Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note:This is another is a series of monthly “Freedom Index” polls conducted exclusively for WND by the public opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Almost half of the Americans who responded to a new poll say they have concerns about the impact of carbon dioxide on the climate, but two out of three say they have no interest whatsoever in opening their wallets to pay for any mitigation.
Asked whether they “believe that man-produced carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases will induce catastrophic climate change” if unaddressed, 49.6 percent of the respondents said yes. Twenty-seven percent said no, and 23.4 percent were uncertain. The concern from Democrats and Republicans was reversed with Democrats saying 10-1 yes and Republicans saying 2-1 no.
However, when asked if they were willing to “pay significantly higher energy bills in the hope of heading off what some scientists believe to be impending climate change,” 63.6 percent said no. That included Democrats by a margin of almost 3-1 and members of the GOP by 12-1.
The WND/Wenzel survey was conducted July 12-17 using an automated telephone technology calling a random sampling of listed telephone numbers nationwide. The survey included 16 questions and carries a 95 percent confidence interval. It included 807 adult respondents. It carries a margin of error of +/– 3.4 percentage points.
“This dramatizes the decades-old problem that environmental activists have had in pushing for structural change in society to accommodate fears of environmental doom – many people may agree that some long-term harm may befall humanity, but they are much more concerned about the short-term cost,” said pollster Fritz Wenzel.
“After an unusually cold winter followed by a summer where U.S. temperatures have been unusually mild, the urgency to act is clearly waning in the minds of many,” he said.
Only 15.2 percent responded they are willing to pay much more, while 21.2 percent said they were uncertain.
Asked about the pending “cap and trade” legislation in Congress that restricts the amount of carbon dioxide and water vapor that can be produced – generating financial penalties for violators – only 23.7 percent of the respondents support the measure.
Nearly 42 percent opposed it and another 35 percent were unsure.
“As the U.S. Senate considers the bill, the fact that fewer than one in four Americans favors its passage should give them serious pause,” Wenzel commented.
The core of the opposition appeared to be the costs, but Americans also were worried about the impact on the economy from rocketing prices for gasoline, natural gas, electricity and other sources of energy.
“Nearly half – 46 percent said they think it will harm the economy. And while President Obama and other Democrats have been touting the concept of ‘green jobs’ as the savior of the wallowing economy, few are buying it, our polling shows,” according to Wenzel.
“Just 17 percent said they think ‘Cap and Trade’ will help the economy. Even Democrats are unconvinced – just 26 percent said they think it will help the economy, while an identical percentage of Democrats said it will cause economic harm,” he said.
There also were significant doubts about the constitutionality of the tax program and concerns about its wisdom.
Fewer than 25 voters out of 100 believed the plan to limit production of natural gases that are not actual pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor event, is constitutional. Nearly 32 percent said it violates the nation’s founding document, and about 43 percent were unsure.
Forty-five percent said it just isn’t wise for the government to attempt it, and 30 percent said they weren’t sure. Only 24.9 percent agreed with the wisdom of the taxing program.
“Even among those who voted for Obama in the November elections, less than one-third (30 percent) said they believed it was constitutional. And, among those same Obama voters, just 31 percent said they thought it was wise to try to regulate man–breathed carbon dioxide and water vapor,” Wenzel said.
“[It] creates a problem for the Obama administration at a time when his job approval rating is sinking and his legislative agenda remains packed with controversial proposals,” Wenzel said. “With the public so heavily weighted against it, to pass ‘Cap and Trade’ may cost the Obama administration much more political capital than it can afford, especially given the looming battle over health care reform.”
Wenzel is president of Wenzel Strategies a public opinion research and media consulting company. Formerly associated with Zogby International, he spent 25 years as a news and political reporter for major metro dailies.
WND recently reported when former Vice President Al Gore, whose “An Inconvenient Truth” video epistle on the claims of global warming has not weathered recent scientific research, promised at a conference in the United Kingdom that the impending virtual energy tax under the U.S. “cap-and-trade” legislation will bring about “global governance.”
While so-called “global warming” was supposed to bring more and more horrific hurricanes, according to many scientists and politicians, since 2005 only one major hurricane has struck North America.
WND also reported that a team of scientists with years of expertise in climate issues recently wrote to Congress asserting the “sky is not falling” and there is no evidence man is causing global warming.
The letter was signed by physics professors Robert H. Austin and William Happer of Princeton, environmental sciences professor S. Fred Singer of the University of Virginia, retired manager for strategic planning at ExxonMobil Roger Cohen, physics professor (emeritus) Harold W. Lewis at UC-Santa Barbara and others.