Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently expressed her belief that, without massive government action, global warming will destroy the planet in 12 years. Many conservatives mocked her assertion and believed this claim would harm her credibility.
However, 55% of voters agree that “Humanity has just over a decade to get carbon emissions under control before catastrophic climate change impacts become unavoidable.” Among voters under 35, there is 70% agreement.
This doesn’t mean that voters are committed to Ocasio-Cortez’s crusade. Just 25% strongly agree with her assessment, only 30% are even somewhat comfortable letting the federal government transform the economy, and only 36% support hiking taxes on fossil fuels. Additionally, 68% of voters are unwilling to pay more than $100 to address climate change (40% won’t pay anything).
Additionally, 58% believe it is likely that new technologies will be developed to generate the energy we need without harming the environment. And they’re not counting on the government to lead the way. Fifty-five percent (55%) believe that innovation from private companies is more likely than federal government programs to develop such technologies. Only 16% expect the federal government efforts would be more successful.
Still, while the specific policies dreamed of by the young Congresswoman and her followers lack public support, Ocasio-Cortez is tapping into an underlying cultural belief that should not be ignored. People on the political right who can’t comprehend how anyone would agree with Ocasio-Cortez are the mirror image of people on the political left who can’t imagine why anybody would support President Trump’s effort to reduce illegal immigration.