A new research report conducted at Yale is out today and it details the fact that, despite the global economic meltdown, over 90 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. should act rapidly to combat global warming, including 34 percent who feel the U.S. should make a large-scale effort even if it costs a lot of money.
Americans overwhelmingly support calls for a comprehensive set of climate change and energy policies, including funding for research on renewable energy (92%); tax rebates for people buying fuel-efficient vehicles or solar panels (85%); and regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant (80%).
The study [PDF], entitled "Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans' Climate Change Beliefs, Attitudes, Policy Preferences, and Actions," was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication -- both of which are objective professional groups known for their cautious approach to opinion research. The study authors surveyed over 2,000 Americans last fall to extrapolate the nationwide figures.
Highlighting the increasingly powerful role of consumer activism in pressuring companies to take bold steps forward, the researchers found that roughly half of Americans are willing to reward or punish companies for their climate change-related activities. However, two-thirds of those consumers surveyed said they did not know which companies to target, posing a barrier to effective consumer advocacy campaigns.