Poll Finds Concern on Climate Change Rising

Awareness of Inflation Reduction Act's green provisions isn't high, possibly a problem for Biden
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 18, 2024 5:10 PM CDT
Poll: Climate Change Concern Is Growing but May Not Help Biden
A sign sits at an electric vehicle charging station in March in London, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel, File)

Like many Americans, Ron Theusch is becoming more worried about climate change. A resident of Alden, Minnesota, Theusch has noticed increasingly dry and mild winters punctuated by short periods of severe cold—symptoms of a warming planet. As he thinks about that, future generations are on his mind, the AP reports. "We have four children that are in their 20s," the 56-year-old truck driver and moderate Democrat said. "It's like, what's our grandkids' world going to be like?" A new poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that 45% of adults in the US say they have become more concerned about climate change over the past year, including roughly 6 in 10 Democrats and one-quarter of Republicans.

President Biden's signature climate change policy, the Inflation Reduction Act, was intended to address some of those fears, investing billions in incentives for consumers and businesses to move toward clean energy sources. But the poll suggests that although the law has already affected some Americans, it's not widely known—and may not be the electoral boost Biden is looking for. About one-quarter of Americans say tax credits for renewable energy projects such as wind power have benefited people like them so far, with similar numbers for incentives for companies to manufacture clean energy technologies in the US rather than abroad, tax credits for individuals to add solar panels to their homes, or subsidies and tax credits for electric vehicles and energy-efficient appliances like heat pumps.

Promoting electric vehicles has also been a major focus for the Biden administration, and 15% of US adults say electric vehicles have had a good impact on them personally. "I totally agree with the act because it's done so many things for people," said Charles Lopez, a 65-year-old liberal Democrat from the Florida Keys, adding, "I'm not ready for a full electric, but I'll get there when there's enough charging stations." The people who have benefited from the law are disproportionately Democrats. And while only about 1 in 10 US adults think the individual tax credits and subsidies have hurt people like them, those provisions of the law aren't yet registering with most Americans—roughly one-quarter say those credits haven't made a difference to people like them. Nearly 4 in 10 in each instance don't know enough to have an opinion about them.

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Biden still has an advantage over Donald Trump when it comes to climate change generally. About 4 in 10 US adults and two-thirds of Democrats have "a lot" or "some" trust in Biden on climate change, per the AP. Only about 3 in 10 say they have "a lot" or "some" trust in Trump with regard to addressing climate change. The poll of 1,204 adults was conducted April 4-8 and has a margin of sampling error for all respondents of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

(More climate change stories.)

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