A majority of Americans believe they are “morally obligated” to fight climate change, a new poll byReuters/IPSOS has found.
Of the 2,827 people surveyed in the poll, 66 percent said world leaders are ethically bound to reduce carbon emissions, while 72 percent believed that responsibility lay with themselves as well. In addition, 64 percent believe that rising greenhouse gases, which drive climate change, are caused by human activity.
The poll was conducted to parse the impact of moral language in the climate debate and the results suggest that an ethics-based appeal to address environmental issues may be the key to shifting the debate on the topic.
“When climate change is viewed through a moral lens it has broader appeal,” Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network, a grassroots organization that mobilizes faith-based communities on politics and policy issues, told Reuters.
“The climate debate can be very intellectual at times, all about economic systems and science we don’t understand,” he continued. “This makes it about us, our neighbors and about doing the right thing.”