Strong majorities of Americans continue to support U.S. involvement in the Paris climate agreement (69%), setting strict limits on carbon pollution from power plants (70%), and expanding our use of renewable energy (81%), according to this post-election national survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Half of registered voters (51%) think policies to transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy will improve the economy, while 27% think such policies will hurt the economy.
new climate resources
Only 28% of Americans think climate scientists understand the causes of global climate change “very well”. Political ideology is the strongest predictor of this viewpoint: 54% of liberal Democrats say climate scientists understand very well the causes of climate change, compared with 11% of conservative Republicans. Just 27% of Americans say that almost all climate scientists agree human behavior is mostly responsible for climate change. 39% of adults trust climate scientists a lot to give full and accurate information about the causes of climate change. Yet despite their skepticism about scientists, 67% of Americans say climate scientists should have a major role in decision making about climate matters.
A majority of conservative voters (~58% in 2016 compared to ~39% in 2012) now favor passing legislation that requires America’s energy companies to generate a greater proportion of power from Alternative Energy sources over the next several years. Although natural gas is viewed as an important part of energy policy in the United States, general support for natural gas and fracking has weakened, even among conservatives, likely as a result of increased awareness and campaigns against fracking. 76% of voters support natural gas in 2016 compared to 91% in 2012, and 42% of voters support fracking in 2016 compared to 50% in 2012. Support for expanding biofuels as part of energy production in the United States has grown significantly while support for nuclear energy has decreased since 2012. Conservative voters view nuclear energy and coal as favorable energy sources, while liberals and moderates have decidedly negative views on nuclear energy and coal.