A Pew Research Center survey finds that 65% of Americans give priority to developing renewable energy while only 27% want to focus on fossil fuels.
Although Donald Trump was elected on a platform pushing for the development of fossil fuels and scraping environmental initiatives, most of the population seems to disagree with him. A Pew study which surveyed over 1,500 people found that even a divided country can still agree on some things — to an extent.
Interestingly, support for alternative sources of energy has risen since December 2014. Back then, 60% said renewables should be a priority, a significant change. However, although most people did agree that renewables are important, political differences were still significant.
Both Democrats and Republicans support renewables, but Democrats much more so than Republicans. Some 81% of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic party favor implementing renewable energy in favor of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, in the Republican camp, things were much closer: 45% say we should focus on renewables, while 44% say expanding coal, oil, and natural gas should be favored.
It’s not just political, the difference is ideological as well: 88% of liberals believe climate change is a major threat to the wellbeing of the US, while only 12% of conservatives shared this opinion. Basically, the survey found that the “more Republican” and conservative you are, the less likely you are to support renewables. Age was also a factor — the youth favored renewables (73%) while older adults were more divided in their opinions.
It’s an interesting result which should not be taken lightly. Although such a survey certainly doesn’t paint the entire picture, the US seems like a nation slowly accepting the realities of climate change and willing to take the steps necessary to fight against it. At the very least, people are understanding the economic benefits renewables bring: it’s not that you have to lose money to fight climate change — you can help the economy while building a sustainable future. All that’s needed is good leadership.
These findings are based on a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 4-9, 2017 with a nationally representative sample of 1,502 U.S. adults. The full methodology can be found here, and the questionnaire wording and topline are here (PDF).
Andrei's background is in geophysics, and he's been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science -- and the results are what you see today.