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New Poll: Strong Support for Clean Energy, CO2 Regulated as Pollutant

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University released their most recent survey this week:

The Yale survey, “Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in April 2013,” dates back to 2008 and is an important barometer for public opinion on clean energy and climate issues.

In general, this year’s survey finds that support for prioritizing clean energy remains high, albeit with a recent dip, due in part to the increasing polarization of the American electorate.

Still, strong majorities support renewable energy and regulation carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Here is more from what’s in the report, by the numbers:

    • 87 percent say President Obama and Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a priority.
  • While there are some programs at the federal level that have aided the development of clean energy and transportation, such overwhelming support shows that the government could and should do more. After all, fossil fuel extractors make bad neighbors. Some states are getting the message and clean energy development creates jobs. Colorado recently moved to strengthen its Clean Energy Standard. Other states’ clean energy sectors face threats. North Carolina has been fighting off efforts to repeal its clean energy standard this year (that fortunately failed).
    • 70 percent say global warming should be a priority for the President and Congress.
    • 59 percent think the U.S. should cut greenhouse gas emissions on its own — even if other countries do not.
  • 33 countries and 18 sub-national jurisdictions will price carbon in 2013. This comprises 850 million people and nearly a third of the global economy. China has a pilot carbon trading program in 7 cities and provinces, and is seriously considering an absolute cap on its carbon emissions. The EU has had one for years. The ball is in America’s court, and there are some easy solutions to pursue.
    • 70 percent think industry should be doing more to address global warming, and 52 percent think the President should.
    • 68 percent want to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
  • Putting a price on carbon finds support in unexpected quarters, such as conservative economists, prominent Republicans, and large corporations.
    • 61 percent want to regulate it through a carbon tax on fossil fuel companies that pays down the debt.
  • Other polls have found similar support for putting a price on carbon as a way of paying down the debt — yet even larger majorities support making clean energy a priority. The Congressional Budget Office recently released a report making the budgetary case that doing nothing about climate change will cost more than spending money now to regulate carbon.
    • 59 percent want to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies.
    • 55 percent support requiring utilities to produce more than 20 percent renewable power, even if it costs more.
    • 50 percent have not heard of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Were your opinions reflected in the poll?

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