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According to new survey, Americans support strong climate, energy policies

FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 4, 2010Despite a sharp drop in public concern over global warming, Americansregardless of political affiliationsupport the passage of federal climate and energy policies, according to the results of a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

The survey found support for:

  • Funding more research on renewable energy, such as solar and wind power (85 percent)

  • Tax rebates for people buying fuel-efficient vehicles or solar panels (82 percent)

  • Establishing programs to teach Americans how to save energy (72 percent)

  • Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (71 percent)

  • School curricula to teach children about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to global warming (70 percent)

  • Signing an international treaty that requires the United States to cut emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050 (61 percent)

  • Establishing programs to teach Americans about global warming (60 percent).

"Surprisingly, majorities of both Republicans and Democrats support many of these policies, including renewable energy research, tax rebates, regulating carbon dioxide, and expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change. "Further, majorities in both parties support returning revenues from a cap-and-trade system to American households to offset higher energy costs, perhaps opening a pathway for Congressional action."

Sixty percent of Americans, however, said they have heard "nothing at all" about the cap-and-trade legislation currently being considered by Congress. Only 12 percent had heard "a lot."

When cap and trade is explained, 58 percent support the policy, but this support drops to approximately 40 percent if household energy costs increase by $15 a month, or 50 cents a day. Sixty-six percent s

Contact: Tara Laskowski
George Mason University

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