Public Attitudes, Knowledge, and Values Around the Climate

"The Energy Learning Curve", a Public Agenda poll, and additional polling data show America's changing attitude to climate action.
The Energy Learning Curve, report cover

The Energy Learning Curve, a Public Agenda Poll "finds the American people reaching common ground on at least 10 major energy proposals, particularly on alternative energy".

Americans are still unsure:

36% say in Fall 2009 there is solid evidence the Earth is warming as a result of human activity. [2]
said so in Spring 2008. [2]

65% say global warming is a serious problem.  [2]
73% said so in Spring 2008. [2]

23% could identify that “cap and trade” legislation has to do with either energy or environment. [2]

But we are ready to act:

75% favor government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, cars, and factories. [3]

59% favor the U.S. taking action on global warming, even if other countries like China and India do less. [3]

41% of those who believe warming is due to natural causes still support limits to climate emissions. [2]

We support policies that can get us there:

75% favor requiring developers to build more energy-efficient homes even if it increases prices. [1]

78% favor higher mileage standards for cars, trucks, and SUVs.  [1]

84% favor investing in railways to make shipping more fuel efficient. [1]

78% favor higher emissions and pollution standards for business. [1]

71% favor spending tax money on public transit. [1]

56% favor prioritizing conservation and regulation on energy use and prices. [1]

And we’re ready to change our lives:

78% are willing to cut back on leisure driving. [1]

64% are willing to have a 55-mph speed limit. [1]

44%  are willing to use public transit. [1]

40% are willing  to walk or bike. [1]

60% are willing to pay more for electricity from renewable sources. [1]

1. Public Agenda “” based on a January 15-30, 2009 poll.

2. Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, , Sept 30-Oct. 4, 2009.

3. ABC News/Washington Post Poll, June 18-21, 2009 via .

: Coming from different starting points, the public sees similar solutions.
A Public Agenda report by Scott Bittle, Jonathan Rochkind and Amber Ott.

: How Do Citizens and Experts See the Energy Issue?
A Public Agenda report by Will Friedman, McKenna Morrigan and Alison Kadlec.

A new worldwide poll on climate change reflects a global consensus for urgent action—and sets a precedent for deliberative democracy at the international level.


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