A new survey from Stanford University shows that American support for government action on global warming has dropped over the past two years.
The research, led by Jon Krosnick, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, demonstrates that the general public's support for policies aimed at reducing climate change have dropped by an average 5 percentage points since 2010. Despite the drop, the majority of Americans are still in favour of passing policy to address climate change.
Krosnick and his team attribute the shift in opinion to cooler-than-average temperatures in 2011 as well as increased political rhetoric questioning climate science.
The political skepticism around climate change has been fuelled by Repulican party elites. The Republican primary elections serve as a great example: every one of the seven candidates, openly questioned global warming with some going as far as to call it a hoax and a lie.
Rick Santorum, the runner-up in the race, said, "There is no such thing as global warming...it's just an excuse for more government control of your life, and I've never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative."
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, the candidate the Republican party has elected to run against President Obama in this year's election has this to say about global warming: "We don't know what's causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending tillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us. I can tell you the right course for America with regard to energy policy is to focus on job creation and not global warming."
Interestingly, the International Energy Agency, a 40-year global energy watchdog recently urged nations across the globe to accelerate the transition towards a low carbon economy. One of the reasons for this urgent call: carbon emissions are at an all time high. The United Nations, in conjunction with climate scientists, has been working tirelessly to create a legally-binding compact to lower emissions and address climate change.
Conservative America has challenged the United Nations climate change mission since its inception. Therefore, it makes sense that the declines in support for government action in Stanford's survey were greater among Republican voters than Democrats and Independents.
The survey's findings also dismissed the idea that a struggling economy dissipates public support for climate action -- people living in states with struggling economies did not have a larger decline in policy endorsement. However, weather does have an impact on public opinion. Cooler temperatures in 2011 led to a decline in public opinion, while in the unusually warm year of 2010, public opinion shifted toward action on climate change.
Image credit: Takver via Flickr
Any opinion contained in this article is solely that of the writers, and does not necessarily shape or reflect the editorial opinions of Energy Boom. Energy Boom content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be advice regarding the investment merits of, or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of, any security identified on, or linked through, this site.