Americans want limits on CO2, but vote for climate deniers

  • Published on November 21st, 2014

By Meteor Blades

A poll conducted by Yale’s Project on Climate Change Communication has found 67 percent of Americans favor federal regulations to limit carbon emissions from power plants even if that means paying more for their electricity.

That meshes somewhat with the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll asking what Americans think the new Congress should do. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed support addressing climate change by limiting carbon emissions.

These results ought to be welcome news for regulators. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to implement its final rules on reducing emissions from new power plants in June. At the same time, it is slated to issue draft final rules for existing power plants.

Just one problem, however. Despite those polls, voters have chosen to elect a large number of people to Congress who don’t accept the science of climate change or at least pretend not to for fundraising and stump-speech purposes. There’s an even larger number of them in thrall to a Republican leadership determined to do all it can to stop the emissions rules from being imposed. If they could get away with it, they’d nail all the doors shut at the EPA.

And that opposition is against rules that some eco-advocates say don’t go far enough.

The Yale survey also found that the majority of Americans support other actions that could have an ameliorative impact on climate change:

• Increasing funding for improvements to local roads, bridges and buildings to make them more resistant to extreme weather (83 percent)• Funding more research into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power (77 percent)

• Providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (77 percent)

• Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (75 percent)

• Requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year (62 percent)

That sounds like a slice of a progressive platform, although it would have been helpful to see what the support level is for assisting Americans who would like to see all these things done but can’t afford an extra $100 a year for electricity.

If only we could get this majority of Americans who claim to favor such programs to choose candidates who would implement them (or expand existing ones). If only we could get more candidates to assign such programs a priority higher than #31 on their to-do-if-elected list. But Republican lawmakers are intransigent in this matter and a large cohort of Democrats are chickenshits about it. They seem to think that taking no serious action on climate change is no worse than failing to fix a pothole.

(Originally published at DailyKos. Image courtesy of Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.)

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