EPC Resource Library / Weekly Roundups

Environmental Polling Roundup – April 5, 2024





The Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) at UPenn has released the results of this national poll, which they fielded in November, as they launch a new Climate Communication division at the school.

The survey finds that most Americans have experienced some form of extreme weather in the past year. Consistent with other polls, the APPC survey finds that extreme heat is by far the most common type of extreme weather experienced by Americans

Roughly two-thirds (68%) say that extreme heat affected their typical daily activities at least “sometimes” in the past year, while half (50%) also say that they were affected by poor air from wildfire smoke.

The poll also tested several policy proposals to help mitigate or adapt to climate change, finding majority or plurality support for every proposal tested. This includes:

These results largely affirm what we’ve seen in other polling. Incentives for residential solar are consistently very popular, while EV incentives tend to provoke relatively more backlash than other clean energy policies. And on the topic of a carbon tax, research by Yale and GMU and others has also found consistent majority support for the idea. 

The APPC also finds that self-reported experiences with extreme weather are linked with increased support for these climate-friendly policies, even when controlling for partisanship. Pulling from the APPC poll release, with emphasis added in bold:

“A regression analysis of the survey data by APPC research analyst Shawn Patterson Jr. finds that reported exposure to severe weather is associated with greater support for policies that address the effects of climate change. This support extends to both parties – Republicans who report experiencing extreme weather are more supportive of these policies than those who do not, and the same holds true for Democrats.”

Other research has revealed a similar link between climate attitudes and personal experiences with extreme weather, including both self-reported experiences with extreme weather and experiences that can be inferred from weather data

In a survey of 19 nations in advance of this month’s international plastic pollution negotiations in Canada, Greenpeace International finds that there is overwhelming support in countries across the globe for measures to reduce plastic pollution.

Averaging the data across the 19 nations surveyed (including countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia), there is widespread and intense support for a strong Global Plastics Treaty that reduces plastic production and bans single-use plastic packaging:

While the U.S. lags behind most other countries surveyed in its support for these policies, more than three in five Americans nevertheless support the Global Plastics Treaty agreeing a reduction in plastic production (66% support, 33% “strongly) and banning single-use plastic packaging (63% agree, 33% “strongly”).

In the U.S. and the other countries surveyed, there is clear and deep concern about the health impacts of plastics – especially for younger generations. Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say that they are concerned about the adverse effects of plastics on their children’s health, including half (51%) who are “very” concerned about the health impacts for their children. 

The large majority of Americans (70%) also say that they are concerned about the adverse effects of plastic on their own health, including 42% who are “very” concerned.

Also on the topic of plastics, the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds that around one-third of Americans (32%) say that they have decreased their use of single-use plastics over the past five years. Meanwhile, around half (47%) say that they are using single-use plastics about the same amount and only 20% say that they have increased their use of single-use plastics.
This data shows that, while many Americans are willing to do their part, it would be far more impactful to address the problem of single-use plastics at the supply level rather than counting on consumers to change their behaviors.

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