Whatever your political view - and this has nothing to do with the elections - here's some happy climate-related news from the USA.
Courtesy of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC), they highlight some positive trends in public opinion on global warming. As there is so little debate in America about the environment in mainstream media, combined with the general assumption that Trump's climate denial was adopted by his supporters, it's fantastic news to discover that this general impression is wrong. So, here's some bite-sized chunks of extremely heartening news:
Despite Donald Trump’s high-profile climate denial, a whopping 72 percent of Americans accept that global warming is happening. Even in denialist strongholds like West Virginia, where governor Jim Justice is a former coal mogul and has denounced initiatives to fight climate change, nearly three-fifths of the state’s residents accept the unequivocal scientific consensus. In Democratic hotspots like Washington, D.C., that number climbs as high as 83 percent.
Americans who are alarmed about the climate crisis outnumber deniers by a wider margin than ever before, and YPCCC data shows that the general population wants the country to take action. According to its surveys, American adults are surprisingly united in their desire for a range of climate regulations and policies.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Americans overwhelmingly support government subsidies for energy-efficient cars and solar panels. In 2020, an incredible 82 percent of the country’s adults voiced support for these climate-related tax rebates - and in no state did public support fall below 78 percent.
Another happy finding of the YPCC: Americans aren’t averse to regulating coal and other fossil fuel companies for their outsize contribution to the climate crisis. (Just 20 fossil fuel companies are responsible for more than one-third of all the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.) Sixty-eight percent of adults support levying a carbon tax on fossil fuel companies while equally reducing other taxes, and the same fraction wants to impose strict CO2 limits on existing coal-fired power plants.
Just as Americans are united behind climate action, they also agree there are some things we definitely should not do to exacerbate global warming. Even though the Trump administration in April moved ahead with plans to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s 19 million acres to oil drilling, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans oppose those plans.
Most people surveyed supported climate action across the board - including from local officials and state governors. But an especially strong majority of adults said they specifically wanted Congress (60 percent), corporations (70 percent), and, notably, the president (60 percent) to do more to address climate change.
Hopefully, come 20 January 2021, the 60 percent of Americans in that last category will get their wish.