Americans Say Yes to Climate PolicyAs the House of Representatives fine tunes legislation like the American Clean Energy and Security Act, public opinion weighs far less than other pressures. But as our elected officials make perhaps the biggest decision of their careers about the biggest, most sweeping climate and energy legislation ever, it’s worth noting that the American public is calling for “yes” votes—and that’s across party lines.

Washington Post and ABC took the nation’s pulse on this issue last week and here’s what they found:

  • Three-quarters of Americans think the federal government should regulate the release into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases from power plants, cars and factories to reduce global warming, with substantial majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.
  • 52 percent support a cap-and-trade approach to limiting greenhouse gas emissions. (Forty-two percent of those surveyed this month oppose such a program.)
  • 62 percent of those surveyed said they would support regulation even if it raised the price of purchases and 56 percent would back cap and trade if it resulted in a $10 increase in utility costs, 44 percent said they would back a cap-and-trade system if it boosted monthly electricity bills by $25.
  • Despite nay saying about costs to households and negative economic effects of a cap and trade system, 60 percent of Republicans back a cap-and-trade program.
  • Six in 10 Americans favor US action, even if other countries do less to confront climate change.

So, in a nutshell, Americans from both parties favor action. A solid majority is ready for cap and trade (including a sizable majority of Republicans—60 percent). We are willing to pay a bit more for energy to make this happen. We’re no longer content to use India and China as scapegoats for our own foot dragging. (According to the Post, while partisan divides are dwindling, age matters in voters’ position on cap and trade and, understandably, income matters when it comes to the question of cost).

The Post-ABC poll was conducted by telephone June 18 to 21 among a national random sample of 1,001 adults; results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Photo courtesy Vees Blog.