A new Gallup poll asked about six of Biden’s climate proposals. All of them had the support of a majority of American adults.
The right often attempts to paint the Biden administration’s proposals to address climate change as extreme and out of step with what Americans want. Well surprise, surprise: Turns out that’s a bunch of bullshit. New polling conducted by Gallup found that actually, a majority of American adults are on board with policies that help to reduce our overall emissions — so maybe we should start, you know, pursuing them instead of kowtowing to Big Oil interests.
Gallup polled six policy proposals that were already in President Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which was neutered by spineless centrist Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and eventually killed. All of them had support from a majority of respondents.
The top polling item is a very American solution: tax credits for going green. A whopping 89% of people polled showed support for offering tax breaks to people who install clean energy systems in their homes, and three-fourths supported extending tax incentives to businesses to get them to switch to renewable power. Let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge that just 100 corporations are responsible for 71% of all emissions and have been raking in money while destroying the planet for decades, but sure, let’s give them a tax cut to clean up their very profitable act.
Other policies that get the near no-brainer label, per Gallup: setting higher fuel efficiency standards (71% support), establishing strict limits on methane (62% support), and tax credits for electric vehicles (61% support).
The good news about this particular set of policies is that they work. The Obama administration set stricter fuel efficiency standards (which former President Donald Trump eventually reversed and Biden reinstated) and, lo and behold, cars became more efficient. It’s not an ideal solution because it only applies to new cars and doesn’t limit the number of gas guzzlers hitting the road, but it is projected to lessen our overall oil consumption. Tax credits for electric cars also works pretty dang well, with studies showing incentives like this leading to a nearly 30% increase in EV sales. As for methane reduction: That one is key, because methane is a much more intense greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Messaging on reducing methane emissions has ramped up in recent years, with the United Nations warning that reductions are essential if we’re going to keep the planet’s warming under control, and it finally seems the general public is on board with that.
The one policy that had the most tepid support, per Gallup, was the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. Just 59% backed this build-out. The pushback might best be captured in Manchin’s weird claim from last month that the government didn’t help build out infrastructure for gas vehicles — except it absolutely did, and has heavily subsidized the gas and oil industry since its inception.
Perhaps more interesting than the actual policies themselves is the fact that a majority of Americans seem to have reached the tipping point on climate change: Now, 53% worry more about the risk to the environment caused by failing to act than they do about the potential economic cost of implementing these policies. That’s about as clear of a signal as you’re going to get that it’s time to act. The policies are popular, action is expected, and Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. We should address climate change even if it isn’t popular. It just so happens that it is.