Climate News Podcast: Public Sentiment on Climate Legislation – Does Congress See the Writing on the Wall?


Environment & Energy reporter Alex Kaplun reports on the gap between consistent polling that shows most American favor passage of a climate and energy bill and the difficulty such legislation has in gaining any real traction in Congress.

One of the reasons, the report says, is that astute politicians are skeptical of public sentiment – fearing it is only a cursory acceptance of the idea. Once the rubber meets the road and talk turns to cost, many speculate that the American public “isn’t willing to spend what it’s going to cost.” Yet just exactly how much it will cost varies a great deal, depending on who you talk to. From the daily cost of a postage stamp to thousands of dollars every year for the average American household.

While polling from all sides of the political spectrum report a majority are in favor of climate and energy legislation, those numbers have been consistently  eroding (see our post from last fall about a Pew Research study that shows fewer Americans see climate change as a serious issue). Proponents see the reason for this erosion in support due to a “muddling of the waters” from special interests and those intent on sinking any chance of a climate and energy bill passing Congress.

Still, supporters say that once the public fully understands the import such legislation has on national security, jobs, and America’s leadership role in the world (not to mention a sustainable future), the motives of those special interest will become clear and there will come with it  renewed support behind the bill.

2010 will be an interesting year as the forces of progress and those of business-as-usual fight it out in the court of public opinion.

The podcast report was read by GlobalWarmingisReal editor Tom Schueneman. The report was published on Environment & Energy News (subscription required)

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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