A majority of U.S. adults support six possible climate change mitigation strategies, according to a Gallup report published April 11.
The highest level of support (89%) was for “providing tax credits to Americans who install clean energy systems, like solar power, in their homes,” the only proposal with support in the 80th percentile.
Three-quarters (75%) of respondents were in favor of “providing tax incentives to businesses to promote their use of wind, solar and nuclear power” and 71% supported “setting higher fuel efficiency standards for cars, trucks and buses.”
“Establishing strict limits on the release of methane in the production of natural gas” had support from 62%, and “providing tax credits to individuals who purchase electric vehicles” received 61% favorable rating.
The lowest level of support (59%) was for “spending federal money to increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S.”
Democrats outpaced Republicans in support of the six proposals, with a majority of Democrats favoring all six, and a Republican majority favoring only three.
When asked about the potential impacts of such proposals on the economy (if passed) and on the environment (if not passed), U.S. adults were more divided.
“In contrast to the broad support found for the individual items, a smaller 53% say they are more concerned about the risk to the environment of not passing such proposals, while 43% are more concerned about the potential harm to the economy and deficit if they are passed,” the report said. “A broader question in the survey that asks about prioritizing environmental protection versus economic growth yields similar results: 53% say protecting the environment is the greater priority, and 42% say economic growth is.”
Historically, U.S. adults have prioritized environmental protection over economic growth, with the exception of period of economic downturns. The highest levels favoring environmental protection were 71% in 1990 and 1991, with lowest levels in 2011 at 36%. As a result of the Great Recession, from 2009 to 2013 more respondents favored economic growth over environmental protection – the only years in polling history in which this occurred.