Today, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman tries to press the presidential candidates to engage in a serious debate over energy policy, giving a shout out to the new GreenPrimary.org and citing a recent poll from Center for American Progress showing most Americans “support action now to stop global warming.”
Friedman only prints a bit of the poll results, but the really important data shows wide support for supposedly controversial government solutions to global warming:
- 58% support a cap on carbon emissions from power plants and industry
- 65% support requiring one-quarter of all electricity to come from alternative sources by 2025
- 66% support raising mileage standards for cars and SUVs, from 24 miles per gallon to 40
- 71% back tax credits for using and creating solar and wind power
Solid majorities across the board, even when pollsters included conservative attacks in their questions.
The above list isn’t a set of either-or choices. It’s a comprehensive strategy for our government to mandate the end of unchecked carbon pollution while creating a market for renewable energy to flourish.
And a clear majority wants our government to responsibly take the lead.
In particular, it’s no small thing that 6 out of 10 Americans want a strong government cap on carbon emissions.
That’s arguably the single biggest thing Congress can do, but it still faces considerable resistance from filibustering Senators, coal-friendly lawmakers and a president who just found his veto pen.
Yet momentum is building for a cap, even among some conservatives (though, it should be stressed, not from Newt Gingrich, whose publicized green embrace is a calculated strategy to help stifle any cap.)
Of course, nothing comprehensive and significant will get enacted while President Bush’s veto looms.
But it’s critical to show the way and give voice to what’s needed, and not allow incremental, insufficient steps to dampen the urgency for action.
And as this new poll shows (listen up, congressional leaders and presidential candidates) there’s no political downside to doing just that.