American lifestyle can be compromised

Published: Thursday 15 August 2002

Conducted by Zogby International . New York . June 14-19

Last year, the US rejected the Kyoto protocol on climate change and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. As former US President George Bush declared at the Rio Conference, "The lifestyle of the American people cannot be compromised."

What do the American people want? If a recent opinion poll conducted nationwide is an indication, they want renewable energy resources like wind and solar power to power the country's energy needs.

The American people want fuel-efficient cars that give better mileage and stricter energy efficiency norms for air conditioners. And they want it now. Americans have asserted that the time to act on global warming is now.

These were the results of a nationwide opinion poll that Zogby International, a New York-based public opinion research company, conducted between June 14, 2002 and June 19, 2002 (

The company, tracking public opinion on virtually all continents, conducted more than a thousand interviews with Americans.

Working with a panel of experts including psychologists, sociologists, linguists, mathematicians, economists and political scientists, the opinions polled were explored for every nuance of language to arrive at the results.

The verdict was unequivocal. More than 70 per cent of the American people chose renewable energy as against 19 per cent of the voters, who supported tax benefits to energy companies to help them build more coal and nuclear power plants and increase drilling for oil and natural gas.

The poll clearly indicated that nearly 80 per cent of the voters believe that global warming is a serious problem now or will be in the near future.

They did not support the Bush administration's 'adapt to the inevitable' attitude towards global warming.

Nearly 76 per cent of the voters as against 16 per cent, did not favour a voluntary approach where fossil fuel power plants and industries are simply asked to reduce pollutants to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases . Instead these American people wanted the government to take the initiative to set industry standards.

They want to act now to minimise the effects of global warming by using technology to build cars that give better mileage, energy efficient appliances and clean, renewable energy sources.

Do these demands of the American people amount to a compromise of lifestyle? You decide!

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