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.”

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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.