3. Support for Policies to Address the Pollution that Causes Global Warming

3.1. A majority of registered voters support a “Fee and Dividend” policy for carbon pollution.

A policy for mitigating global warming currently under consideration is a “Fee and Dividend” policyhttps://citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-fee-and-dividend/ in which fossil fuel companies would pay a fee on the carbon pollution they produce, and all the money collected would be distributed to all U.S. citizens, in equal amounts, through monthly dividend checks.

About six in ten (59%) registered voters support a Fee and Dividend plan, including majorities of Democrats (77%) and half of Independents (51%). Four in ten Republicans (40%) support the plan, including more than half of liberal/moderate Republicans (56%) but only three in ten conservative Republicans (31%).


3.2. A large majority of registered voters support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax.

A proposal similar to “Fee and Dividend” (see previous section) is often referred to as a “revenue-neutral carbon tax.” It would require fossil fuel companies to pay a tax on the carbon pollution they produce, and would use that money to reduce other taxes (such as the Federal income tax) by an equal amount. About seven in ten registered voters (69%) support this plan (ten percentage points higher than the support for the “Fee and Dividend” proposal).

A large majority of Democrats (87%) and a majority of Independents (58%) support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax. About half of Republicans (48%), including a large majority of liberal/moderate Republicans (69%), but only 37% of conservative Republicans, support such a tax.


3.3. Most registered voters, including Republicans, support climate-friendly energy policies.

Registered voters across the political spectrum support several other energy policies designed to reduce carbon pollution and fossil fuel dependence and to promote clean energy, including:

  • Funding more research into renewable energy sources: 87% of registered voters, 96% of Democrats, 81% of Independents, and 77% of Republicans.
  • Generating renewable energy (solar and wind) on public land in the U.S.: 86% of registered voters, 94% of Democrats, 79% of Independents, and 79% of Republicans.
  • Providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels: 82% of registered voters, 95% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 70% of Republicans.
  • Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant: 75% of registered voters, 92% of Democrats, 62% of Independents, and 59% of Republicans.
  • Requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year: 67% of registered voters, 87% of Democrats, 53% of Independents, but fewer than half of Republicans (43%).

About half or more conservative Republicans support funding more research into renewable energy (71%), generating renewable energy on public land (74%), providing tax rebates for purchasing energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (61%) and regulating carbon dioxide (49%).


3.4.  Registered voters are split on fossil-fuel production policies.

More than four in ten registered voters support expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast (47%), and about four in ten support drilling and mining for fossil fuels on public land in the U.S. (43%). Majorities of Republicans, but not Independents or Democrats, support these policies.

By contrast, fewer registered voters (29%) support drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), while a large majority (70%) oppose it (see Data Tables, p. 40). About half of conservative Republicans (53%) support this policy, but liberal/moderate Republicans (32%), Independents (30%), and Democrats (16%) are much less likely to support drilling in ANWR.


3.5. Six in ten registered voters would support a president declaring a national emergency to act on global warming.

Sixty-two percent of registered voters would “strongly” or “somewhat” support a U.S. president declaring global warming a national emergency to act on it without Congress, a 17 percentage-point increase over the seven months since our previous survey in April 2019 (in which 45% of registered voters supported this action, see Section 3.7 of our April report for details). This action has the support of a large majority of Democrats (85%; a 20 percentage-point increase since April), more than half of Independents (57%; a 25-point increase), and about one in three Republicans (35%; a nine-point increase).


3.6. A large majority of registered voters say schools should teach children about global warming.

The Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in the United StatesThe Next Generation Science Standards were developed by a collaboration of scientists and educators at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy for the Advancement of Science; the National Teacher’s Association; 26 states; and Achieve (a non-profit organization). Released in 2013, the standards represent the most current, research-based method of educating K-12 students in STEM and preparing them for STEM careers. See: nextgenscience.org require that climate change be included in the curriculum.

A large majority of registered voters (79%) support schools teaching children the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to global warming. Support spans the political spectrum. Nearly all Democrats (96%), about eight in ten Independents (79%), and a majority of Republicans (57%) say they support teaching about global warming.