In the face of massively funded disinformation campaigns, with astroturf organizations like the “Americans Coalition for a Clean-Coal Economy (ACCCE), with Republican politician after politician aggressively misrepresenting information on the benefits of climate action, according to a recent AP/Stanford University poll, a plurality of Americans understands that action to mitigate catastrophic climate change will bring economic benefits.
The AP story opens,
More Americans believe steps taken to reduce global warming pollution will help the U.S. economy than say such measures will hurt it. It’s a sign the public is showing more faith in President Barack Obama’s economic arguments for limiting heat-trapping gases than in Republican claims that the actions would kill jobs.
The November AP/Stanford University poll showed:
- 46% of respondents saw action on climate change boosting the economy
- 40% saw climate climate mitigation action as likely to create jobs
- Less than one-third believed that climate mitigation efforts could hurt the economy.
While this poll showed 75% of respondents supporting climate change action, AP reported that
just as many said they would oppose the cap-and-trade system if it raised their electricity bill by $25 a month. A majority — 59 percent — wouldn’t support cap-and-trade if it meant paying $10 extra a month for electricity.
This suggests that the message of “cost” dominates the discussion, including this poll (and its wording), rather than having a balanced discussion including benefits (which, by the way, include reduced risks of and reduced damage from catastrophic climate change).
Now, as the partisan split deepens on the understanding of climate science, there are Republicans who support a far different approach than what might be heard from many ‘leading’ Republican voices.
Walter Hornbeak, a 67-year-old Republican from Tennessee who built equipment for coal- and nuclear-fired power plants in the 1980s, said, “We have too much imagination to sit there and be stagnant.”
Reducing global warming “would give the private sector the incentive to go out and start investing and finding ways to help more,” Hornbeak said.
Hornbeck shows a belief not just in science, the need for action, but a fundamental belief in America and Americans’ ability to rise to and surmount even the most serious challenge. This belief in America is something that we can hope will infect more of the body politic.
Hat tip to Chris in Paris at AmericaBlog.