Global warming polarizes politics

Concern over the climate crisis amongst more conservative Americans is at its lowest point, while progressive and moderate Americans are increasingly worried about the impacts of climate change.

Conducted by Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communication, the report found that:

  • Most registered voters (70%) think global warming is happening, including 95% of liberal Democrats, 87% of moderate/conservative Democrats, and 63% of liberal/moderate Republicans. Only 38% of conservative Republicans think global warming is happening.

  • A majority of registered voters (55%) think global warming is caused mostly by human activities. This includes 86% of liberal Democrats, 71% of moderate/conservative Democrats, but fewer than half of liberal/moderate Republicans (46%), and only 21% of conservative Republicans.

  • Six in ten registered voters (61%) are worried about global warming, including 93% of liberal Democrats (an increase of five percentage points since our March 2018 survey), 81% of moderate/conservative Democrats, and 54% of liberal/moderate Republicans. Only about one in five conservative Republicans (21%) are worried, a nine-point decrease since March 2018.

Respondents to the program’s survey were asked how much they support different strategies on tackling the climate crisis, with the vast majority supporting investments in renewable energy (87%), regulating pollution (82%) and taxing pollution (72%).

Majorities of registered voters also support more specific policies to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy. These include:

  • A Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax. Described as: “Requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to reduce other taxes (such as income tax) by an equal amount (67% of registered voters, 85% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, and 46% of Republicans).

  • Fee and Dividend. Described as: “Requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a fee on carbon pollution, and distributing the money collected to all U.S. citizens, in equal amounts, through monthly dividend checks” (59% of registered voters, 75% of Democrats, 58% of Independents, and 41% of Republicans).

  • The Clean Power Plan. Described as: “Setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, even if the cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase” (69% of registered voters, 87% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 50% of Republicans).

The full report can be found here

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