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This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including a new edition of Yale and George Mason's long-running "Climate Change in the American Mind" study that focuses on the politics and policy of climate change, as well as lots of new polling on gas stoves.
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on the Justice40 initiative and environmental justice, new polling on Americans’ climate concerns, and a new study on the language used to describe climate pollution.
People continue to underestimate how much others around them care about climate change. Changing seasonal weather patterns have influenced most Americans’ levels of climate concern. 72% of Americans are concerned about climate change, including 42% who are “very” concerned about the issue. But just 52% say that people around them are concerned. 54% say that changing seasonal weather patterns influences their climate concern, and 45% say the learning more about climate change increases their concern. 4 in 10 Americans don’t know what their local community is doing about climate change.
Voters widely agree that “environmental justice” is important when the concept is explained to them. Voters also generally support the Justice40 initiative, despite disagreements on how to implement it. 77% of voters say that it’s important for lawmakers to consider environmental justice in creating environmental laws after reading a brief definition of the term “environmental justice,” including 42% who say it’s “very” important for lawmakers to consider environmental justice. Voters support the Justice40 initiative by a 54%-33% margin after reading a brief description of it.
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new national polling on the Inflation Reduction Act, national polling on the Farm Bill, polling in Michigan about climate action at the state level, and a new survey of U.S. mayors about climate policy.
Michigan voters are eager for climate action at the state level, and overwhelmingly support policies to guarantee clean water and protect communities of color. 65% of Michigan voters agree that state policymakers should support policies that encourage more use of clean energy like wind and solar. 62% of Michigan voters agree that state policymakers need to do more to combat climate change. 61% of Michigan voters support a limit on carbon emissions in Michigan that would decline over time, reaching a 50% net reduction in emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
Voters want the Farm Bill reauthorized with more environmental protections and incentives for sustainability. 83% of voters agree that farmers have a responsibility to reduce harmful pollutants reaching U.S. rivers, lakes, and oceans. 76% of voters agree that the government should encourage farmers to use climate-friendly practices. 76% of voters support increasing the total farm subsidies or aid that farmers can receive as part of the Farm Bill reauthorization if they implement more sustainable practices. 72% of voters support a federal research program as part of the Farm Bill reauthorization to help farmers understand how to move to more climate-friendly farming practices.
Mayors across the country are worried about climate impacts in their cities and agree that cities have a major role to play in addressing the climate crisis. But, they are reluctant to put bans or restrictions on individual behaviors. 73% agree that cities should be willing to expend resources and incur costs to address climate change, and 8-in-10 of those who agree say they are motivated by a “desire to do our part” irrespective of where climate impacts happen. However, there are notable partisan differences with 87% of Democratic mayors agreeing with the need to make significant financial investments in climate action compared to 43% of Republicans. While sizable, this partisan gap has closed since 2019 due to a growing share of Republicans agreeing that the investment is necessary. Mayors cite their city’s influence over building codes (55%) and zoning (38%) as their top two most powerful climate tools. In contrast, very few mayors (8%) cite their authority to ban or limit behaviors as a top tool, suggesting they are not equally bullish about all regulatory powers. Mayors are reluctant to impose restrictions on gas stoves, gas lawn tools, and gas and oil heat, or to try to dissuade residents from driving.
It’s better to prioritize policies and messaging to “make our future housing stock cleaner, healthier and safer and electrify our lives with abundance,” rather than banning gas stoves, which makes people think of sacrifice and should be avoided. Further, in telling a political narrative about the issue, blame the producer, not the consumer. It’s also important to remember that while we need to transition off dependence on gas heating and gas use in homes, changing home cooking will accomplish a tiny portion of our carbon pollution goal—it shouldn’t become the centerpiece of climate messaging.
Voters continue to support the Inflation Reduction Act by wide margins when they learn about it, but only around half of voters (53%) have heard much about it. Voters support the Inflation Reduction Act by a 43-point margin (66% support / 23% oppose) after reading a brief, one-sentence description of it. Despite Republican attacks on increased IRS funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, more than two in five Republicans continue to support the plan (41%).