America Speaks Out on Global Warming, But Is Washington Listening?

Sixty-one percent believe it is 'very to extremely' important for their government leaders to require higher fuel efficiency standards in automobiles.

Published: 17-Jan-2007

WASHINGTON -- Americans are setting the Global Warming agenda for the nation’s leaders if they’re willing to listen, and topping the list of solutions are energy efficiency and renewable energy, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Earth Day Network. The poll also shows that Americans are worried about global warming -- 58% say global warming will have a "great to extreme" impact on their children’s future and two out of three agree it will adversely impact the U.S. economy over the next ten years.

The poll of 1020 adults, taken Oct. 26-29, also found a majority of Americans (61%) believe it is "very to extremely" important for their government leaders to require higher fuel efficiency standards in automobiles, and nearly half say it is that important for oil companies to be taxed for their contributions to global warming. "Americans are worried about their kids, the economy and even national security because it’s linked to our dependence on foreign oil," said EDN President Kathleen Rogers. "Our poll confirms that climate change is growing as a major concern for the average American and those who have made personal changes to address the problem are voting for candidates who actively address global warming, but it also shows that we have some more educating to do at every level -- all the way up to Capitol Hill."

Key poll results include:

More than half of Americans, 55%, say it would be "very to extremely" beneficial to national security to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, compared to only 12% who see little or no benefit at all,30% who fall somewhere in between and 3% who don’t know. (See pgs. 36 & 37)When asked to rate the importance of six solutions being considered by government leaders to solve global warming, the greatest percentage, 61%, chose higher fuel efficiency standards, followed by 55% who selected higher energy efficiency requirements for electronics and appliances and tax breaks for industries which invest in renewable energy. (See pgs. 7, 14, & 20)Of those who say higher taxes are a "very to extremely" important solution to global warming, 49% support a tax on oil companies -- more than twice those who don’t (21%) and 39% support a tax on gas guzzlers. (See pgs. 7, 14, & 20)A majority of Americans, 58%, say global warming will have a great to extreme impact on their children’s future. 42% say the same about their family’s health and welfare and slightly less, 39%, say the same about their own health and welfare. (See pg. 27)When considering the impacts of global warming, the vast majority of Americans, 61%, are most concerned about the impact on the health and safety of people, compared to 18% who are most concerned about the impact on wildlife, such as polar bears in the Antarctic, and 15% who are most concerned about the impact on economies. (See pg. 35)Approximately two out of three Americans agree that the U.S. economy will be adversely impacted over the next ten years by global warming. (See pg. 24)A majority of Americans, 57%, agree that religious and faith groups should take a stand on global warming, compared to 41% who disagree and 2% who don’t know. But less than half (45%) say their own convictions -- moral, ethical or religious -- compel them to solve global warming by changing their own personal habits. Of those who would, most have already purchased energy efficient products and services, reduced their auto emissions and voted for candidates who actively address global warming. (See pgs. 21, 22, & 23)This national probability survey has a standard error of measurement of plus or minus 3%. The survey was performed by Opinion Research Corporation, , the company which has conducted many of the recent political polls for CNN.

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