Strong Majority of Americans Support The President’s Climate Change Plans

According to this report from Reuters, 65 percent of Americans support “regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and factories” while 65 percent also support the president’s plan to begin taking action now. And, more significantly, this include a majority of self-identified Republicans.

In fact, 65 percent of voters support “the president taking significant steps to address climate change now,” according to a recent poll by the Benenson Strategy Group

But the devil is in the details, as a February Duke University study shows. Though public support for cap-and-trade or a carbon tax are tepid (30 to 35 percent support, with about the same percentage opposing), Americans overwhelmingly support “regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and factories” (65 percent support versus 14 percent oppose). [...]

Tea Party Republicans continue to paint the EPA as a political boogieman — but they have only isolated themselves from the broad mainstream. The EPA had a robust 45 favorable to 28 percent unfavorable rating in our latest national survey for the ALA in January, conducted with Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies.

Voters also supported the EPA “updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution” by a 69 to 26 percent margin. In fact, stricter air pollution standards had at least 60 percent support from Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans, with only conservative Republicans in opposition.

Based on my own observation, the reason the public strongly opposes cap-and-trade policy while strongly supporting the regulation of emissions is because it’s much easier to demagogue and vaguely smear cap-and-trade policy and paint it as an economic bummer. It’s far more difficult to attack the regulation of poison in the air.

The results of polls that measure public opinion on environmental issues are not so dissimilar to the way a majority of Americans may be reluctant to identify themselves as liberal whereas, if you poll them on specific issues, they are more liberal than they are conservative.

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  • Bubble Genius

    Oh, climate change, how do we click-bait you? Maybe call the project Dossier Regarding OzoNE = DRONE?

  • mdblanche

    So people say they support action on climate change when somebody calls them up and asks them. But do they support it enough to take action themselves and to do it without being prompted first?

    • muselet

      I think most people who think climate change is real and important get paralyzed by the immensity of the problem. It’s the old “I’m just one person, what can I do about a global problem?” response.

      Plus, the people and organizations which should be providing tips on what individuals can do, aren’t. Easy for me to say, but the EPA and every environmental organization in the country should be producing PSAs on the subject, buying ads in every medium around, sending telegenic people around to the daytime chat shows and the Sunday yak shows, et bleedin’ cetera.

      It might even be possible to get the unconvinced and the deniers on board by changing the message slightly: hey, here are some ways to save money.

      Or I could be a cockeyed optimist.

      –alopecia

      • mdblanche

        The fear I have about that approach is that it produces support a mile wide and an inch deep. Look at a few years ago when the msm wasn’t blacklisting the issue and even a few Republicans were saying the right thing. There was enough public support for Congress to try and take action with cap and trade, but not enough to get it passed. And when it failed, climate change fell off the agenda and only a few people even noticed. If we’re relying on a top-down approach, then the administration’s behind the scenes executive orders are probably the best we can get. I hope it’s enough.