Energy & Environment

Poll: Most Americans want government to fight climate change

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More than 6 in 10 Americans believe that climate change is a problem that the federal government needs to address, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted in August by The Associated Press-NORC Center and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, found a large majority of Americans in both major parties believe that climate change is happening.

But Americans’ opinions are less clear when it comes to what action they feel should be taken.


Just 51 percent of respondents were willing to pay $1 a month to combat global warming, a figure that dropped to 18 percent when the prospective monthly fee increased to $100.

“These results put the polarized climate debate in sharp relief, but also point to the possibility of a path forward,” Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Policy Institute, said in a statement accompanying its Monday release.

“Although half of households said they were unwilling to pay anything for a carbon policy in their monthly electricity bills, on average Americans would pay about $30 per month, as a meaningful share of households report that they are willing to pay a substantial amount,” he said.

“So, while the raw economics appears to be less and less of a problem, the open question is whether it is feasible to devise a robust climate policy that accommodates these very divergent viewpoints.”

Opinions were not entirely clear on hot-button climate policy issues, either.

Only 17 percent of respondents said they support fracking. But if the pollster said it would save the respondent significantly on natural gas bill, support averaged 41 percent.

The poll also found that significant numbers of Americans do not have opinions on the Clean Power Plan, the Dakota Access pipeline or the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

But 41 percent of respondents said they opposed Trump’s plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration policy meant to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

Tags Climate change
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