Barry Rabe and Christopher Borick present findings from their Spring 2012 National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change survey in two papers.
The first, “Public Views on Climate Policy Options,” present highlights on the issue of public support for a range of climate policy options. It finds that Americans tend to be opposed to those kinds of policies most commonly endorsed by economists, namely taxes and emission trading mechanisms that utilize market principles in attempting to achieve cost-effective reductions. In contrast, Americans tend to support those kinds of policies least commonly endorsed by economists, including a range of regulatory programs related to energy development, industrial emission controls, and vehicular fuel mandates.
The second paper, “Continued Rebound in American Belief in Climate Change,” highlights the relatively high number of Americans that indicated there is solid evidence of global warming, countering declines in belief levels that occurred in Spring interviews following winter seasons in 2010 and 2011. This contrast with past spring results corresponds with substantially varied winter weather in most parts of the United States in recent years; the 2010 and 2011 winters produced record snowfall in many areas whereas the 2012 winter season ended up as one of the most mild in the last century. This correlation of weather variation and changing levels of belief is accompanied by additional evidence that Americans are linking weather events and experiences to their views on the existence of climate change.