Poll Finds Strong Support For Clean Energy, 68% Of Independents Want To Regulate CO2 As A Pollutant

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University released their most recent survey this week:

The Yale survey, “Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in April 2013,” dates back to 2008 and is an important barometer for public opinion on clean energy and climate issues.

In general, the year’s survey finds that support for prioritizing clean energy remains high, albeit with a recent dip, due in part to the increasing polarization of the American electorate.

Still, strong majorities support renewable energy and regulation carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Here is more from what’s in the report, by the numbers:

  • 87 percent say President Obama and Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a priority.
  • While there are some programs at the federal level that have aided the development of clean energy and transportation, such overwhelming support shows that the government could and should do more. After all, fossil fuel extractors make bad neighbors. Some states are getting the message and clean energy development creates jobs. Colorado recently moved to strengthen its Clean Energy Standard. Other states’ clean energy sectors face threats. North Carolina has been fighting off efforts to repeal its clean energy standard this year (that fortunately failed).
  • 70 percent say global warming should be a priority for the President and Congress.
  • There are billions of reasons to make it one. President Obama has more than three years left to make it a big one.
  • 59 percent think the U.S. should cut greenhouse gas emissions on its own — even if other countries do not.
  • 33 countries and 18 sub-national jurisdictions will price carbon in 2013. This comprises 850 million people and nearly a third of the global economy. China has a pilot carbon trading program in 7 cities and provinces, and is seriously considering an absolute cap on its carbon emissions. The EU has had one for years. The ball is in America’s court, and there are some easy solutions to pursue.

  • 70 percent think industry should be doing more to address global warming, and 52 percent think the President should.
  • So does Steven Chu, the last Energy Secretary.
  • 68 percent want to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
  • Putting a price on carbon finds support in unexpected quarters, such as conservative economists, prominent Republicans, and large corporations.
  • 61 percent want to regulate it through a carbon tax on fossil fuel companies that pays down the debt.
  • Other polls have found similar support for putting a price on carbon as a way of paying down the debt — yet even larger majorities support making clean energy a priority. The Congressional Budget Office recently released a report making the budgetary case that doing nothing about climate change will cost more than spending money now to regulate carbon.
  • 59 percent want to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Which is important, as the U.S. is the world’s largest fossil fuel subsidizer. It would help the budgetary situation, not to mention help level the playing field for new renewable industries.
  • 55 percent support requiring utilities to produce more than 20 percent renewable power, even if it costs more.
  • The legislation is there — whether Congress will act is another story.
  • 50 percent have not heard of the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Evidently more reporting is required.

Were your opinions reflected in the poll?

12 Responses to Poll Finds Strong Support For Clean Energy, 68% Of Independents Want To Regulate CO2 As A Pollutant

  1. We still don’t treat this like a “line in the sand.”

    There are three things that I observed recently. Some are surprised that the idea that people will need better assurances of continued jobs and economic security for their families before they raise the level of attention that they give climate change. Just go back and re-read (since most will have been introduced to it) Maslow re: Hierarcy of Needs.

    The second is that rhetoric replaces action as a measure of political worth. We now see this with Governor Brown in CA who talks like a climate-hawk and still approves of the exploitation of oil / gas deposits in Monterey County Shale.

    The third is that “if it bleeds it leads” is still true for all media. Just look at the exploitation of the Jody Arias trial, all out of proportion to the real impact those invents will have on anyone other than Arias and the family of the lover she killed. Is this the media that we want? It is the one that seems to be pervasive.

  2. BTW: What happened to the post re: Kolbert and the Keystone XL?

  3. BillD says:

    Nice numbers except for the last one. A small “revenue neutral” increase in gas prices would be a good “market based” approach toward increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy. Not sure why people don’t see that we need “the opposite” of subsidies for fossil fuels, namely disincentives for their use.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    If you vote anonymously on a carbon fee tax, Koch won’t be able to spot who voted yes.

  5. Mike Roddy says:

    The numbers are nice, and would be much higher if we had a free press, instead of six right wing corporations controlling 90% of content.

    Actually, it’s what the 1% want that counts, and the cash they sprinkle on Congressmen seals the deal.

  6. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Sprinkle? ME

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s a euphemism.

  8. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yeah, for laying it on with a trowel, ME

  9. Good old Joe Stalin said it’s not who votes that count but who counts the votes.

    While these numbers are encouraging in some ways — most people (1) think global warming is real, manmade and a problem, (2) want something done about it and believe that renewable energy is part of the solution and, (3) and are tired of being jacked around by the fossil industry — they have little to do with policy making in Washington.

    Look at what happened with the gun control bill. 90 percent of the people were for it, and the Senate couldn’t get it done because the NRA lobbyists stood in the way.

    However, this does remain a representative democracy. It represents the desires of the 0.5 percent.

  10. Ken Barrows says:

    I like (/sarc) the last one. Only a minority of those polled can bear a $0.25 tax in the gasoline even with a corresponding decrease in the income tax. Oh boy. I hope this climate change thing isn’t an existential crisis.

  11. Ken Barrows says:

    Because reducing the subsidy costs someone else, not me. Or so it’s perceived.

  12. Madeleine du Toit says:

    This poll makes it clear: the perception that there’s a real difference on Green issues between Democrats and Republicans
    is a perfectly accurate one.