Americans Support Cap and Trade After All?


As I noted last week, Americans seem to be more confused about the science of climate change than they used to be. But even if they’re less sure whether global warming is occurring and if so, what causes it, they still support cap and trade, according to a CNN poll released yesterday.

The poll found that 60 percent of Americans favor legislation to cap emissions, a substantial increase in supporters. The last CNN poll on this subject in April found only 44 percent supportive of cap-and-trade, and 51 percent opposed. The number was even higher for younger adults—68 percent of Americans under age 50 back cap-and-trade.” Seventy-five percent of Democrats support cap-and-trade, as do nearly six in 10 independents. Perhaps most surprising, even 40 percent of self-identified Republicans said they support the policy.

Last week I suggested that part of the problem is that Americans just don’t understand climate policy, and the opponents of action have dominated the conversation. But this latest poll seems to indicate that Americans do support key climate policy goals—lower emissions, clean energy, less dependence on foreign energy—even if they’re still confused about the science.

Either that, or it indicates that polls on the subject are not all that useful. But at least this one has positive results!

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.