Support for climate action is the new normal in U.S.
Pick 100 Americans at random and line them up. Ask those who think the country shouldn’t do a damned thing to rein in its greenhouse emissions to please step forward.
Guess how many would do so?
Just six out of every 100 Americans believe there is absolutely no need for the U.S. to take action to reduce its emissions to help combat climate change.
That’s according to the latest survey result from an ongoing project that tracks public attitudes towards climate change. The project is run by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
Those six people may look around awkwardly, feeling lonely and lied to by whichever media outlets convinced them that green energy was a fringe obsession of the lunatic left. Meanwhile, 59 of the people in our hypothetical lineup think the U.S. should reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do; 10 think the U.S. should take action only if other countries do the same; and 25 are shrugging their shoulders and looking at their feet, unable to state an opinion.
The finding is a reminder that resistance to green energy in America is not created by its people, but by the global fossil fuel companies that pollute its land and water, screw with its weather, manipulate its media, and lobby the living shit out of its lawmakers.
Other results from the survey, which was administered in April, were also encouraging. For example, 70 percent of the 1,045 people surveyed said global warming should be a medium to very high priority for Congress and the president.
Despite the survey’s lopsided results, there remain reasons to be discouraged. Support for action on climate change actually waned over winter — a time of year when the effects of global warming can be less obvious. Take this graph from the survey report as an example:
But it’s Friday, so let’s revel in the positive. According to a summary of the results, the majority of Americans support the following:
- Providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (71%);
- Funding more research into renewable energy sources (70%);
- Regulating CO2 as a pollutant (68%);
- Requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to pay down the national debt (61%);
- Eliminating all subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry (59%);
- Expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast (58%);
- Requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year (55%).
If only Congress would listen to the people instead of the fossil fuel donors and industry lobbyists, the U.S. could go green in next to no time.
Get Grist in your inbox