll succumb to drought, fire, or devastating weather.

    It’s going to be increasingly difficult to make the best choice. Keep trying, keep evaluating, and above all stay awake to new possibilities.

  12. fj2 says:

    Jon Krosnick’s New York Times’ “The Climate Majority” is very encouraging.

  13. Joe,

    Something is up with the blog, lots of posts gone and the order is mixed up.


    [JR: The posts are there, but buried. A glitch I can’t fix til I get home.]

  14. What is the established church?

  15. Zach says:

    To every problem, there is a solution, people. It’s tragic that we have waited this long, true, but perhaps now that the fire has been lit under our ass, we can actually see some good come to light.

  16. Grady says:

    I have to disagree with Will’s comment above. Our Canadian Government is trying extremely hard – to discourage anyone from passing carbon pricing legislation. This way Stephen Harper’s cronies in the Alberta tar sands can continue polluting for free and Canada’s emissions can continue to skyrocket.

    However, they have stated they will match any carbon cuts pledged by the USA. Just one more reason why it is imperative the Kerry-Lieberman bill is passed.

  17. prokaryote says:

    The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century. The American people are ready for clean energy.

  18. prokaryote says:

    Confidence in climate science remains strong, poll shows

    Survey shows 71% of Britons are concerned about climate, despite hacked emails, failure at Copenhagen and cold weather