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New Poll Shows Most Americans Support Global Warming Treaty; Want U.S. Action

WASHINGTON -- Nearly eight out of 10 Americans support the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and a strong majority believes the United States should cut its greenhouse gas emissions even if other countries do not, according to a new poll release today by the World Wildlife Fund.

Conducted for WWF by the Mellman Group between September 8-14, the national survey of 1,000 registered voters found that a growing majority of the electorate is concerned about global warming and wants to see Washington take the lead in responding to this pervasive environmental threat.

By an overwhelming bipartisan majority, 79 percent of the voters said they favored an international agreement to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause global warming. This represents a significant increase since the beginning of the year, when 54 percent of the participants in a similar WWF poll said they favored a global warming treaty.

By political affiliation, 84 percent of the Democrats, 79 percent of the independents and 73 percent of the Republicans surveyed said they would support a treaty to reduce CO2 emissions.

“These large and growing numbers show that, despite a well financed misinformation campaign by the fossil fuel industry, most Americans know that global warming is a serious problem and they want to see their government take the lead in resolving it,” said Adam Markham, director of WWF’s Climate Change Campaign.

Climate change negotiators meet in Buenos Aires Nov. 3-13 to sew up some of the many loopholes left open in Kyoto. On the agenda are the ground rules for emissions trading and a plan of action with timetables for the negotiation of other outstanding issues.

More than one-third of the voters surveyed--34 percent--said they thought the Kyoto Protocol should be strengthened, while 66 percent said the US should act unilaterally to reduce domestic CO2 emissions, regardless of what other countries do.

An even larger majority--71 percent--said they disapproved of Congressional efforts to block the EPA from implementing domestic carbon pollution reduction programs.

“Despite what industry would have us believe, most Americans want their elected representatives to act on this and to act now,” said Jennifer Morgan, WWF’s Climate Policy Officer.

With a margin of error of +/- three percent, the poll also found that:

  • Seventy percent of the electorate believes that global warming is a serious problem and 57 percent--an increase of 19 percent from the earlier poll--believe that it is not a future threat, but something that is occurring now.


  • Although voters are divided over whether or not a scientific consensus exists on global warming, two-thirds believe the evidence is strong enough to justify taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now.


  • Seventy-five percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay $10 more per month in their electricity bills to purchase clean energy such as solar or wind power from their utility companies; 64 percent said they would pay $20 per month more.