While politicians in America have been slow to react to both the threat of climate change and the need for expanded renewable energy resources, the American public has made their priorities clear: Give us clean energy that protects our health, our environment, and our resources.
According to a new poll conducted by ORC International for The Civil Society Institute and the Environmental Working Group, strong majorities of Americans from both ends of the political spectrum believe that Congress should take public health and safety measures into consideration before giving a blank check for production to the dirty energy industry.
Among the major findings of the survey:
94 percent of Americans – including 92 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Independents, and 98 percent of Democrats – want political leadership on balancing calls for more energy production in U.S. with protecting clean water and air.
91 percent of Americans feel it is important that their member of Congress demonstrate leadership on a “national agenda for clean energy and protecting America’s water and air.”
92 percent of Americans think “U.S. energy planning and decision making” should be based on “a comprehensive understanding of what our national water resources are” – a national water roadmap that Congress asked for, but which was never produced.
86 percent of Americans want leadership on shifting from coal and nuclear energy to wind and solar.
And what about the President’s recent statements about expanding hydraulic fracturing activities and becoming an exporter of natural gas? The American public has delivered a “not so fast” response to the administration:
62 percent of Americans oppose “expanding U.S. production of shale gas for use by other nations” first before the health research is done.
88 percent of Americans want leadership when it comes to exercising caution on exporting energy – such as natural gas – that could boost China and other economies, but hurt U.S. consumers by raising energy and manufacturing costs at home.
86 percent of Americans “support more studies of the health and environmental consequences of the chemicals” used in fracking.
79 percent of Americans are concerned about fracking “as it relates to water quality.”
And when it comes to climate change and clean energy, the public consensus is that something must be done to wean the country off of fossil fuels and address the elephant in the room that is manmade climate change:
80 percent of Americans think we “should get the facts first about health and environmental risks before the potential damage is done by energy production.” This “precautionary principle” approach is supported by 67 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Independents, and 89 percent of Democrats.
86 percent of Americans want leadership on addressing climate change and extreme weather. Relatively little partisan difference is seen on this point, with support for action coming from 75 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats.
It is clear that the American public has realized that protecting our environment and addressing issues like climate change are not partisan matters, and it is time for our elected officials to come to the same realization.