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Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in September 2012

Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in September 2012

Highlights

  • A large majority of Americans (77%) say global warming should be a “very high” (18%), “high” (25%), or “medium” priority (34%) for the president and Congress. One in four (23%) say it should be a low priority.
  • Nearly all Americans (92%) say the president and the Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a “very high” (31%), “high” (38%), or “medium” priority (23%). Very few say it should be a low priority (8%).
  • A large majority of Americans (88%) say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs. A plurality (44%) favors a medium-scale effort, even if it has moderate economic costs. One in four (24%) supports a large-scale effort even if there are large economic costs. And one in five (19%) supports a small-scale effort, even if it has small economic costs.
  • Majorities also support funding more research into renewable energy sources (73%), providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (73%), regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant (66%), eliminating all subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry (59%), and expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast (58%).
  • A majority of Americans say they would vote for a candidate who supports a revenue neutral carbon tax if it created more American jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries (61% would support such a candidate), decreased pollution by encouraging companies to find less polluting alternatives (58%), or was used to pay down the national debt (52%).
  • Asked who has influence on elected officials’ decisions about global warming, Americans think the big players are large campaign contributors (50% say they have “a lot” of influence) or fossil- fuel companies (42%). Fewer think renewable energy companies (23%), environmentalists (22%), or climate scientists (20%) have a lot of influence on elected officials.