Phasing out fossil fuels is still a controversial issue for Americans, a recent Pew Research Center poll found.
Overall, 31% of Americans surveyed said the U.S. should completely phase out fossil fuels, while 68% said the country should continue with a mix of fossil fuels and renewables.
Younger respondents seemed more willing to phase out fossil fuels, with 48% of those age 18 to 29 agreeing with this idea and 52% saying the U.S. should continue with a mix of energy sources that includes fossil fuels.
Partisan divide over climate change (from 2023 Pew Research Center poll)
The survey found a significant partisan divide as well, with just 12% of Republicans saying the U.S. should phase out fossil fuels, compared to 48% of Democrats. That’s a reflection of overall views on climate change. Less than one in four Republicans (23%) see climate change as a major threat, while more than three in four Democrats (78%) do, the poll found.
However, there was still an age divide, with 58% of Democrats ages 18-29 in favor of phasing out fossil fuels, compared to 42% of Democrats age 65 and older. Fewer than one in 10 Republicans age 50 and older agreed with phasing out fossil fuels, but about three in 10 (29%) of Republicans ages 18-29 did.
Regardless of the method used to address it, the poll found that Americans view climate change as a low priority. Just 34% of respondents said addressing climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress in 2023, while an additional 34% said climate change was important but a low priority.
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This poll was conducted between late May and early June, before the full effects of this summer’s extreme heat became apparent in the U.S. And not all survey results of the American public paint such a doomsday picture of climate awareness. A 2019 survey found that most Americans were planning action to alleviate climate change.