Survey Finds Most Republicans Seek Action on Climate Change
By Andrew C. Revkin It’s time for that national “listening tour” on energy and climate, President Obama. Some evidence comes in a new survey from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University (seen via Tom Yulsman on Facebook). Here’s an excerpt from the news release: In a recent survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents conducted by the Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) at George Mason University, a majority of respondents (62 percent) said they feel America should take steps to address climate change. More than three out of four survey respondents (77 percent) said the United States should use more renewable energy sources, and of those, most believe that this change should begin immediately. The national survey, conducted in January 2013, asked more than 700 people who self-identified as Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents about energy and climate change. “Over the past few years, our surveys have shown that a growing number of Republicans want to see Congress do more to address climate change,” said Mason professor Edward Maibach, director of 4C. “In this survey, we asked a broader set of questions to see if we could better understand how Republicans, and Independents who have a tendency to vote Republican, think about America’s energy and climate change situation.” The reason a listening tour is the next step, and not a pre-packaged batch of legislation or other steps, is to build on the common ground across a wide range of Americans on energy thrift, innovation and fair play (meaning policies that distort the playing field, with mandated corn ethanol production and tax breaks for fossil fuel companies prime examples). This might even lead to a new sense of mission in this country, something that’s been lacking since the cold war and space race. In Mother Jones, Chris Mooney has an interesting spin on the survey, noting that the way global warming was framed probably had an impact on the level of buy-in on the questions. It’s been clear for years that there are ways around the familiar partisan roadblocks on climate-smart energy policies. In 2009, the “Six Americas” survey by the same George Mason researchers and counterparts at Yale revealed this clearly. I distilled those findings into three slides here. Here’s a bit more on the survey from the George Mason Web site: This short report is based on a January 2013 national survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents. We found that they prefer clean energy as the basis of America’s energy future and say the benefits of clean energy, such as energy independence (66%) saving resources for our children and grandchildren (57%), and providing a better life for our children and grandchildren (56%) outweigh the costs, such as more government regulation (42%) or higher energy prices (31%). By a margin of 2 to 1, respondents say America should take action to reduce our fossil fuel use. Also, only one third of respondents agree with the Republican Party’s position on climate change, while about half agree with the party’s position on how to meet America’s energy needs. You can download the report here: A National Survey of Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents on Energy and Climate Change. This article originally appeared on The New York Times.