Posts Tagged ‘opinion polls’

Being an environmentalist in Texas, sometimes it feels like the whole world is against you.  There’s a common assumption that folks around here just don’t care as much about the environment as elsewhere, and that people don’t see climate change as all that much of a threat.  When I tell people that I work to protect the environment and combat climate change, the reaction is often “whew, in Texas? Good luck.”

But surprisingly, polls show that people in Texas are just as concerned about climate change as in the rest of the U.S. Two recently conducted 2009 polls — Lyceum Poll and the Houston Area Survey — show that Texans not only share similar views on climate change with the rest of the nation, but that there is just as strong a desire for regulation here as anywhere else.  Who’da thunk?

Results from the Lyceum Poll show that a slightly higher percentage of Texans actually supported a cap and trade mechanism than opposed it.  When asked the following question,

There’s a proposed system called “cap and trade.” The government would issue permits limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can put out. Companies that did not use all their permits could sell them to other companies. Supporters argue that many companies would find ways to put out less greenhouse gases, because that would be cheaper than buying permits. Opponents argue that this amounts to a huge tax on large companies. Would you support or oppose this system?

… 47% said they would still support cap and trade, while 44% were opposed.  The other 11% either didn’t know or didn’t want to say.  These results are pretty close to that of a national poll for the Washington Post and ABC News, which had a slightly higher margin of support for cap and trade.

When asked, “What about requiring utilities to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, even if this means that electricity rates will rise?”, respondents to the Houston Area Survey were 49% for and 45% against — pretty close to the results of the Lyceum Poll.  The Houston numbers dropped significantly from the last time that the survey was completed in 2007, when 66% were for and just 25% against.  Considering the current economic climate however, this isn’t particularly shocking.

Both Texas and national polls are showing, however, that the split between the “fors” and the “againsts” is increasingly falling along party lines.

So take heart, my fellow enviros.  You may think that you’re alone out there — but chances are, at least half of the state is probably on your side.  Our representatives might not be acting like it, but that’s probably because 9 times out of 10, they aren’t hearing from everyday citizens.  They’re hearing from business, industry, and the special interests that have a vested interest in keeping the status quo.  Might be worth your while to drop them a line, tell them how you feel.  What’ve you got to lose?

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