Nearly All Americans Want To Get Off Fossil Fuels

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Late last year, The Washington Post reported a remarkable poll finding: Nearly half of American adults — 46 percent — believe the U.S. needs to “drastically reduce” fossil fuel use in the near future to address the climate crisis. Another 41 percent favor a more gradual reduction.

In short, almost 90 percent of us support transitioning off fossil fuels — including over half of Republicans, whose elected officials overwhelmingly support the industry.

This is remarkable. The U.S. is the world’s largest oil and gas producer, third largest coal producer, and the only country to leave the universally adopted Paris Climate Agreement. Yet nearly all of us want off these fuels.

You’d expect a media outlet to treat this as the immensely newsworthy (and headline-worthy) finding that it is — especially if that outlet commissioned the poll!

Yet The Washington Post buried these numbers in the 14th and 15th paragraphs of the story. Their headline? “Americans like Green New Deal’s goals, but they reject paying trillions to reach them.”

This assertion, while not outright false, is misleading.

The poll had a single vaguely worded question about the price tag for a national climate action plan, which asked whether respondents supported raising federal spending by unspecified “trillions.” Two-thirds of respondents said no.

Pollsters gave respondents no specifics on the amount of “trillions” we’re talking about, or how they would compare to the overall federal budget, huge existing line items like the military and fossil fuel subsidies, or the country’s GDP.

The poll didn’t ask respondents whether they would support such a spending increase if it were paid for entirely by revenue increases. But actually, they might.

The same poll found that more than two-thirds of Americans — 68 percent — support raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for climate action. Another 60 percent support raising taxes on fossil fuel burning companies “even if that may lead to increased electricity and transportation prices.”

The Post ignored both findings entirely in the article. A more accurate portrayal of the poll results might say that U.S. adults support paying for climate action by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, but they don’t want to raise taxes for working people (for example, by raising gas taxes).

Why did the Post bury some of the most significant findings of their own poll? I won’t speculate too much — that’s for them to answer. But in establishment media, political biases that equate government spending with waste — while evading or ignoring issues of tax fairness — run deep.

A more objective — and hopeful — reading might emphasize that the vast majority of Americans support phasing out fossil fuels. Large majorities also support reaching 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years (69 percent support) and a jobs guarantee with good wages for all workers (78 percent support).

Finally, two-thirds of respondents support increased spending on climate resilience for communities who are vulnerable to disasters. Two-thirds also support a government program for universal health care.

Polls aren’t always trustworthy. But as a snapshot, this one shows large majorities of Americans wanting serious governmental action on climate change that incorporates social justice and workers’ rights, paid for by progressive taxation. They also want more regulation of corporations, more government spending on community resilience, and public, universal health care.

This is great news for those of us who want a just transition from our extractive fossil-fuel driven economy to a safe, healthy future for all. The Washington Post may not think that’s important, but we do.

  • Because you are well-paid irresponsible hypocrite colonizers:

    Where will the materials for our clean energy future come from?
    More clean energy equals more demand for the materials that make those technologies possible.

    https : / / www . theverge . com / 2019/2/15/18226210/energy-renewables-materials-mining-environment-neodymium-copper-lithium-cobalt

  • voza0db

    That’s why I enjoy reading a fellow Realist.

    I bet a glass of water that 100% of those that answered that poll don’t have the slightest idea of what you just asked!

    Hell… They don’t even realize that the terrorist american armed forces are occupying many countries around the world precisely for that purpose: Ensure abundant and cheap (if not for free) resources to feed the utter unsustainable LIVE STYLE of the american herd. Look no further than Afghanistan!

    Like I always say: We’ve built an UNSUSTAINABLE “CIVILIZATION” for which there is only on way out… destruction.

  • voza0db

    It’s truly funny to read these esoteric polls… Of course the Herd will always respond like that.

    The real questions though ARE NEVER ASKED!

    That’s why these polls have only one purpose… To allow the herd to feel good and to provide writing material for sites to waste electronic letters.

    In the end REALITY remains the same! We are a DESTRUCTION CIVILIZATION.

  • mwildfire

    I think zlaxy and vozaOdb are contributing nothing useful with their typical vituperative sneering, but on the other hand, the gist of what they’re saying does have merit. That is, while the Post is slanting reporting of its own poll to hide the degree to which Americans want to make responsible change, there is also a large gap between what they endorsed in the poll–vague feel-good goals without visible trade-offs–and what it would actually take to avert the climate (and biodiversity) crisis. This is because most Americans get most of their information from the “mainstream” (corporate) media, which has kept the conversation focused on Is Climate Change Real? for three decades now. So most are not even aware of the real issues. I read yesterday that France–under Macron–has a Citizens Assembly working on weekends for months to craft a serious plan to get France to 40% reduction in GHG in 10 years, and England is beginning the same process. This makes sense–the citizens are carefully chosen to be representative of the French, they have access to all kinds of experts, and they are paid for their time. Expecting elected officials to do it makes no sense because, while they are paid for their time and have access to experts, every country has an electoral system that guarantees that most politicians are beholden to the rich and the corporations for their seats, and therefore we can’t have policies that the rich and the corporations don’t like–exactly the policies we need.

  • “Beginning in the 1980s, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund became
    leading advocates of the global warming agenda. … In their Sustainable
    Development Program Review, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund boasts of
    being one of the first major global warming activists, citing its strong
    advocacy for both the 1988 formation of the U.N. Intergovernmental
    Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the 1992 establishment of the U.N.
    Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

    https : / / www . globalresearch . ca / rockefeller-familys-covert-climate-change-plan/5678775

  • kevinzeese

    zlaxy will be no longer publishing on Popular Resistance. He just posts constant false information.