Environmental News: Media Center
WASHINGTON (February 19, 2013) – About three out of four Latinos believe that climate change is a serious problem and a substantial majority support President Obama using his authority to reduce its main cause: dangerous carbon pollution, according to a national poll of 1,218 registered voters conducted after last week’s State of the Union speech for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The poll included an oversample of 183 Latinos.
The survey findings are a clear rejection of the dismissive tone taken by Senator Marco Rubio in his response to Obama’s State of the Union address. Rubio shrugged off the need for action on climate change, saying “our government can’t control the weather.”
Latinos clearly disagree with Rubio, with a strong majority convinced that action is needed soon to reduce a real threat of climate disruption.
Released on the heels of the hottest year ever in the U.S. and one marked by extreme weather, the poll of Latinos conducted by Public Policy Polling for NRDC found:
- 74 percent of Latinos believe climate change is a serious or very serious problem, a higher level than the 65 percent among all American adults.
- 68 percent of Latinos support the president using his authority to reduce dangerous carbon pollution, including 60 percent of all American adults.
- 69 percent of Latinos agree with the president’s statement that “for the sake of our children” and our future, we must do more to combat climate change, compared to 62 percent of all American adults.
Adrianna Quintero, director of Voces Verdes (Vocesverdes.org) said: “These poll findings clearly show that President Obama speaks for Latinos on climate and clean energy issues. Latinos do not agree with Sen. Rubio that we should stand by and do nothing in the face of the ravages of climate change. The best way to strike back is to reduce the dangerous carbon pollution from our dirtiest power plants, the single greatest threat to our climate’s future. Latinos are counting on bold action and leadership– for the sake of all of America’s children.”
Other key poll findings include the following
- 64 percent of Latinos agreed with Obama’s promise to make addressing climate change a priority in his second term.
- 74 percent of Latinos think that climate change is already a problem or will become a problem in the near future.
- A clear majority of Latinos (65 percent) agree with the vast majority of scientists that Superstorm Sandy, drought and wildfire are the effects of climate change. More than two thirds of Latinos (67 percent) said the country should do more to address climate change, including 51 percent of independents, while just 14 percent said we’re doing enough already.
Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, said: “This survey certainly debunks any notion that Sen. Rubio is the voice of Latinos on climate change. What is perhaps most striking in the findings is that Latinos back President Obama’s climate change and clean energy agenda even more strongly than it is embraced by the broad cross-section of American adults. Right across the line, Latinos see climate change as a serious problem happening right now that requires an engaged President who takes the initiative to crackdown on industrial carbon pollution.”
The extreme weather events of 2012, from record heat waves to large-scale drought, from raging wild fires to Hurricane Sandy, raised public awareness of climate change and public support for taking action to address climate change and one of its chief causes: industrial carbon pollution from power plants.
Last year, the president started down the road to addressing climate change by announcing standards for cleaner cars and trucks, and by proposing carbon pollution limits for new power plants. More than 3.1 million Americans submitted public comments last year in support of strong limits on carbon pollution from new power plants. Polling by Small Business Majority found 87 percent of small business owners supported adopting stronger fuel standards, and by a 3:1 margin, small business owners across the nation support the EPA regulating carbon emissions that cause climate change.
Today, the hundreds of power plants across the country have no restrictions on the carbon pollution they emit into the atmosphere. NRDC has offered one way for President Obama to use his authority to significantly cut carbon pollution by 26 percent by the end of this decade.
The low-cost, high-benefit plan would create thousands of clean energy jobs making homes and buildings more energy efficient while protecting people from asthma attacks and heart ailments and saving families as much as $700 a year in electricity bills. More information about this plan can be found http://www.nrdc.org/air/pollution-standards/.
The overall NRDC poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%