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The majority of Americans say that they want to live in a home where all or most appliances are electric. This recent polling, conducted by Yale and GMU in collaboration with UC-Santa Barbara and Rewiring America, affirms that the majority of Americans want to live in homes with all or mostly electric appliances. When given the choice (and asked to assume that costs and features are the same), three in five (60%) say that they want to live in a home where all major appliances or most electric appliances are powered by electricity. A more detailed breakdown shows that: 31% prefer a home in which all major appliances (stove, heating system, water heater, etc.) are powered by electricity; 29% prefer a home in which most major appliances (heating system, water heater, etc.) are powered by electricity, but which has a gas stove for cooking; 21% prefer a home in which most or all major appliances (stove, heating system, water heater, etc.) are powered by natural gas, propane, or oil; 18% don’t know or have no preference.
Voters continue to widely support the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law two years after it was signed into law. Replacing lead-contaminated pipes is the single most popular part of the legislation. Navigator finds that voters support President Biden’s signature infrastructure legislation by an overwhelming margin (65% support / 22% oppose) when it’s described as “an infrastructure plan to improve roads and bridges, expand power infrastructure, increase passenger and rail access, and improve water infrastructure” that was passed by “President Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers.” The infrastructure law enjoys the support of nearly nine in ten Democrats (89%), while independent voters support it by a two-to-one margin (52% support / 25% oppose) and Republican voters are split about evenly (43% support / 41% oppose). And in terms of specific policies, Navigator finds that replacing lead-contaminated pipes is the single most popular aspect of the infrastructure law. Nearly nine in ten voters (87%) support the infrastructure law’s provision to replace and upgrade water pipes that are contaminated with lead, including three in five (62%) who “strongly” support this provision.
Americans’ trust in scientists is declining, but the overwhelming majority still have confidence that scientists act in the best interests of the public. About three-quarters of Americans (73%) now say that they have at least “a fair amount” of confidence in scientists to act in the best interests of the public, which represents a 14-point decline since April 2020 (87%). Democrats (86%) are 25 points more likely than Republicans (61%) to say that they have at least “a fair amount” of confidence in scientists to act in the public’s best interest, as the share of Republicans expressing at least “a fair amount” of confidence in scientists has dropped by 24 points since April 2020 while the share of Democrats expressing at least “a fair amount” of confidence in scientists has declined by five points in that timespan. Additionally, only around one-quarter of Americans (23%) now say that they have “a great deal” of confidence in scientists to act in the public’s best interests – representing a 16-point decline since April 2020 (39%).
Voters want to limit gas exports and are amenable to several arguments against new exports, including arguments about costs, climate damage, pollution, and fossil fuel dependence. By a two-to-one margin (60% support / 30% oppose), voters support the Biden administration “taking measures to limit the amount of natural gas America exports to other countries.” Young voters, who vocally opposed the Biden administration’s actions in allowing the Willow project to move forward, support the Biden administration taking measures to limit gas exports by a greater than three-to-one margin (62% support / 19% oppose among young voters aged 18-29). By a greater than two-to-one margin (62% support / 28% oppose), voters support “pausing all natural gas export projects until the proper reviews are completed.” Roughly three-quarters of Democratic voters (76% support / 16% oppose) and just over half of Republican voters (52% support / 37% oppose) support a pause on new gas export projects, as do more than three in five young voters aged 18-29 (64% support / 21% oppose).
The Fifth National Climate Assessment, released on Tuesday by the Biden administration, is unique for its focus on the present. Like previous versions, it looks at how rising temperatures will change the United States in decades to come, but it also makes clear that the rising seas, major hurricanes, and other disastrous consequences of climate change predicted in prior reports have begun to arrive. The effects are felt in every region. The report outlines steps every level of government can take to combat the climate crisis. And it takes stock of progress that has been made over the past four years. Despite this progress, climate impacts — oppressive heat domes in the Southeast that linger for weeks on end, record-breaking drought in the Southwest, bigger and more damaging hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, wildfires of unusual duration and intensity along the West Coast — are accelerating. The Grist staff, located all over the country, reviewed the assessment to provide you with the most important takeaways for your region.
New US climate report says land theft and colonization amplify the climate crisis for Indigenous peoples
Indigenous self-determination is a key climate solution — if the federal government can get behind it. The latest National Climate Assessment cites a 2021 study that concluded that Indigenous peoples in the United States lost 99 percent of their territories through colonization, and that the lands that they were forced to move to face higher wildfire risk and worse drought than their traditional homelands. According to the authors, Indigenous peoples across the continental U.S. and its island holdings hail from more than 700 tribes and communities, and while each community has a different relationship with the federal government, all share similar experiences of colonization through stolen land, cultural assimilation, and persistent marginalization. The report also detailed problems with the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal insurance program managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that helps homeowners insure against the risk of flooding, something that many insurance companies won’t cover. The program is supposed to help communities mitigate flood risk, but the report found that its implementation in Native communities has been flawed and ineffective.
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including a new analysis of Americans’ climate justice attitudes and newly released polling on national parks and wildlife.
Humor is the ultimate shock absorber in impossible times. “I Want a Better Catastrophe” is the title of Andrew Boyd’s new guide to coping with escalating climate change. And if you’re anything like us, it fills you with dread and sadness and fear…but does it also make you laugh? Maybe a little? Or maybe right out loud? And notice how your body changes. The light shifts. It suddenly feels a little more doable, a little more possible, to hold the full weight of this crisis we’ve created. To open the book. To start at the beginning. To do the work. The awful, terrifying work. Gen Dread talked to Andrew about where, how, and why he derives humor from such a bleak situation, and what his approach can offer all of us who are trying our best to cope.
Americans across party lines overwhelmingly support measures to better protect wildlife in national parks. 92% of Americans support reducing water pollution to better protect marine wildlife. 84% of Americans support strengthening clean air standards to protect nature and wildlife from air pollution. 65% of Americans recognize that single-use plastics are “extremely” or “very” harmful to wildlife in national parks. 88% of Americans agree that more needs to be done to support the safeguarding of national park wildlife. 86% of Americans support efforts by federal agencies to continue the recovery of threatened and endangered species in national parks. 60% of Americans say that the federal government should ensure that new land development next to national parks doesn’t increase the threat to national park wildlife. 59% of Americans recognize that climate change is “extremely” or “very” harmful to wildlife in national parks.
Demographics who are most inclined to support climate justice are hearing little about the concept. While climate justice is an important issue, many Americans are not yet familiar with it. According to our recent report, only about one in three Americans (34%) say they have heard or read at least “a little” about climate justice, while most (65%) say they have not heard of it. However, after reading a brief description of climate justice, about half of Americans (53%) say they support it, while large majorities of registered voters support climate justice-related policies. The groups who are least likely to know about climate justice include adults in the United States who have a high school education or less (only 10% know “some” or “a lot”), have some college education (13%), earn less than $50,000 per year (12%), are Black (12%), or live in rural areas (13%). Black adults, however, were the group with the highest level of support for climate justice (70%) after reading a description of it. Other demographic groups with high levels of support for climate justice after reading about it included adults in the U.S. who: are Hispanic/Latino(66%), have a Bachelor’s degree or higher (61%), or live in urban areas (61%). Overall, the groups with the largest gaps between having heard about climate justice (prior to reading a description) and supporting climate justice (after reading a description) were Black adults (12% said they know “a lot” or “some” about climate justice while 70% said they support its goals – a difference of 58 percentage points), followed by Hispanic/Latino adults, women, and those earning less than $50,000 per year (each with a difference of 45 percentage points).