COLUMN: Climate Change: Can we all get behind the solar panel?
We seem hopelessly divided when it comes to beliefs about global warming. Can we find any areas of agreement?
We began this week by looking at The Alarmed and The Dismissive, the two extreme groups when it comes to attitudes about global warming. Four other categories are between these two, varying in their degree of concern. Majorities of most groups are uncertain about their beliefs, however, and could easily change their minds on the matter. Extreme tactics—like putting Ted Kaczynski and his belief in global warming on a billboard—might change a few minds, but the main effect has been to alienate a lot of people.
Despite varying opinions about global warming, there are some areas of agreement. Clean energy is one of them, according to a March 2012 report from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. Almost eight of ten (79%) of Americans say we should fund more research on clean energy. Support is higher among Democrats and Independents than it is among Republicans—but here’s a surprise—three-quarters of Republicans support funding more research on renewable energy sources.
Similarity, large majorities of all political persuasions support giving tax rebates to Americans who buy solar panels and fuel-efficient cars. Majorities of all parties support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
So, amid all the dissension, divide, and rough tactics, we can find some emerging areas of consensus.
Are you surprised by this consensus?
What measures do you support?
More funding for renewable energy?
What have you done personally, if anything, to reduce your carbon footprint?
Dr. Wayne E. Baker is a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Baker blogs daily at Our Values and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.