Majority of Americans Support Federal Action on Climate Change

An overwhelming majority of Americans not only believe in global warming, but they think it is being made worse by human behavior and they want the government to do something about it, according to a new poll by Stanford University’s Political Psychological Research Group. The results are significant because of tomorrow’s vote on a controversial amendment offered by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would, for all intents and purposes, strip away the EPA’s authority to regulate global warming pollution.

Why is that a big deal for the people who are working to restore the Great Lakes? Because left unchecked, rising temperatures will wreak havoc on the Great Lakes, creating new problems such as lower lake levels, and exacerbating existing threats, such as sewage overflows and habitat destruction. For the millions of people who rely on the Great Lakes, it is imperative that the nation work aggressively to confront global warming pollution.

Restoring the Great Lakes will also help buffer the impacts of rising temperatures. Restoring the Lakes will help restore the Lakes’ natural resiliency—their immune system. Healthy lakes will be better able to withstand some of the changes that climate change will bring in the coming years as the nation works to tackle global warming.

The new survey offers some hope that the American public understands the severity of climate change and wants action now.

The survey found that 74 percent of respondents thought the earth’s temperature had most likely been heating up over the last century; 75 percent said human behavior was substantially responsible for the warming; and an overwhelming 86 percent said they want the federal government to limit the amount of air pollution that businesses emit. In particular, 76 percent would like to see government limit business’s emissions of greenhouse gases.

The poll also asked people to respond to some of the main arguments being used by opponents to undermine climate change legislation. The survey found that only 18 percent thought unemployment would rise if the government was to act to reduce global warming; barely 20 percent thought action on climate change would harm the economy. A minority of respondents thought that the United States shouldn’t take action unless China, India and other industrial countries choose to do so.

The fossil fuel industry has spent millions of dollars fighting climate change legislation and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the general public. This poll found that 72 percent of Americans think that the majority of business leaders don’t want the federal government to take action to stop global warming. They will, most likely, then believe that any vote to eliminate greenhouse gas regulations is a vote for big industry and paid for by big industry, according to Jon Korsnick, a professor of communication, political science and psychology at Stanford.
The new survey makes it clear that being in Murkowski’s camp is not a place where elected representatives want to be right now–not with the anti-Washington sentiment spilling over into primary races across the nation.

The survey questioned more than 1,000 people and it was paid for by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Stanford University.

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