Sunday June 12th 2011

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Majority of Americans say we should do whatever it takes to protect the environment

A new survey titled “Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology” (pdf) from the Pew Resarch Center shows that public support for the environment and alternative energy sources is strong on both sides of the political scale in America.

When it comes to the question about energy priorities for America there is a strong consensus. A majority wants the US to invest in renewable energy sources such as wind, hydrogen and solar instead of expanding the oil, natural gas and coal sector.

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) say developing alternative sources such as wind, solar and hydrogen technology should be the more important priority for addressing America’s energy supply; 29% say expanding exploration and production of oil, coal and natural gas should be the more important priority.”

Some findings that didn’t really surprise anyone was the result that right-wing libertarians and conservatives doesn’t like environmental regulations while being more supportive of corporations. While 39% of the general public agree with the statement that “stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy” as many as 79% of libertarians agree on that.

“Staunch Conservatives and Libertarians are the only groups in which majorities say the U.S. has gone too far in its efforts to protect the environment. In all other groups – including Main Street Republicans and the GOP-leaning Disaffecteds – most say that this country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment.”

The only ones who rather want to see more investments in the fossil fuel industry than the development of renewable energy sources are “staunch conservatives”. Libertarians also misses a majority agreement on this issue.

“Staunch Conservatives are the only group in which a majority says expanding oil, coal and natural gas should be the priority; fully 72% say this should be the focus, while just 15% would emphasize alternative energy sources.”

When it comes to the question of global warming you can still, unfortunately, see that it “remains a deeply partisan issue”. A majority of the public says there is evidence that the global temperature is rising and that the climate is changing.

“Overall, 58% of the public says there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades while 34% say there is no solid evidence of warming. Just over a third (36%) say this warming is mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels, while 18% say it is mostly because of natural patterns in the earth’s environment.”

But what is more interesting, and satisfying to read, is that 71% of Americans believe the USA “should do whatever it takes to protect the environment”. And 59% believe strongly in that.

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This article was originally posted on the Green Blog under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.