Friday, December 18, 2009
On environment, Obama and scientists take hit in poll
There's also rising public doubt and growing political polarization about what scientists have to say on the environment, and a widespread perception that there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether global warming is happening.
But for all the challenges American policymakers have to overcome, nearly two-thirds of people surveyed say the federal government should regulate the release of greenhouse gases from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to curb global warming. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency said it is putting together plans to control the emissions of six gases deemed dangerous to the environment and public.
Support for such a regulation is down 10 percentage points from June, but majorities of Americans remain supportive of such regulations even if they increased monthly bills, so long as they lower greenhouse gas levels. If energy bills jumped $10 a month, 60 percent back new limits; at $25 a month, it's 55 percent.
Most, however, oppose a widely floated proposal in which the United States and other industrialized countries would contribute $10 billion a year to help developing countries pay for reducing the amount of greenhouse gases they release. Overall, 57 percent of those polled oppose this idea; 39 percent support it. Most Republicans (74 percent) and independents (58 percent) are against this proposal, while a small majority of Democrats (54 percent) are supportive.
....Scientists themselves also come in for more negative assessments in the poll, with four in 10 Americans now saying that they place little or no trust in what scientists have to say about the environment. That's up significantly in recent years. About 58 percent of Republicans now put little or no faith in scientists on the subject, double the number saying so in April 2007. Over this time frame, distrust among independents bumped up from 24 to 40 percent, while Democrats changed only marginally. Among seniors, the number of skeptics more than doubled, to 51 percent. Read more.