Encouraging signs on climate change

It has been frustrating to see how climate change denialists cling desperately to their alternative narratives to explain away the scientific data that has led to the consensus that the Earth is warming, that human activity is a major cause, and that we need to take action soon to halt and even reverse the trend if the planet is going to be in decent shape for future generations. But just as creationists are finding it increasingly difficult to discredit evolution despite having support from politicians in the US, there are encouraging signs that the climate science consensus is slowly winning over public support from across the political spectrum. Matthew Nesbitt goes further and argues that the battle for hearts and minds on this issue is in fact over.

According to a December 2018 survey conducted by Yale University, 62 percent of Americans now say that global warming is human-caused, and 72 percent say that global warming is either personally very important or somewhat important to them. When asked, a similar proportion (69 percent) answer that they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming, and about three in 10 (29 percent) are “very worried” about it, the highest level since the question was first asked in 2008.

At least 60 percent of Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans say they support a variety of emissions-reducing and clean energy policies such as a carbon tax, restricting coal power plant emissions, and government investment in energy innovation. At the local level, in all but a few congressional districts, analysis by Yale indicates that a majority of constituents back similar measures.

Few Americans have yet to hear much about the Green New Deal, and their opinions are likely to change once political leaders start talking about the proposal. But when told about the details of the plan in the December 2018 Yale survey, more than 90 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of moderate Republicans said that they would be inclined to support such a bill.

Remarkably, even 57 percent of conservative Republicans responded favorably when asked about the package of proposals, which the survey question defined as generating 100 percent of the nation’s electricity from clean, renewable energy, upgrading the energy grid, buildings, transportation and infrastructure, investing in clean energy research and development, and providing job training for a new “green economy.”

The new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has resulted in climate science once again returning to the front burner in the congressional agenda and the unveiling of a Green New Deal is one sign of that.

The interactive map of the survey results has a wealth of interesting information that has been drilled down to local levels.


  1. Matt G says

    It has always astounded me that a number smaller than 100% of Americans would want to support the development of renewable energy. It should be supported by conservatives on nationalistic principles (American independence from the Middle East!). Hopefully today’s young conservatives are wiser than old conservatives.

  2. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The green new deal is just another face of the fossil industry. They support it because they know it’s not a threat, and because the greens are useful idiot opposition to the only real threat to their profits: nuclear.

  3. says

    The US government says it plans to continue to increase carbon emissions through 2050. “We’ll care when rich people start dying and not a second before”

  4. file thirteen says

    @hyphenman #5

    Could be. There isn’t detail of how the line had got that high before 11/2008. It looked like a major decline, but perhaps it wasn’t so much that as the tail of a spike that coincided with Obama’s election.

  5. says

    Insect populations are collapsing toward wipeout in 50yr. That’ll take down whole ecosystems. It is starting. Good news on climate looks like “it won’t hurt, much.”

  6. John Morales says


    Insect populations are collapsing toward wipeout in 50yr.

    Heh. Extinction? I doubt that.

    More to the point, anyone who imagines insects will die out before humans is ignorant about trophic levels. I imagine you are not.

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