Poll: Americans still sharply split on global warming
Americans remain deeply polarized on climate change, but broadly support increased reliance on solar and wind energy, a new poll has found. The partisan split extends "across a host of beliefs about the expected effects of climate change, actions...
Americans remain deeply polarized on climate change, but broadly support increased reliance on solar and wind energy, a new poll has found.
The partisan split extends “across a host of beliefs about the expected effects of climate change, actions that can address changes to the Earth’s climate, and trust and credibility in the work of climate scientists,” the nonpartisan Pew Research Center survey reported.
“People on the ideological ends of either party - that is, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans - see the world through vastly different lenses across all of these judgments,” the report found.
The Pew survey is one of the most comprehensive independent polls documenting attitudes on global warming in recent years.
It found 76 percent of liberal Democrats said that cuts in power plant pollution can make a big difference in addressing climate change, while 29 percent of conservative Republicans agreed.
Similarly wide gaps emerged between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans on whether other policies can make a big difference: an international agreement to limit carbon emissions; tougher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks; and corporate tax incentives to encourage businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.
Pew’s findings portend grueling political struggles ahead as the next president and Congress grapple with climate change, which President Barack Obama views as humanity’s greatest long-term threat.
Facing resistance from Republicans in Congress, Obama has used his executive powers to try to curb global warming by, among other things, mandating cuts in pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has vowed to press forward with his climate agenda and build upon it.
Her GOP rival, Donald Trump, rejects science showing that carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is warming the Earth and endangering civilization. If he is elected, he plans to withdraw the U.S. from the nearly worldwide Paris climate treaty mandating reductions in carbon emissions and lift all Obama administration restraints on the burning of coal, oil and gas.
Pew found wide partisan divides on the potential for environmental devastation from climate change, and what might be done about it.
But across the political spectrum, large majorities back expansion of solar panel and wind turbine farms - 83 percent of conservative Republicans and 97 percent of liberal Democrats. The poll also found widespread agreement on expanding wind energy.