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Survey Finds Broad Support For Government Action On Climate

Wesley Tingey
Wesley Tingey

Two-thirds of Americans think the federal government should be doing more to reduce the impacts of climate change, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

A full 90% of people support government action on planting millions of trees, something President Donald Trump has even touted. And a broad majority of both Democrats and Republicans also support giving tax credits to businesses for developing carbon capture and storage projects.

However, the survey of nearly 11,000 adults in the U.S. found some significant differences between Democrats and Republicans.

Political affiliation was the largest factor in whether a survey respondent thought climate change was affecting their community, according to Alec Tyson, who co-authored a report on the survey's findings.

"A majority of Democrats say, 'Yes, I think my community is being impacted by climate change,'" Tyson said. "But if you ask Republicans the same question, a much smaller share – far, far fewer than half – say they see a local impact of climate change."

Geography also shapes views on climate impacts, the survey suggests, with Americans who live near a coastline being more likely than those who live further away to say climate change is affecting their community.

The survey also found generational differences, with younger Republicans splitting from the larger group to support more environmental safeguards, improved water quality and alternative energy sources.

"Younger Republicans are much less supportive of fossil fuel energy sources, whether that’s offshore oil and gas, coal mining or hydraulic fracturing," Tyson said. "Fewer than half or about half favor those methods of energy production."

However, Tyson says these younger Republicans still voted more similarly to the baby boomers in their own party than to the Democrats.

Tyson said there’s also some gaps between moderate and liberal Republicans, but conservative Republicans still make up about two-thirds of the GOP. Only 22% of the party as a whole believe humans are a main driver behind the climate crisis, compared to 72% of Democrats.

Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter  @MadelynBeck8

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau.
Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. She's from Montana but has reported everywhere from North Dakota to Alaska to Washington, D.C. Her last few positions included covering energy resources in Wyoming and reporting on agriculture/rural life issues in Illinois.
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