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National Polling: American Electorate Sees Effects Of Climate Change And Wants Action

Nov. 18, 2013 | KUOW
CONTRIBUTED BY:
Ashley Ahearn


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  • Professor Jon Krosnick of Stanford University has combined national survey data from the past decade on climate change. credit: Stanford University
Professor Jon Krosnick of Stanford University has combined national survey data from the past decade on climate change. | credit: Stanford University | rollover image for more

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More than 9,000 delegates from almost 200 countries are gathered in the Warsaw, Poland for U.N. meetings aimed at forging a new treaty to fight climate change, which would go into effect in 2020. But over this past weekend negotiations around international carbon markets to cut greenhouse gas emissions broke down as developing nations demanded that rich nations step up efforts to cut their emissions - rich nations like the United States.

And it seems, from some new polling data released from Stanford University, that residents of this nation not only believe that the global climate is warming, but also want action from the U.S. government on climate change.

Professor Jon Krosnick and Stanford University Visiting Scholar Bo MacInnis combined the results of national surveys over the past decade of Americans’ opinions about climate change in 46 states. Their methodology made statistical adjustments to account for differences in survey methodologies and changes in public opinion over time. The press release does not show data from the original surveys. Instead it only shares the questions that were asked of survey participants.

Watch the video of Krosnick’s presentation of the data to the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change:

According to the survey:

  • The vast majority of Americans acknowledge the science and believe that climate change has been happening. In every state surveyed, at least 75 percent of the population acknowledges the existence of climate change.

  • The majority of Americans believe that the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. industry. In every state surveyed (for which there was adequate data), at least two-thirds (67 percent) of the population believes that the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. businesses.

  • The majority of Americans support action to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, including regulations or tax breaks. In every state surveyed (for which there was adequate data), at least 62 percent of the population supports taking action to cut carbon pollution from power plants, including regulations or tax breaks.

“What Dr. Krosnick shows us is a huge disconnect between what Americans think about climate change and how their representatives are voting in the Congress,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.,

“Are we an institution that is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’ or are we an institution that is of the polluters, by the polluters and for the polluters because this polling makes absolutely clear where the people stand.” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Here’s a map that shows the data, state by state.

And from our region:

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Screen shot 2013-11-18 at 9.27.29 AM

- Ashley Ahearn

© 2013 KUOW
public opinion Waypoints Stanford University climate change greenhouse gas emissions national poll
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