- Democrats, independents much more in favor of such proposals than Republicans
- Reduced 52% majority believes fossil fuels can be dramatically cut in U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans’ support for dramatically reducing the use of fossil fuels in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions hasn’t changed since Gallup first tested this proposal in 2019. About six in 10 continue to be in favor. However, the public is less confident than they were four years ago that the U.S. can achieve this goal.
These data are from Gallup’s annual Environment poll, conducted March 1-23. Gallup previously measured support for reducing fossil fuel use in March 2019, as Congress debated a nonbinding resolution that called for dramatic reductions in fossil fuel use. The resolution, known as the Green New Deal, did not pass.
President Joe Biden has set targets to sharply reduce U.S. carbon emissions, but has also approved some new oil and gas projects, which environmental advocates say undercut these goals.
About Six in 10 Still Support Proposals to Reduce U.S. Gas Emissions
Fifty-eight percent of U.S. adults say they would "strongly favor" (29%) or "favor" (29%) policies aimed at dramatically reducing the use of fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal in the U.S. within the next 10 or 20 years, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. About four in 10 say they would "oppose" (22%) or "strongly oppose" (19%) them.
The total percentage of Americans who currently favor such policies is similar to the 60% recorded in 2019.
The proposals enjoy widespread support among Democrats (84%) as well as a solid majority of independents (62%). Republicans are unlikely to support the policies, with 25% expressing support and 74% opposition.
Compared with 2019, Republicans are less likely to favor policies to dramatically reduce fossil fuel usage, while Democrats and independents are slightly more supportive or unchanged.
Americans Now Less Likely Than in 2019 to Say Fossil Fuel Use Can Be Reduced
A small majority of Americans say it is "very likely" (18%) or "likely" (34%) that the U.S. could dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels within the next 10 or 20 years.
The combined 52% saying it’s likely is down eight percentage points from 60% in 2019.
The eight-point decline since 2019 in the percentage of Americans saying it’s likely the U.S. can dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels reflects a sharp drop in Republicans saying this (down 22 points to 32%), as well as a slight decline among independents (down eight points to 53%). Democrats, however, are just as confident today as they were in the previous measure that it can happen, with about two-thirds feeling this way.
The U.S. public supports significant reductions in fossil fuels in order to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the signature goal of the 2019 Green New Deal as well as Biden administration policies. Although the scope of the Green New Deal extended far beyond that goal, renewed efforts to pursue such proposals may be welcomed by a public that mostly favors them and feels fossil fuel reduction is realistic.
Republican support for fossil fuel reduction efforts was lukewarm in 2019 and has only gotten cooler in the years since. This may be in part because of their prioritization of energy production over environmental protection, but also because Republicans don’t ultimately see a decrease in fossil fuels as achievable. But independents, too, have become less likely to view a reduction in fossil fuel use as realistic, while still maintaining their majority support for these kinds of proposals.
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