"Belief" in climate change is rising again, after reaching a low point over the past couple of years.
Could it be the 15,000 record-breaking temperatures this March? Or the "never before seen" tornadoes? Or devastating droughts in Texas and the Southwest? We’ve even got forest fires on Long Island this week – there’s been no rain for months and there was no snow this winter.
62% of Americans now believe that man-made climate change is occurring, according to the biannual National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, commissioned by the Brookings Institute.
That’s up from the low of 50% in spring 2010, but it’s still far down from the 75% who believed it in 2008.
A majority of Americans (65%) also want mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions, but there’s still a partison divide. 82% of Democrats favor it, but only 50% of Republicans do, according to the latest Gallup poll.
The conclusion: The GOP is not representing the public in its outright denial of climate change and related action. GOP lawmakers oppose carbon emissions controls much more than their constituents.
Last year, the GOP-dominated House passed legislation that would strip EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. There’s no chance at passing the Clean Energy Standard that’s been introduced, and certainly not cap-and-trade, which originated as a Republican proposal.
84% of Democrats support spending more federal money to develop wind and solar, compared to 51% of Republicans. And 65% support opening more federal land for oil exploration (84% of Republicans, 49% of Democrats).
And 64% want stronger enforcement of environmental regulations – 80% percent of Democrats and 47% of Republicans.
The results are similar for tougher emissions standards for automobiles and biofuels.