The vast majority of voters do not support the deep cuts to climate science funding now being proposed in Washington, a new poll has found.
Three-quarters of voters think it is a bad idea to cut money for climate research, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday. Sixty-five percent say they believe climate change is caused by human activity, which the majority of scientists in the field concluded years ago, but American politicians have been slow to accept.
Meanwhile, the number of voters who say they are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about climate change has increased to 76 percent, up from 66 percent in December 2015.
“There is more concern now than there has been in the past,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll. He said a growing number of voters feel climate change is an existential threat.
“They are concerned, and some are very concerned, about the looming menace of climate change,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have proposed cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in climate change research. The cuts are spread across U.S. EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the Department of Energy, and others.
Some GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who chairs the House Science Committee, have said federal climate science has become too politicized. Smith has proposed eliminating federal money for NASA earth-observing missions and restraining the role of science in EPA policymaking.
“We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney recently told reporters about climate science. “We consider that to be a waste of your money.”
While those who doubt climate change is real largely hail from the counties that went for President Trump in 2016, the poll shows that 76 percent of voters do not feel climate change is a hoax, as Trump has suggested. Almost two-thirds, or 62 percent, are against Trump’s promise to roll back climate regulations compared with 28 percent who support.
Fifty-nine percent want the U.S. to do more to address climate change, while 18 percent want it to do less.
Still, just 4 percent of people say environmental issues in general are the top issue facing the country today. Twelve percent rank health care as the primary problem, the highest of any issue, including the economy, which 11 percent say is the most difficult issue in America today.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at www.eenews.net.