AP-NORC poll: Americans want local leaders to fight warming | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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AP-NORC poll: Americans want local leaders to fight warming

FILE - In this Thursday, June 1, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A new Associated Press-NORC poll finds that Americans want local officials to do more to battle global warming now that federal officials aren’t. The poll finds more Americans than not disagree with Trump’s pulling the United States of Paris treaty to fight climate change. So 57 percent of those surveyed said they want local governments to pick up the slack in keeping the world from warming too much. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
October 02, 2017 - 9:03 AM

WASHINGTON - Americans want their local officials to take on the challenge of battling global warming now that President Donald Trump is withdrawing the nation an international climate change agreement.

That's according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. The poll finds 57 per cent of Americans say they favour local governments picking up the slack to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their own, with only 10 per cent opposing it. About 55 per cent of Americans say their own local and state governments should be doing more to address global warming, with only 10 per cent saying they should be doing less.

And more Americans oppose than favour Trump's effort to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris accord, in which nearly 200 nations agreed to self-imposed cuts or limits on emissions of heat-trapping gas pollution. Forty-two per cent of those surveyed said they oppose getting out of the Paris agreement, while 28 per centfavoured the withdrawal and 28 per cent had no strong opinion. Among Democrats 64 per cent want to stay in the Paris agreement and 17 per cent don't. More Republicans favoured withdrawing, 46 per cent, than staying in, 22 per cent.

Martha Oberman, an online businesswoman from Texas who sells collectibles, called Trump's decision to get out of the Paris agreement "horrible, short-sighted."

"If we're not going to get (action) from the top, you have to start at the bottom at the local level and work its way to the top," Oberman said.

Local governments can get things done, said Antonio Torres, a former chef in central Florida. He'd like to see local governments bring more solar energy use online.

That rings true with Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, who co-chairs two committees of mayors who are fighting climate change. One of her groups has 115 cities committed to the goal of having their cities operating entirely on renewable energy by the year 2035. Salt Lake City is hoping to beat that goal by a few years.

"We're leading the conversation because we have to now," Biskupski said. "Here we are with the president coming out against supporting the Paris agreement. Now we really ramped things up with the mayors across the country."

Overall, 72 per cent of Americans say they believe climate change is happening and 63 per cent think human activity is at least partially responsible. Eighty-two per cent of Democrats and 43 per cent of Republicans say they believe in at least partially human-caused climate change. The poll was conducted before a spate of hurricanes battered Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Eighty per cent of Democrats and 43 per cent of Republicans think it's a problem the U.S. government should be addressing.

Torres said in Florida he feels the heat of climate change and recently his house was banged up by Hurricane Irma.

"We definitely have climate change," Oberman said from Texas. "We've seen Houston. We've seen Puerto Rico. To say there is no climate change is crazy."

But not Ruth Acquaviva of Delaware, who retired from working in accounting.

"What are you going to do about it? It's a natural phenomenon," she said. "It's Mother Nature changing some things. It's not a big deal."

Around 90 per cent of all scientific studies and nearly every major scientific organization in the world say climate change is real, at least partly caused by humans and a problem. But to that Acquaviva said those researchers "are absolutely bullcrap. There's no way in God's world they can prove to me it's man-made."

Acquaviva said there's no need "to spend money on climate change."

However, most Americans said they'd be willing to spend a little extra on their electricity bill to fight climate change, with the key words being "a little." Just over half — 51 per cent — would be willing to pay an additional $1 on each month's electricity bill, though just 4 in 10 would be willing to pay an additional $10 a month. About 3 in 10 would even be willing to pay an additional $20 to $40 a month.

Just under half of Americans — 48 per cent — called climate change a very or extremely important issue, while 54 per cent said the same of energy policy. In contrast, at least two-thirds say health care, the economy and terrorism are important policy priorities.

In general, Americans were twice as likely to oppose as to favour the current direction of U.S. energy policy, 35 per cent to 17 per cent, but nearly half didn't state a preference either way.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,038 adults was conducted Aug. 17-21 using a sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

The survey was paid for by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and they were later interviewed online or by phone.

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Online:

AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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