CNN yesterday released a poll showing six in ten American independent voters support Obama’s plans for a so-called ‘Cap and Trade’ scheme for carbon emissions.
The hearings on Obama’s clean energy legislation have begun on Capitol Hill. Coinciding with this, CNN yesterday released a poll showing six in ten American independent voters support Obama’s plans for a so-called ‘Cap and Trade’ scheme for carbon emissions, and this reflects other recent polls.
This is despite recent widely reported polling from the Pew Centre that shows there has been a sharp decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who say there is solid evidence that global temperatures are rising. While worrying, Grist magazine has a good analysis of what this poll actually means. As their blogger David Roberts writes:
“It should be noted, of course, that 57% ain’t bad, given the public’s generally low level of scientific knowledge. About 79% of people know the earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa, while 80% believe prayer accelerates healing. Some 75% believe in angels but just 39% believe in evolution. Public opinion on matters of science is of great interest for a great many reasons, but it is a poor guide for public policy.”
Still, the research by Pew is testament to the effectiveness of the most expensive lobbying effort in US history, an effort that is still underway by ‘Big Carbon’ special interests in Washington. Greenpeace USA has an analysis of how the bill has already been weakened.
Bolder ambition on climate change by the United States is seen as key to progress more broadly in the UN international climate talks which increasingly are stalling and in crisis.
The UN’s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, told the Financial Times last week:
“A fully fledged new international treaty under the [UN framework] convention [on climate change] – I do not think that will happen.”
Hanne Bjurstroem, Norway’s chief climate negotiator, also said yesterday:
“I don’t believe we will get a full, ratifiable, legally binding agreement from Copenhagen.”
While it is now clear that the US will not pass its climate law by the time of the Copenhagen summit in December, Lord Stern has called for Obama to lead from the front. He told The Times:
“President Obama should be there. His leadership would make an enormous difference. My message to President Obama would be: come to Copenhagen, come in a collaborative spirit and take this message to the American people.”
Left Foot Forward has previously explained why climate scientists say the world must act in the time frame of Copenhagen and not let this opportunity pass and the talks slip.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.