Americans forecast bleak future for the environment under Trump

February 22, 2017, 7:09 PM GMT+0

New data shows that US adults are more likely to think Trump's policies will hurt the environment than help

For years, opinions surrounding climate change and the environment have remained largely partisan.

For example, when recently asked to choose the issue most important to them from a list of four — education, environment, gun control, and immigration — 28% of Democrats selected the environment as their top issue above education (26%), gun control (22%), and immigration (15%). To the contrary, Republicans ranked the environment as their least important issue on the list, with only 4%. At 62%, the majority of Republicans chose immigration as their most important issue.

Political parties aside, a new poll suggests that 44% of Americans believe the Trump administration will have a negative impact on the environment, compared to 32% who believe the results will be either mostly or somewhat positive.

In 2016, Scott Pruitt, Trump's pick for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, wrote in National Review that, "Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind." An overall majority of people disagree with this sentiment, as 55% think there is indeed a consensus in the scientific community that climate change is occurring and is mainly caused by human activity. For Democrats, this number comes in at 75%.

Shortly after last month's presidential inauguration, the Associated Press reported that the Trump administration had imposed a media blackout on the Environmental Protection Agency, banning the agency from issuing press releases, publishing blog updates, and posting content on its social media accounts. At 52%, a majority of Americans say it's appropriate for the EPA to communicate with the public through social media. Only a quarter of people say it's inappropriate for the EPA to do so.

Despite the Trump administration's plans to reverse several Obama-era environmental policies, 57% of US adults believe that the world’s most developed countries have a greater responsibility to control greenhouse gases and pollution than less developed nations. This is true for 72% of Demcrats and 51% Independents. Even 46% of Republicans agree, compared to 37% who don't.