The American People Get It, but…

April 27th, 2012 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on The American People Get It, but…

Despite the fact that climate change, global warming, and the impact of carbon pollution are sorely missing from mainstream political agendas, the vast majority of Americans believe that climate change and excessive carbon emissions are indeed very real and of great concern.

A new national survey confirms strong public support for funding renewable energy research, regulating carbon pollution, and signing a global treaty to slash emissions. The study, conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, found a remarkable 75% of Americans support “regulating carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas) as a pollutant.

The poll found:

– 63 percent of Americans support “signing an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050“!

– By a margin of 3 to 1 — 61 percent to 20 percent — Americans say they would be more likely to vote for a political candidate who supports a “revenue neutral” tax shift, increasing taxes on fossil fuels, and reducing the federal income tax by an equal amount.

– 61 percent said they support holding the fossil fuel industry responsible for “hidden costs we pay for citizens who get sick from polluted air and water, military costs to maintain access to foreign oil, and the environmental costs of spills and accidents.”

– By 3 to 1 — 58 percent to 17 percent — Americans say “protecting the environment… improves economic growth and provides new jobs” vs those who say it “reduces economic growth and costs jobs.”

– Asked “When there is a conflict between environmental protection and economic growth, which do you think is more important?” an amazing 62 percent supported “protecting the environment, even if it reduces economic growth” vs. 38 percent who backed “Economic growth, even if it leads to environmental problems.”

The survey’s results are counter to widely held assumptions among the media and politicians. The conversation happening among the people is clearly not being heard – either in the national media or the halls of Congress. It seems like I’ve written that last sentence before. It’s exhausting.