More Americans are having regular conversations about climate change and believe we should be doing more about it. But that doesn’t necessarily include phasing out fossil fuels, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
The poll, which was conducted in April and surveyed more than 13,000 U.S. adults, found the majority of Americans (64 percent) favor using a mix of energy resources to meet demand rather than phasing fossil fuels completely out of our economy.
The sentiment was true across age groups: While support for the continued use of fossil fuels was stronger among older generations, more than half of Gen Z and Millennials responded similarly.
Further, while nearly all respondents (92 percent) said protecting the environment for future generations is important to them personally in policies to tackle climate change, the poll showed that’s not the only consideration that needs to be taken. Almost as many respondents believe that increasing jobs and economic growth and keeping consumer costs low are also important – 91 percent of adults placed high value on these factors.
From the poll, it’s clear that Americans recognize the pivotal role that oil and natural gas continues to play in our economy and overall way of life. It also demonstrates that while nearly everyone agrees that policies to address climate change need to focus on improving the environment – a given – they can’t be developed in a silo that ignores the implications of those actions on U.S. workers and consumers.
That’s not an either-or scenario as innovations in the private sector have shown. Through the use of technologies like carbon capture and improved leak detection and monitoring, it’s more than possible to reduce emissions without decreasing the U.S. domestic energy supply.
The United States continues to demonstrate this as a global leader in reducing emissions, while simultaneously producing more oil and natural gas than the rest of the world.
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