By John Parnell
Climate change should be made a priority for the President and for Congress according to 77% of Americans in a new poll.
The survey by Yale Project on Climate Change Communication also unearthed resounding support for clean energy with 92% of those asked saying it should be a very high (31%), high (38%) or medium priority (23%) for both Congress and the President.
The interviews were carried out between August 31 and September 12, two months before the US election and Hurricane Sandy, which was credited with bringing climate change back into the political debate days before the polls opened.
Both candidates had been silent on climate issues prior to the Hurricane.
Asked who they thought influenced elected officials on climate issues 50% said large campaign contributors have “a lot” of influence and 42% said fossil- fuel companies. Only 22% said environmentalists have a lot of influence and just 20% said the same of climate scientists.
National climate change policies have struggled to gain traction in Washington with the Republican Party, which controls Congress, deeply hostile to climate action.
State level actions have fared better with most establishing targets for renewable energy generation.
California’s landmark carbon trading platform will auction its first emissions allowances today and joins the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) programme which includes nine states.
Despite calls for the election’s winner Barack Obama to push climate change up the agenda, no great shift is anticipated at the next round of UN climate change talks in Doha.