Climate & Energy

New developments in climate science and the transition to clean energy.

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Latest news along with blogs by PCAP’s Bill Becker and other prominent commentators.

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Kindred Groups & Resources

Other groups working on climate change and the clean energy transition, regardless of political affiliations, along with resources climate activists can use.

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PCAP Archive

The most important of PCAP’s previous reports and studies.

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What Are Americans Thinking About Climate?

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communications has released new survey results on what Americans think about climate change. Overall, a growing number of Americans accept that global warming is underway and say that climate change is affecting them personally.
  • Seven in ten Americans (70%) think global warming is happening. Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it is not by a 5 to 1 ratio.
  • Americans are also becoming increasingly certain that global warming is happening – 49% are “extremely” or “very” sure it is happening. ,
  • Over half of Americans (58%) understand that global warming is mostly human-caused.
  • Only about one in seven Americans (15%) understand that nearly all climate scientists (more than 90%) have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening.
  • About six in ten Americans (62%) say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming. About one in five (21%) are “very worried” about it.
  • About six in ten Americans (61%) think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, and three in ten think weather is being affected “a lot” (29%).
  • About four in ten Americans (39%) think people in the United States are being harmed by global warming “right now.” Four in ten Americans (41%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming.
  • Four in ten or more Americans think they (42%) or their family (47%) will be harmed by global warming.
  • About six in ten Americans (63%) say the issue of global warming is either “extremely” (10%), “very” (18%), or “somewhat” (35%) important to them personally.
  • Only 6% say humans can and will successfully reduce global warming. About half (49%) say humans could reduce global warming, but it’s unclear at this point whether we will do what is necessary, and about one in five (22%) say we won’t reduce global warming because people are unwilling to change their behavior.
  • The most common reason why Americans want to reduce global warming is to provide a better life for our children and grandchildren – a reason selected by one in four Americans (24%). The next most common reasons are preventing the destruction of most life on the planet (16%) and protecting God’s creation (12%).
  • A majority of Americans are worried about harm from extreme events in their local area including extreme heat (64%), droughts (61%), flooding (60%), and/or water shortages (52%).
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What Are Americans Thinking About Energy?

As we move closer to mid-term elections, polling by Gallup, released in April 2018, found that American concerns about energy are at the lowest level in two decades or more. However, Americans still prefer environmental protection, energy conservation and alternative energy over producing more fossil fuels. Here are Gallups results:

Millennials, Trump Voters Want Action

The data in these graphs are from a report commissioned by the Alliance for Market Solutions, using the results of a study by Echelon Insights including a survey of 800 registered voters age 18-35 and from focus groups of young right-of-center adults in Charlotte, NC, during January 2018.

What’s New?

“We’ve never seen anything like this…”

In case you haven’t noticed, several new words and phrases have become more common in newspapers and on the evening news lately. They are used so often, in fact, that they are replacing “war torn nation” and “’tis the season”

The Good Tax

By Bill Ritter Jr. For some Americans and their elected representatives, there is no such thing as a good tax. Even when it is clearly in the public interest, a new tax is considered one of those “third rails” that

Restoring the Presidency

The Brennan Center for Justice has launched a bipartisan task force to identify how fundamental norms and rules can be restored in the American presidency after the tenure of Donald Trump. Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, a member of PCAP’s National Advisory Committee, is one of the task force co-chairs. Here, she and co-chair Preet Bharara explain what they have in mind. Their op-ed first appeared in USA Today.

The First Climate Election

Bill Becker posts a series of blogs on the importance of this year’s midterm elections to climate action in the U.S.

Part 1: The Big Issues

Donald Trump’s performance,  the flaws in our democracy and climate change should be among the issues in the 2018 midterm elections.

Part 2: Unrigging Democracy

Democracy is being sabotaged, and not just be the Russians. Here’s how and what we can do about it.

Part 3: No More Nice Days.

Why 2018 and 2020 should be America’s historic climate elections.

We can fight climate change without Washington.

By Bill McKibben
A frontal approach to climate action in the United States may not be successful, but the flanks are wide open

U.S. Military assesses its climate vulnerability

In its latest vulnerability assessment, the Department of Defense says half its facilities are vulnerable to climate effects.

This map from the Department of Defense shows the military sites in the lower 48 states that are vulnerable to flooding, extreme temperatures, wind, drought and/or wildfires.

Antidotes to the Poison of Campaign Finance

By Timothy E. Wirth
Secret and corrupting funding will always try to find a way into politics, but as in the past, our democracy can survive and succeed if citizens and their..

Finding Freedom in Restraint

By William D. Ruckelshaus Whether you believe it a moral obligation to care for other living things or an intelligent instinct for self-preservation, we need collectively to constrain our conduct so we…

GOP Alienates Young Conservatives on Climate Change

Commentary by Kiera O’Brien and Ben Zollinger published originally in February by CNBC

The Republican Party is alienating an entire generation of young conservative voters by continuing to downplay climate science and sidestep solutions.

Among the many internal battles over the heart and soul of the GOP, the most overlooked yet consequential may center on energy and environmental policy. Here, party leaders risk driving away the millennial generation that is the future of both parties, and already the largest voting bloc

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“As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
“We have, I hope, finally put to rest the false choice between the economy and the environment, for we have the strongest economy perhaps in our history, with a cleaner environment.”
President Bill Clinton
“The great question of the seventies is, shall we surrender to our surroundings, or shall we make our peace with nature and begin to make reparations for the damage we have done to our air, to our land, and to our water?”
President Richard M. Nixon
“I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing.”
Barack H. Obama
“Laws change; people die; the land remains.”
President Abraham Lincoln