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Americans’ Christmas Eve wishes for a Clean Energy Future

December 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Hidden among the hustle and bustle of Americans’ preparations for Christmas, with snowstorms disrupting travel (and giving climate confusers another opportunity to proclaim “its cold and snowing today, therefore global warming isn’t real), the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) released poll results showing strong public support for clean energy and action on climate change.

  • Strikingly, 82 percent voters and 80 percent of Independents support the U.S. government increasing investment in clean energy sources.
  • 67 percent of voters and 67 percent of Independents support the U.S. government limiting carbon pollution and other gases that may cause global warming.

According to this poll (pdf), more than two-thirds of registered voters understand that global warming is occurring while only 31 percent reject the data about global temperature changes in their mistaken belief that the climate is changing.  Sadly, the poll provides another data point about the glaring partisan divide when it comes to respect for and understanding of science:

  • Over 90% of Democrats understand that global temperatures are warming, 8% don’t believe the science
  • A strong majority of Independents (64%) understand the scientific conclusions while a third (32%) don’t believe the scientific community
  • Sadly, a majority of Republicans (54%) fail to believe the National Academy of Sciences (among other scientific institutions) while  43% acknowledge the scientific conclusions about changing global temperatures

Of course, this is simply a question of the basic “is the globe warming” and doesn’t address public understanding of humanity’s role in driving current climate change.

A far larger majority supports government policies and actions to promote a clean energy future.

  • 82% of voters (and 80% of Independents) support the U.S. government “increasing investment in clean energy sources.”
  • 67% of voters (and 67% of Independents) support the U.S. government “limiting carbon pollution and other gases that may cause global warming.”
  • 66% of voters (and 63% of Independents) support “signing an international treaty to commit to addressing global warming – as long as countries like China and India do as well.”

As for the last, 56% of voters say “the United States should take the lead and make meaningful reductions in its carbon emissions and other gases that may cause global warming, regardless of what other countries do.” (Note that just 23% of respondents rejected the concept of taking action to reduce carbon pollution.)

This poll also specifically tackled ClimateGate / Swifthack, finding that it “seems to have had little impact on voters’
view of global warming and their desire to limit carbon pollution” (even when they asked a quite aggressive and provocative question taken directly from self-proclaimed “climate skeptics” misrepresenting cherry-picking of the stolen emails).

Note: This poll, sadly, used the term “believe” when it comes to questions of scientific understanding. Perhaps the authors might benefit from reading Polling Science: taking lessons from doing it wrong and Science vs belief.  In addition, analysis and discussion of the poll suffers from access solely to summary material (which, for example, doesn’t provide full text of questions, let alone cross tab information).  To what extent, for example, did the poll provide “educational” information?  The only detailed material is re ClimateGate / Swifthack, where the provided material is likely to confuse people about actual fact, rather than provide for greater understanding.

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Tags: climate change · Energy · Global Warming · politics · research

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ELA // Dec 27, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    <a href=””Solving climate change in a way that uses economics, rather than fights economics, that uses the market, rather than fights the market, that has no freedom restrictions while increasing freedom in terms of solving the problem of otherwise wreaking ecological and biological havoc (or even just bad pollution), and that keeps us from continuing to unwittingly harm indutries and processes which are not environmentally destructive relative to those which are, and which are in effect being subsidized.

  • 2 uberVU - social comments // Jan 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm

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