A strong majority of U.S. adults (72 percent) affirmed that climate change is taking place, with 61 percent saying the U.S. government should be working to address climate change.
These are two findings from a recent poll conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Among those who affirmed the reality of climate change, 40 percent said it was “caused mostly by human activities,” and 15 percent said it was “caused entirely by human activities.”
By comparison, 32 percent said climate change was “caused equally by human activities and natural changes in the environment,” 11 percent “caused mostly by natural changes in the environment” and 2 percent “caused entirely by natural changes in the environment.”
When posed with a hypothetical situation of having a fee added to their electrical bill to help address climate change impacts, a bare majority (51 percent) said they would support a $1 per month.
Higher monthly fees received lower levels of support – $10 (39 percent approval), $20 (27 percent), $40 (31 percent), $75 (12 percent) and $100 (18 percent).
Public sentiment toward the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement was mixed, with 42 percent somewhat / strongly opposed to the decision, 28 percent somewhat / strongly supporting, and 28 percent neither supporting or opposing. The remaining 2 percent said they didn’t know or declined to respond.
Despite the mixed reaction to U.S. involvement in the international agreement, a majority (57 percent) of U.S. adults “strongly or somewhat support local governments taking action to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.”
A similar majority (55 percent) said local governments should be doing “somewhat or much more” than they are at the present.
By comparison, 10 percent somewhat or strongly oppose local government action to address emissions, and 10 percent said local government should be doing much or somewhat less than they are currently.
“Public opinion around many energy issues tends to be fluid, with people often defaulting to partisan starting points. But this survey shows an opportunity for consensus building through discussion and debate,” said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center, in a press release announcing the survey’s findings. “Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans agree that climate change is happening, and there are signs that consensus could happen on other issues too.”