Americans support U.S. engaging globally on climate
As President Joe Biden prepares to host world leaders for a virtual climate summit this week, most Americans continue to think climate change needs to be addressed urgently, and eight in ten would have the U.S. be at least part of an international response to do so, including those who want the U.S. to lead such an effort. Almost half think the U.S. should lead, and another third would have the U.S. take part if other countries respond too.
Can Fighting Climate Change Be Good Economics?
Arguments about the environment through the years have often been framed as strict tradeoffs between either helping it or helping the economy. Naturally, that's reflected in a lot of our old poll questions over four decades of surveys, with a steady run of climate-or-costs-types of choices offered; would you pick the environment or the jobs? But for those urging more climate action today — and certainly for gauging some of the Biden administration's recent arguments — a key public opinion test may have shifted: now it may be whether people think action could also be good economics.
The answer, we found, is mixed. On one hand, more people say efforts to fight climate change help the economy than hurt it — and by double digits.
Climate Change and a Pandemic Year
Americans almost uniformly say climate change is happening, though some differences — often political — remain over the extent to which humans affect it. A year of lockdowns and millions working from home during the pandemic did, in the view of many, help lessen the impact on the environment, particularly among those who think humans at least contribute to climate problems. But that has not changed Americans' majority view that climate change needs to be addressed right away.
What Drives Views on Electric Cars?
Americans' collective thinking on electric cars is a bit... middle of the road. A third of people say they'd consider buying an electric vehicle (EV), while another third say they might. Just over a third would not. By contrast most would still consider a traditional gasoline-powered one. But behind that, we find views coming from very different places.
What do Americans think can be done on climate?
CBS News polling shows that Americans are concerned about climate change and most want it to be addressed right away, but what do people think can realistically be done about it?
We asked Americans to weigh in on a few measures being proposed, asking specifically whether they think these goals are realistically achievable or not.
Public opinion is mixed, and views are shaped by political partisanship, as well as by broader views of climate change — the more urgent people think it is, the more optimistic they are about achieving these objectives.
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