Americans Favor Environmental Action at Local Level
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Holmes Report
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Americans Favor Environmental Action at Local Level

Nearly three quarters of Americans (74 percent) would support local regulations requiring all newly constructed homes to be more energy efficient, even when told that this policy would increase the initial cost of a new home by roughly $7,500, while saving approximately $17,500 in utility bills over 30 years.

Paul Holmes

Nearly three quarters of Americans (74 percent) would support local regulations requiring all newly constructed homes to be more energy efficient, even when told that this policy would increase the initial cost of a new home by roughly $7,500, while saving approximately $17,500 in utility bills over 30 years, according to the GfK Roper/Yale Survey on Environmental Issues, which measures public opinion about local government-led green initiative

Saving energy and money on utility bills is also one of the bonuses that motivated seven in 10 Americans (72 percent) to support local subsidies to encourage homeowners to install electricity-generating solar panels on existing homes, even when told that this initiative would cost households an extra $5 per month in increased property taxes.

A majority of Americans would also support the following local climate change policies:
• 71 percent would pay $5 more a month in property taxes to support a local subsidy to encourage homeowners to replace old furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, light bulbs and insulation;
• 69 percent would pay $8.50 more a month for local regulations requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from wind, solar  and other renewable energy sources;
• 68 percent would support changing their city or town’s zoning rules to decrease suburban sprawl and concentrate new development near the town center;
• 65 percent would support changing their city or town’s zoning rules to require neighborhoods have a mix of housing, offices, industry, schools and stores close together;
• 53 percent would back city or local fees added to electricity bills to encourage people to use less electricity.

Initiatives that received greater opposition than support from respondents include changing city zoning rules to promote apartment building construction rather than single-family homes (57 percent oppose) and a ten-cent city or local fee added to the price of each gallon of gas (64 percent oppose).

“Seven in ten Americans want their local governments to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University. “City and local leaders are critical players in the effort to reduce global warming and it’s clear that their constituents want action. The public is on board and willing to help foot the bill. All that’s left to do now is act.”

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