81% of Voters Support a Green New Deal, Survey Finds
It's been little over a month since newly-elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez joined some 200 young climate activists for a sit-in in likely future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office to demand that Democrats back a Green New Deal, a plan to transform the U.S. energy economy in order to stave off climate change and promote greater equality. Since then, support has ballooned for the revolutionary policy plan, with 38 Congresspeople now pledging to back a select committee to develop it, and to renounce donations from fossil fuel companies, according to the latest tally from the Sunrise Movement. But what do voters think?
That is what the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication set out to determine with a survey shared with 966 registered voters between Nov. 28 and Dec.11. The results, published Friday, show that the idea has "overwhelming support" from voters of all parties.
The survey gave a brief explanation of the Green New Deal and then asked respondents, "How much do you support or oppose this idea?" Eighty-one percent of registered voters either "strongly" or "somewhat" supported it, and, while support was stronger among Democrats, a majority of Republicans were also in favor.
The data show overwhelming support for the #GreenNewDeal , with 81% of registered voters saying they either “somewh… https://t.co/btKna5FjKr— Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (@Yale Program on Climate Change Communication)1545080584.0
While 92 percent of Democrats supported it, 64 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of conservative Republicans also thought it was a good idea. However, there is a catch: The survey did not mention that the Green New Deal has so far been promoted by progressive Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez. The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication explained why this could alter Republican support as the deal and its proponents gain more national attention:
Other research has shown that people evaluate policies more negatively when they are told it is backed by politicians from an opposing political party. Conversely, people evaluate the same policy more positively when told it is backed by politicians from their own party.
Therefore, these findings may indicate that although most Republicans and conservatives are in favor of the Green New Deal's policies in principle, they are not yet aware that this plan is proposed by the political Left. For any survey respondents who were previously unaware of the Deal, it is likely that their reactions have not yet been influenced by partisan loyalty.
The survey also showed that most of its respondents had not heard of the deal. Before it offered its paragraph of explanation, the survey's authors asked if respondents had heard of it. Eighty-two percent answered that they had heard "nothing at all."
Before we shared our description of the Deal with survey participants, we first asked them how much, if at all, the… https://t.co/YKU0AMu9u3— Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (@Yale Program on Climate Change Communication)1545080586.0
For Yale postdoc Abel Gustafson, who co-authored the report on the survey's findings, the challenge for the deal's proponents is how to spread awareness in a way that does not alienate potential supporters.
"Given that most Americans have strong support for the components and ideas of the Green New Deal, it becomes a communication strategy problem," Gustafson told The Huffington Post. "From here, it's about how you can pitch it so you can maintain that bipartisan support throughout the rest of the process."
Another survey from Data for Progress also found broad support for a green jobs program, with 98 percent of loyal Democrats and 66 percent of loyal Republicans on board, The Huffington Post reported.
find someone who looks at you the way voters look at a green new deal. https://t.co/hMnZvA9uVQ https://t.co/eCUO0NARdt— Data for Progress (@Data for Progress)1545090613.0
Overall, Data for Progress polling found 66 percent overall either somewhat or strongly supported a green jobs guarantee.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article referred to Nancy Pelosi as "soon-to-be-House Majority Leader." In fact, she has been nominated to run for House Speaker in January, but will have to win a floor-vote in January to secure the position.
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
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