The runaway verdict

  • 30/12/1997

A poll conducted by the New York Times barely a fortnight before the Kyoto negotiations found that people in the US are far more willing than their government to take early action on global warming. About 65 per cent of those polled said that the US should take steps now to cut its own emissions "regardless of what other countries do.' Only 15 per cent of the 953 people polled said that the US should delay acting until many countries agree how to address the problem together.

A majority of the respondents (63 per cent) said the greenhouse effect can be reduced in ways that will not hurt the economy. Three-quarters of college graduates and 59 per cent of high school graduates favoured action even without a binding treaty. Even more encouragingly, 82 per cent of the respondents said they were willing to pay an extra US $50 for an energy-efficient appliance, 74 per cent said they would buy a car with better fuel economy, and 51 per cent were willing to pay 12 cents more for gasoline.

Another survey conducted by researchers at Ohio State University revealed that US citizens are most concerned about the potential impacts of global warming on sea levels, food supplies and animal species. The survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, found that public beliefs are in line with those of the scientific community

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