A national survey by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities has revealed that even in the midst of a growing economic crisis last fall, over 90 percent of Americans want the United States to act to reduce global warming.
The results included 34 percent who said the US should make a large-scale effort, even if it has large economic costs.
Two-thirds of Americans said that the United States should reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases regardless of what other countries do, while only seven percent said the nation should act only if other industrialized and developing countries reduce their emissions as well.
"When you make a mess, you're supposed to clean up after yourself," said Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University.
"We think many Americans view climate change in a similar way. The United States should act to reduce it's own emissions regardless of what other countries do," he added.
Americans strongly supported a wide variety of climate-change and energy policies, including funding for research on renewable energy (92 percent), tax rebates for people buying fuel-efficient vehicles or solar panels (85 percent) and regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant (80 percent).
Large majorities also supported policies that had a directly stated economic cost.
Almost four out of five Americans supported a 45-mpg fuel-efficiency standard for cars, trucks and SUVs, even if that meant a new vehicle would cost up to 1,000 dollars more to buy.
Over 70 percent supported a requirement that electric utilities produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it would cost the average household an extra 100 dollars a year.
Only 53 percent of Americans, however, supported the creation of a national cap-and-trade system, one of the climate change policies being considered by President Obama and the U.S. Congress.
Large majorities said that everyone-companies, political leaders and individual citizens-should do more to reduce global warming.
Willingness to take personal action through consumer choices was strong and growing: a third said they had rewarded companies taking action to reduce global warming by buying their products, while a quarter said they had punished companies opposing steps to reduce global warming by boycotting their products.