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Poll: 70 Percent of Voters Want Next President to Address Climate Crisis

A new poll also suggests that voters want Biden to take a more aggressive approach on climate.

Climate activists chant as they occupy Lafayette Park with a 120 foot banner demanding President Biden act on climate change near the White House on July 4, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

New polling suggests that a majority of Americans want to select a president in the 2024 election who will move aggressively to address the climate crisis — and that they don’t believe President Joe Biden is doing enough on the issue.

A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll published this week asked respondents whether they approved of Biden’s job performance on climate so far. Just 40 percent of voters said Biden is doing a good job on climate, while nearly three in five voters (57 percent) said they disapprove of his actions on the climate crisis.

Notably, a sizable chunk of Biden’s own base wants him to do better. More than one in five Democratic voters (22 percent) said they disapprove of Biden’s work on climate change.

Voters overwhelmingly want a president who will take a stronger approach to the climate crisis. The poll asked respondents if they want the next president to “be someone who favors government action to address climate change, or someone who opposes such action.” Seventy percent of voters voiced support for stronger government action on the climate crisis, while only 27 percent said they were opposed.

Support for addressing the climate crisis also transcended political parties. Eighty-nine percent of Democratic voters and 51 percent of Republican voters want the next president to take a stronger stance on climate.

Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act allocated hundreds of billions of dollars for addressing the climate crisis. But only 39 percent of the poll’s respondents voiced support for the measure— despite a majority of respondents saying they they backed major policy items within the legislation, including expanded tax credits for those purchasing electric vehicles, tax credits for new homeowners who buy energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and credits for homeowners and businesses that purchase solar panels.

July was the hottest month ever recorded on earth, and two-thirds of U.S. adults say that climate change has had a noticeable effect on their communities, according to polling from NPR. In recent years, the U.S. has seen an alarming growth of heat-related death, which nearly doubled from 2010 to 2022. This year is likely to break records for the number of deaths recorded related to heat.

While the Biden administration did pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which included a number of important climate crisis-related stipulations, critics are calling on the White House to stop taking actions that further embed U.S. dependency on fossil fuels.

Several lawmakers, including Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), signed an open letter last month urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to sue fossil fuel companies for spending years lying about the reality of climate change, alleging that their actions were illegal and a violation of the public’s trust.

“The actions of ExxonMobil, Shell, and potentially other fossil fuel companies represent a clear violation of federal racketeering laws, truth in advertising laws, consumer protection laws, and potentially other laws,” the senators wrote.

In an op-ed for The Guardian, climate scientist Peter Kalmus derided Biden for not declaring a national climate emergency, which would allow the executive branch to take more action on the issue.

“Biden’s refusal to declare a climate emergency and his eagerness to push new pipelines and new drilling — at an even faster pace than Trump — goes against science, goes against common sense, goes against life on Earth,” Kalmus wrote.

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