Americans support a broad array of energy policies, including many designed to reduce carbon pollution and dependence on fossil fuels, and to promote clean energy technologies. Democrats are the most likely to support such policies, but majorities of Independents and Republicans do as well, including:
Conversely, fewer than half of Democrats support the expansion of offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast (42%), while most Americans registered to vote (60%), including Independents (62%) and Republicans (79%), support it.
Two in three Americans (65%) support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, even with the explicit caveat that the cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase.
Most likely to support the limits are Democrats (84%, 92% of liberal Democrats), as well as liberal and moderate Republicans (66%), and Independents (65%, up 17 points since Spring 2014). However, only 37% of conservative Republicans would support setting strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions (up 6 points).
The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference (often referred to as COP21) recently concluded in Paris, leading to an international agreement to reduce global warming pollution. Prior to the start of the conference, six in ten Americans (62%) said that it was at least moderately important that the world reach an agreement in Paris to limit global warming.
This opinion was most widely held by liberal Democrats – nearly 9 in 10 (87%) said it was important to reach a climate agreement in Paris. At least six in ten moderate/conservative Democrats (68%), Independents (62%), and liberal/moderate Republicans (65%) also thought it was important to reach an agreement. By contrast, only about one in three conservative Republicans (36%) thought reaching an agreement on global warming in Paris was important.
Across party lines, over half of Americans think diverse actors should do much or somewhat more to address global warming:
Over half of Americans, including Democrats and Independents, but not Republicans, think the following should do more:
Over half of Democrats think President Obama should do more (59%).
Half or more of registered American voters think that if the United States takes steps to reduce global warming, it will provide a better life for our children and grandchildren (64%), improve people’s health (59%), and save many plant and animal species from extinction (55%).
Most Democrats, particularly liberal Democrats, expect these and other benefits, and half or more of Independents and liberal/moderate Republicans share these views. Fewer than half of conservative Republicans expect any of these benefits if the U.S. takes steps to reduce global warming.
Over half of Americans think that if the United States takes steps to reduce global warming, it will cause energy prices to rise (57%). But fewer than one third think it would cost jobs and harm our economy (28%), interfere with the free market (27%), or harm poor people more than it will help them (21%). Republicans, particularly conservative Republicans, and Independents are the most likely to expect these consequences.