Majority of Americans Want Local Action on Global Warming

New Haven, CT (October 5, 2007)- GfK Public Affairs and Media, a division of GfK Custom Research North America and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies today released the first installment of a new quarterly survey called the GfK Roper/Yale Survey on Environmental Issues. The first of its kind to measure public opinion of local government-led green initiatives, the survey found that a majority of Americans support a variety of city and local climate change policies to minimize the effects of global warming.


According to the study, nearly three quarters of Americans (74%) would support local regulations requiring all newly constructed homes to be more energy efficient, even when told that this policy would increase the initial cost of a new home by roughly $7,500, while saving approximately $17,500 in utility bills over 30 years.
Saving energy and money on utility bills is also one of the bonuses that motivated seven in ten Americans (72%) to support local subsidies to encourage homeowners to install electricity-generating solar panels on existing homes, even when told that this initiative would cost households an extra $5 per month in increased property taxes.
A majority of Americans would also support the following local climate change policies:
* 71% would pay $5 more a month in property taxes to support a local subsidy to encourage homeowners to replace old furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, light bulbs and insulation
* 69% would pay $8.50 more a month for local regulations requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources
* 68% would support changing their city or town’s zoning rules to decrease suburban sprawl and concentrate new development near the town center
* 65% would support changing their city or town’s zoning rules to require neighborhoods have a mix of housing, offices, industry, schools and stores close together
* 53% would back city or local fees added to electricity bills to encourage people to use less electricity
Initiatives that received greater opposition than support from respondents include changing city zoning rules to promote apartment building construction rather than single-family homes (57% oppose, 38% support) and a ten-cent city or local fee added to each gallon of gas purchased to encourage people to use less fuel (64% oppose, 34% support).
“Seven in ten Americans want their local governments to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” explains Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University. “City and local leaders are critical players in the effort to reduce global warming and it’s clear that their constituents want action. The public is on board and willing to help foot the bill. All that’s left to do now is act.”
Findings in the first GfK Roper/Yale Survey on Environmental Issues are culled from two national telephone surveys of Americans, ages 18 and over, conducted from September 21-23 (n=1,004) and September 28-30, 2007 (n=1,005) as part of GfK Roper’s weekly OMNITEL telephone omnibus service. The sample is drawn from random digit dialing (RDD) probability samples of all telephone households in the continental United States. Data were weighted to match national norms (derived from the Current Population Survey) on sex, age, region, and education. Topline findings are projectable at the 95% confidence level to the total adult continental U.S. population within an average +/- 3 percentage point margin of error.
Related Resources:
Full Global Warming Report
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies