America Isn’t That Divided on the Environment

CBEAR Co-Director Paul Ferraro discusses a post-election reality: while politics may be dividing the U.S., many Americans agree on core environmental challenges, regardless of political affiliation.

He supports this with evidence from three randomized field experiments. These studies examined the environmental actions of tens of thousands of people. They show that environmental actions are not correlated with an individual’s stated political beliefs. Conversely, other methods of identifying beliefs in the US (like Gallup polls) show environmental beliefs are strongly tied with political affiliation. However, Ferraro argues that evidence from surveys and focus groups may not be as robust as the large experiments. This is in part due to the difference in sample size: the field experiments studied tens of thousands of people.

As a result, Ferraro argues that the evidence from these experiments also provides evidence that the current political divide should not mean it is impossible to take action to protect the environment.

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