More than 8 in 10 young Americans (85%) think that President Donald Trump and his administration could be doing more to support clean energy. Just shy of three-quarters (74%) agree that the Trump administration are creating policies negatively impact the environment, according to the results of a new survey from Inspire, which purchases renewable energy certificates from wind farms on behalf of utility customers who want their energy to be “green.”
Far-reaching changes spanning all aspects of society need to transpire rapidly and with persistent determination, if there is any chance of limiting the global increase in mean annual temperature to 1.5ºC (2.7ºF), the global climate-change tipping point determined by leading climate scientists for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Limiting global climate warming to 1.5ºC as opposed to 2ºC (3.6ºF) would benefit people and the natural ecosystems upon which human society and civilization rely, ensuring both a more sustainable and more equitable society, the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC.
“The climate crisis is an urgent, global problem. “It’s promising to see that our younger generation not only cares about environmental issues, but is taking action. With 59 percent of young Americans considering themselves as ‘climate activists,’ it is clear there is a growing movement that wants to learn about and support clean energy,” Inspire CEO Patrick Maloney stated.
Young Americans, politics, clean energy and the environment
With mid-term elections just around the corner, Inspire also found that the environment ranks highly among the political issues young American's are concerned about. Nearly eight in 10 survey respondents (77%) said environmental issues are more important to them now than they were two years ago.
Ninety-six percent of U.S. colleges offer courses on environmental issues, according to Inspire's 2018 Clean Energy Awareness & Action Index. Nearly seven in 10 young Americans (68%) have taken one or more of these types of courses, Inspire found. Moreover, more than one-quarter of respondents said they wished they had learned about environmental policy or law, as well as sustainable solutions, such as renewable energy or electric vehicles, while they were in college.
Young Americans are keen to learn more about environmental issues and sustainable solutions, as well as act on them. Just shy of eight in 10 respondents said they had taken environmental action in the previous year, such as making a lifestyle change (46%) or volunteering (35%). Furthermore, nearly six in 10 survey respondents said they intended to pursue a job focused on environmental issues at some point in the future. More than half (52%) said they strongly agreed that we need to make greater use of technology to come up with solutions.
“It’s never been more important to support our next generation of leaders and prepare them for successful careers in the industry,” Maloney said. “I’m confident that our future is bright, and together we can accelerate the transition to 100% clean energy.”
Wakefield Research conducted the survey for Inspire via email invitation and an online survey from Sept. 12-18, 2018, canvassing 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18-25 currently enrolled in college or who graduated in the past two years.