New poll shows Americans believe in global warming, want to do something about it
Another day, another poll. This one’s a Yale University / Gallup / ClearVision poll run by Anthony Leiserowitz, who I’ve written about before. Unlike the one I wrote about earlier this week, this poll focused on the U.S.
No huge shocks. Most Americans believe humans are causing global warming; strangely, they see themselves as ahead of the scientific consensus — lots (40%) are under the mistaken impression that scientists still disagree about the existence of climate change.
About half of Americans are seriously worried about climate change; the others think it’s a danger to critters and icebergs but not them or their communities. Around 48% now believe that climate change is or soon will have noticeable negative effects — up 20% from 2004. (This is good. The sense of urgency is increasing.)
Some 68% of people are in favor of an international treaty that goes beyond Kyoto; between 80-90% are in favor of substantially higher CAFE standards, more renewable energy, and higher energy efficiency standards, even if they make things (cars, appliances) more expensive.
So Americans are willing to pay more … but not if you call it a tax. If you use the word tax around electricity or gasoline, you get high-60s, low-70s opposition. Chalk this up to the 50-year conservative quest to demonize taxes.
And apparently, Americans have a "can-do" attitude about the problem:
Finally, in the past, some commentators have suggested that many Americans feel either personally helpless to reduce global warming or to believe that the actions of a single country like the United States won’t make any difference. This survey asked respondents if they could personally take actions to help reduce global warming and found that 82 percent of Americans strongly (55%) or somewhat agreed (27%). Likewise, when asked if the United States could take actions to help reduce global warming, 87 percent of Americans strongly (66%) or somewhat agreed (21%). Further, 69 percent of Americans said they strongly (49%) or somewhat disagreed (20%) that the action of a single person won’t make any difference in reducing global warming. Finally, 76 percent said they strongly (59%) or somewhat disagreed (17%) that the actions of a single country like the United States won’t make any difference in reducing global warming. These results demonstrate that most Americans maintain a "can-do" attitude about this issue and believe that they individually and collectively as a nation can make an important difference in reducing global warming.
There you have it.