November 19, 2009
Most Americans say that global warming is a problem or a threat. Only small minorities say it is not a problem. Concern about climate change, while increasing for some years, may be leveling out. Large majorities believe that human activity plays a role in climate change. Download full chapter (PDF).
A large majority of Americans support taking action to address the problem of climate change. More often than not majorities favor taking major steps, urgently. A modest majority thinks that the U.S. government should do more than it is currently doing to address climate change. Americans tend to underestimate how ready other Americans are to support taking action, however. There is strong support for participation in an international treaty to limit climate change. Most Americans believe that it will be necessary for people to change their lifestyle in order to reduce their production of climate-changing gasses. Readiness to take action is highly related to levels of information regarding climate change and the perception that there is scientific consensus on the reality of climate change. Download full chapter (PDF).
To motivate changes in energy usage, most Americans believe that it will be necessary to increase the cost of energy that causes climate change. The idea of raising taxes on such forms of energy meets with mixed responses. But if the revenues of such a tax are earmarked to address the problem of climate change or are offset with tax reductions, support becomes much higher. Also, a large majority of Americans say that in order to address climate change they would be willing to pay more for renewable energy. Download full chapter (PDF).
To reduce reliance on oil and coal, a large majority of Americans favor creating tax incentives to encourage alternative energy sources, requiring automakers to increase fuel efficiency, and building new nuclear power plants. Download full chapter (PDF).
A majority of Americans—along with most people in developing and developed countries alike—think that developing countries have a responsibility to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions in an effort to deal with climate change. There is also a consensus that developed countries should provide aid as part of a deal to help developing countries commit to limiting their emissions. If developing countries refuse to limit their emissions, most Americans think the United States should nonetheless proceed to limit its own emissions. Download full chapter (PDF).
Americans say that multilateral cooperation on climate change is very important, but give the United States a mediocre rating in advancing this objective. A large majority believes there should be a new international institution to monitor compliance with climate treaty obligations. Download full chapter (PDF).
A majority of Americans disapprove of how the United States has handled the problem of climate change. Most Americans regarded China as the worst offender in harming the global environment, while most other nations blame the United States. Americans retain a large amount of trust in their own country to protect the environment, while Germany has the best ratings globally. Download full chapter (PDF).
Special operations play a critical role in how the United States confronts irregular threats, but to have long-term strategic impact, the author argues, numerous shortfalls must be addressed.
The author analyzes the potentially serious consequences, both at home and abroad, of a lightly overseen drone program and makes recommendations for improving its governance.
Published by the Council on Foreign Relations since 1922
A groundbreaking analysis of what the changes in American energy mean for the economy, national security, and the environment. More
A roadmap for the United States' greatest overlooked foreign policy challenge of our time--relations with its southern neighbor. More
Two experts argue that despite myriad development strategies, only one can succeed in alleviating poverty in India: the overall growth of the country's economy. More
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