Polls, politics, and climate change

A poll by Zogby of 1,005 likely voters, carried out for the National Wildlife Federation, found that 45 per cent “strongly favour” the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and 26 per cent “somewhat favour” it.

At the same time, another survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Survey (H/T Treehugger) shows what has been pointed out before: the US is relatively unconcerned about climate change compared to other countries.

Despite this, the Zogby poll shows fairly strong support for the bill, especially considering the confusion and suspicions that cap-and-trade tends to attract. But as the political wrangling over climate change legislation in many countries shows, it’s not so much what the majority of citizens think that matters. Getting the ACES bill through the House required some major concessions, and getting it through the Senate is not going to be much easier, not least because several Democrat Senators from carbon-intensive states are dubious about how it will affect their constituencies.

Meanwhile in Australia, political machinations are likely to get the better of a bill introducing an emissions trading scheme when it goes before the Senate tomorrow.

The minority Greens party is planning to vote with the opposition against the bill, because it objects to the bundling of ETS legislation together with renewable energy targets.

News website Crikey accuses the Government of ‘wedge’ politics: in other words, creating an opportunity to question the conservative opposition’s green credentials (the site is not much more complimentary about the opposition’s efforts to derail the scheme). This is all despite the fairly widespread support for an emissions trading scheme in Australia.

It makes us wonder, in the words of Clive Hamilton, an author and ‘progressive’ ethics academic: “Is parliamentary democracy capable of responding adequately to the climate crisis?”

Related links:

Climate change attitudes and the lure of oil revenue (FT Energy Source, 31/07/09)
Climate change and marketing 101 (FT Energy Source, 21/05/09)

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