61 percent Americans want government to curb climate change: Survey

Seven in 10 Republicans and nearly all Democrats who believe climate change is happening to think the government needs to take action, the findings showed. 

Published: 03rd October 2017 12:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd October 2017 12:42 PM   |  A+A-

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WASHINGTON: Despite the US pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, a new survey has revealed that 61 percent of Americans think climate change is a problem that the government needs to address.

Seventy-two percent of Americans believe climate change is happening, including 85 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Republicans, revealed the survey from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Seven in 10 Republicans and nearly all Democrats who believe climate change is happening to think the government needs to take action, the findings showed. 

When asked about key climate policy decisions, the largest shares of Americans said they oppose the repeal of the Clean Power Plan and the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

"These results put the polarised climate debate in sharp relief, but also point to the possibility of a path forward," said Michael Greenstone, director of EPIC and Professor at the University of Chicago. 

While many Americans favour policies that would help the country lower emissions, questions on how much they would personally be willing to pay to confront climate change (in the form of a monthly fee on their electric bill) revealed great disparity. 

While half are unwilling to pay even one dollar, 18 percent are willing to pay at least $100 per month.

"Although half of the households said they were unwilling to pay anything for a carbon policy in their monthly electricity bills, on average Americans would pay about $30 per month, as a meaningful share of households report that they are willing to pay a substantial amount," Greenstone said.

gWhat is particularly striking is that it's projected to cost less than $30 per person to pay for climate damages from the electricity sector. So, while the raw economics appears to be less and less of a problem, the open question is whether it is feasible to devise a robust climate policy that accommodates these very divergent viewpoints," Greenstone added. 

Interviews for this survey were conducted between August 17 and 21, 2017, with adults age 18 and over representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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