A recent publication from the Pew Research Center reveals that while a majority of American adults acknowledge the effects of climate change in their communities and believe the federal government does too little to reduce its consequences, an even greater majority (79%) say developing alternative energy sources should take precedence over other issues for the country’s energy sector. 

Data collected from 10,957 American adults from April 29-May 5 this year indicated that 24% of those polled see global climate change affecting their local community a great deal, while an additional 39% said that their local community is somewhat affected. A total of 65% of respondents stated that the federal government has done too little to reduce the impacts of climate change. 

According to the survey, 39% of respondents believe the private marketplace will ensure this change alone, without government intervention. Even fewer, 20%, said priority should be given to the expansion of oil, coal, and natural gas

A vast majority (90%) of respondents to the Pew report support the development of more solar panel farms, followed by 83% supporting more wind turbine farms. Next up, 43% support adding more nuclear power plants to the grid, and 42% support more offshore oil and gas drilling. A minority of respondents (40%) support more hydraulic fracturing, and the least amount of respondents (35%) said they would support the expansion of coal mining. 

Meanwhile, just as there is bipartisan support on planting 1 trillion trees to absorb carbon emissions — 88% of Republicans polled, and 92% of Democrats polled — there is bipartisan support on several energy policies aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. 

A slight majority (52%) of Republican/Republican-leaning respondents said they support tougher fuel standards for automobiles, and 86% of Democrat/Democrat-leaning respondents agreed. In a similar breakdown, 55% of Republican-leaning respondents supported taxing corporations for their carbon emissions, as did 89% of Democrat-leaning respondents.

As for supporting tougher restrictions on power plants’ carbon emissions, 64% of Republican-leaning respondents favored the initiative, as did 93% of Democrat-leaning respondents. 

Broken down on an ideological scale, moderate and liberal Republicans and Democrats responded relatively similarly on the nation’s energy priority. Eighty-one percent of moderate and liberal Republicans said developing alternative sources of energy takes precedence, and similarly, 88% of moderate and conservative Democrats agreed. 

Among liberal Democrats, 97% said the priority of the energy sector is to develop alternative resources. Just over half, 54% of conservative Republicans support the view that developing alternative resources takes priority in the energy industry. 

The Pew Research Center noted that majorities also believe the federal government does too little to protect air and water quality, as well as wildlife. More than half (58%) of respondents said government regulations will be imperative if businesses and individuals should turn consumption patterns toward renewable energy.