October 14, 2016

90-10 NATION:

Where Americans find common ground on climate issues : Americans' views on climate change diverge sharply depending on their political affiliations, says a new Pew Research poll. But two areas of consensus are emerging. (Ellen Powell, OCTOBER 4, 2016, CS Monitor)

A future-looking value judgment may be informing the emerging consensus around support for renewable energy sources. Some 89 percent of Pew respondents were in favor of more solar farms, while wind turbine farms were viewed favorably by 83 percent. Among traditional energy sources, the highest support went to "More offshore drilling," at 45 percent.

The poll found that support for renewable energy sources was attributable to three broad sets of motivations: financial, health-related, and environmental. This broad base of motivations, rather than a narrow appeal to personal guilt, may help to increase engagement across the political spectrum. A 2015 study across 24 countries found that these so-called "co-benefits" to environmental action motivated people regardless of whether they believed in man-made climate change.

"It's much easier to address the things that many people already care about and link these things to environmental action, like creating jobs and the state of their local community, rather than trying to change their stance on particular environmental issues," explained co-author Gró Einarsdóttir, a PhD student from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, to Science Nordic.

Increasing private money in clean energy technologies may be a particular spur to this consensus. The investments of individuals such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates suggest that the industry is not only economically viable, but may have huge potential for growth. 

Posted by at October 14, 2016 4:52 AM


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