Climate Solutions: Chapter 11

May 7, 2012, 11:49 am

Survey Says ...

It is incredibly important for everyone to tell truth all the time about the state the planet is in as very dire and very dark. We need to tap into that sense of reality. [14] —Bill McKibben, 2008 

Nearly all Americans (94%) say they are ready to make changes in their lives in order to help the environment. The ABC News–Washington Post–Stanford University poll on the environment in 2007 identified that majorities support specific actions, as shown in Table 11.1. It is interesting to compare the strong existing support revealed by the poll with the seven strategies of “low-hanging fruit” for greenhouse gas reduction (CFL bulbs, tires, etc.) summarized by Michael Vandenbergh in Chapter 6. In short, three policy measures receive majority support from all groups within the political spectrum and would therefore appear to be low-hanging legislative fruit for lawmakers to enact: mandatory recyclable shopping bags, mandatory trash recycling, and mandatory low-flow toilets in new installations.

 Table 11.1 Who Supports What Action?
 Environmental action  Percent of public support
 Heat/air conditioning  67% say they would be willing to keep their home warmer in summer or cooler in winter.
 Grocery bags  82% favor a local law requiring supermarkets to use shopping bags made of recycled products.
 Trash recycling  74% favor a local law making recycling of solid waste mandatory (20% say this is already mandatory in their communities).
 Water use  71% support requiring newly installed toilets to use low-flow water-saving technology; 59% support mandating low-flow showerheads.
 Lightbulbs  56% support requiring energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs; 70% say they use as least some such bulbs now.
 Automobiles tires  68% say they checked the pressure in their car tires within the last month.
 Willingness to change  36% of Republicans are “very willing” to alter personal behavior for environmental reasons, versus 51% of independents and 59% of Democrats. Willingness to change is 10% higher among women than men, and highest among liberals.
 Table Source: [3]


  1. Abassi D (2006) Americans and Climate Change: Closing the Gap between Science and Action. (Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT).
  2. ABC News/Planet Green/Stanford Poll (2008) Fuel Costs Boost Conservation Efforts: 7 in 10 Reducing “Carbon Footprint.” August 9, 2008 (read September 29, 2008).
  3. ABC News/Washington Post/Stanford Poll (2007) The Environment: Concern Soars about Global Warming as World’s Top Environmental Threat. April 20, 2007 (read September 24, 2008).
  4. Aldhous P (2007) Global warming: the buck stops here. The New Scientist 194(2609):16?– 19.
  5. Bannon B, DeBell M, Krosnick JA, Kopp R, Aldhous P (2007) Americans’ Evaluations of Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Resources for the Future, New Scientist Magazine Technical Report (read October 10, 2008).
  6. California Environmental Associates (2007) Design to Win: Philanthropy’s Role in the Fight Against Global Warming.
  7. Environmental Grantmakers Association (2008) EGA Intersections: Confronting the Climate Challenge. Environmental Grantmakers Association (read September 10, 2008).
  8. Gardner G (2006) Inspiring Progress: Religions’ Contributions to Sustainable Development. (Worldwatch Institute, Washington, DC).
  9. Kohut A (2008) A Deeper Partisan Divide over Global Warming. May 8, 2008. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. http://people
  10. Krosnick J (2008) American Perspective on Climate Change. National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Climate Science and Solutions.
  11. Lawrence S (2008) Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates 2008. Foundations Today Series. (Foundation Center, New York).
  12. McKibben B (2008) (read August 15, 2008).
  13. NAE (2008) For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility. National Association of Evangelicals (read September 30, 2008).
  14. NCSE (2008) Climate Science and Solutions. National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment.
  15. New York Regional Association of Grantmakers (2008) Doris Duke Going Green, p 9 in NYRAG Memo: Environmental Grantmaking.
  16. Senge P (2008) Peter Senge “Impact of Globalization” QuickTalk.
  17. Viederman S (2008) “How Grant Makers Can Curb Global Warming.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, February 13, 2008.

Online resources

Action items

 Action 29: Mass Action?— How Scientists Can Engage the Public in Global Dialogue Toward Shared Policy and Behavior Change Solutions for Global Climate Change 

Instructor resources

(password required)



This is a chapter from Climate Solutions Consensus.
Previous: Chapter 10: Carbon Meets Wall Street  |  Table of Contents  |  Next: Chapter 12: Think Globally, Incubate Locally




Wiegman, L., & Blockstein, D. (2012). Climate Solutions: Chapter 11. Retrieved from


To add a comment, please Log In.