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Demonstrators march down Pennsylvania Avenue during a People's Climate March, to protest U.S. President Donald Trump stance on the environment, in Washington
FixGov

Paris Agreement enjoys more support than Donald Trump

William A. Galston

President Trump reportedly intends to withdraw from the Paris Climate agreement. His advisors may have told him that it will be a popular move. This is what they told him about firing FBI Director James Comey, and he seems to have believed it. This could become yet another self-inflicted wound, because vast majorities of Americans want to remain in the Paris accord, including many of his own supporters.

In a survey of registered voters taken just weeks after the 2016 election, 69% said that the U.S. should participate in the agreement. This figure included 86% of Democrats, 61% of Independents, and 51% of Republicans. By a margin of 40 to 34%, even a plurality of self-described conservative Republicans backed the agreement.

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The administration has argued that the Paris agreement is “unfair” because large polluting countries such as India and China are not required to do anything until 2030. The voters don’t buy this argument. Two-thirds of them—79% of Democrats, 56% of Independents, and 51% of Republicans–say that the U.S. should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions regardless of what other countries do.

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What about Mr. Trump’s core supporters? A February 2017 survey of voters who supported him in November found 47% in favor of participating in the Paris agreement; only 28% disagreed.

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By the way, only 30% of Mr. Trump’s supporters agree with his claim that climate change is a hoax.

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The president may be interested in his supporters’ views on related subjects:

• 62% support taxing and/or regulating the pollution that causes global warming.
• 71% favor funding more research into clean energy.
• 69% favor providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy efficient vehicles or solar panels.
• 52% favor eliminating all federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, and 48% support requiring the industry to pay a carbon tax that would be used to reduce other taxes.
• 73% say that the U.S. should make more use of renewable energy sources, compared to only 31% who say this about fossil fuels. In fact, more Trump voters think we should reduce rather than increase our use of fossil fuels.

The president and his advisors may regard these surveys as more fake news from academia. Before they dismiss them outright, they may want to take a look at the list of other surveys conducted in the past year that reached similar conclusions:

Author

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

University of Maryland Program for Public Consultation

AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs

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