The Heat Is Online

More than 80 Percent of Americans Want Action on Climate Change

June 3, 2003


EUGENE, Ore. -- More than 80 percent of Americans think the United States should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new survey conducted at the University of Oregon.

The survey is especially timely as the U.S. Senate debates the National Energy Plan. Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., are co-sponsoring an amendment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through government regulation and a market-based trading system.

The survey data, compiled by the UO's Survey Research Laboratory, found that of those Americans who have heard of global warming (92 percent):

  • A strong majority (77 percent) supports regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant and investment in renewable energy (71 percent).
  • A strong majority (88 percent) supports the Kyoto Protocol and wants the United States to reduce emissions regardless of what other countries do (76 percent).
  • While a majority favors a tax on "gas guzzlers" (54 percent), strong majorities oppose a gasoline tax (78 percent) or a business energy tax (60 percent) to reduce emissions.
  • Americans divide evenly (40 percent) regarding a market-based emissions trading system, while 18 percent are uncertain.


"One of the most surprising findings was the strong, bipartisan support for action," said Anthony Leiserowitz, the study's principal investigator. "Clear majorities of Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals said they support national policies to address global warming. With the Senate now debating the issue, decisions that will affect us all for generations to come are in the balance."

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the mail survey of 673 adults was conducted between November 2002 and February 2003.

Project Results:

View Project Report (HTML)

University of Oregon Media Relations Press Release

Contact: Ross West, (541) 346-2060,

Source: Anthony Leiserowitz, (541) 346-0871,