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The topics of climate change and renewable energy often are linked in policy discussions and scientific analysis, but public opinion on these topics exhibits both overlap and divergence. Although renewable energy has potentially broader acceptance than anthropogenic climate change, it can also sometimes face differently-based opposition. Analyses of U.S. and regional surveys, including time series of repeated surveys in New Hampshire (2010–2018) and northeast Oregon (2011–2018), explore the social bases of public views on both issues. Political divisions are prominent, although somewhat greater regarding climate change. Such divisions widen with education, an interaction effect documented in other studies as well. We also see robust age and temporal effects. Younger adults more often prioritize renewable energy development, and agree with scientists on the reality of anthropogenic climate change (ACC). Across all age groups and both regional series, support for renewable energy and recognition of ACC have been gradually rising. These trends, together with age-cohort replacement and possible changes in age-group voting participation, suggest that public pressure for action on these issues could grow.
Hamilton, L.C., J. Hartter and E. Bell. 2019. "Generational aspects of U.S. public opinion on renewable energy and climate change." Paper presented to workshop on Sharing the Burden? Public Values, Attitudes, and Preferences about Climate Policy, at the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm, Sweden, February 21-22.
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