And although climate legislation has little chance of passage on Capitol Hill right now, it continues to enjoy public support. Seventy-seven percent say the government should limit the amount of carbon dioxide that businesses can emit. It is a rare instance in which majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents agree, albeit with varying intensity.
There is a widespread belief that personal actions to help halt warming would not impose too much of an individual burden. Just 12 percent say taking such action would make their lives worse, about 43 percent say it would make their lives better, and an equal number say it wouldn’t make a difference.
Stanford University communications professor Jon Krosnick, whose team conducted the poll with The Post, said the survey shows that public support for action on climate change has remained level.
“There’s really no movement in recent years in support for the amount of government effort they want to see put into the problem,” Krosnick noted. “But clearly the salience of the issue has declined a bit, [so] the pressure the public puts on government will be less.”
Just under four in 10 polled say global warming is extremely or very important to them, the lowest percentage since 2006 and down from 52 percent in 2007. Just 10 percent say it is extremely important to them personally, down from 15 percent in 2011 and 18 percent in 2007.
“The good news is that the public understands that the global warming problem is serious, and they overwhelmingly support serious solutions. The sad news is that, with reduced mainstream-media coverage and with big polluters and their allies in the media and in Congress falsely screaming hoax, the issue is not as high a priority,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters. “But record-breaking temperatures, intense droughts and wildfires, and other climate-related disasters will hopefully be a wake-up call.”
Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.), a climate skeptic and the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement, “The irony, of course, is that the president who came into office promising to slow the rise of the oceans has presided over the complete collapse of the global warming movement.”
He added that environmentalists have not criticized Obama because “they’ve no doubt been assured that if he is reelected, he will have the ‘flexibility’ to institute the largest tax increase in American history through regulations because he could not do it through legislation.”