To read the comments section of this blog and others, and to listen to the bitter vitriol routinely spewed by folks who seem to revel in arguing about global warming, you might think Americans are divided on what to do about it.
Not so, at least according to a new poll of 1,024 adults in the U.S. performed by Yale University's Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. Even as climate legislation sits gathering dust in Congress, Americans appear to strongly favor moving forward with renewable energy technologies, drastically cutting carbon dioxide emissions, and regulating CO2 as a pollutant.
Some key numbers from two reports issued yesterday, which are up since the last time the poll was performed in January following a significant downturn throughout the previous year (you can find them here and here):
87 percent of respondents support funding more research into renewable energy sources 83 percent support tax rebates for people who buy fuel-efficient vehicles and solar panels 77 percent support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant 65 percent support signing an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050 61 percent support requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it cost the average household an extra $100 per year Now, the poll also showed that fully 45 percent of people think "there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening". That's simply not true - regardless of what you may think of scientists in general, they are overwhelmingly convinced that global warming is happening.
In all, 61 percent of the group said they believe global warming is happening. Of them, half believe humans are behind it, while 34 percent said the warming is down to natural processes.
So, while there is still a fair amount of disagreement among Americans about the causes of global warming, there is a surprisingly high level of support to move forward with new energy technologies and policy choices that will drastically cut our carbon emitting ways.
Perhaps lawmakers and pundits alike should dispense with the bickering and give the country what it wants: legislation that will push us towards a low-carbon energy future.