Young Americans Desperately Want Green New Deal – Hmm, Wonder Why?

The release of the Green New Deal has Americans talking, and the latest polling shows a lot of support for the plan Ė among the youngest generations, that is. Millennials support the Green New Deal by a margin of 30 points, whereas seniors arenít interested in the plan.

In fact, the survey finds a steady drop off in support as Americans get older. Gen X supports the Green New Deal by a small margin, Baby Boomers oppose it by a small margin, and those over 72 oppose it by a wide margin.

The explanation for these age-based discrepancies probably seems obvious, but it needs to be discussed anyway: In general, older people care a lot less about climate action because they donít see themselves being around to have to deal with the worst consequences of global warming.

On the other hand, millennials listen to scientists and see the writing on the wall and are literally begging for their lives. They want a path forward that doesnít leave them screwed Ė and that doesnít seem like the kind of request that older generations should be shrugging off.

Another disappointing discovery is the overall approval of the Green New Deal is already down. While the support/oppose divide still comes out in the dealís favor at 43 percent to 38 percent, thatís down drastically from a couple months ago when a strong majority of Americans, including most conservative Republicans backed a massive jobs plan that would focus on boosting the renewable energy sector.

What happened? Partisanship, mainly. At that point, Republicans hadnít had the opportunity to sufficiently trash it and attach it to Democrats in order to pull back their base. Mind you, a good idea should remain a good idea no matter who proposes it, but hey, this is America.

Another factor, particularly for older citizens, is the recognition of the cost of the plan. There are plenty who donít necessarily oppose climate action so long as it doesnít cost anything Ė as if saving the world and restructuring our energy infrastructure would ever be cheap. At least the Green New Deal is designed with the approach of simultaneously stimulating the economy so that the expenses should be even easier to justify.

After hearing GOP talking points, more voters are inclined to say ďsounds too expensive,Ē despite the research that shows itís going to cost us more in the long run if we ignore climate change than if we were to try to address it now. Again, though, from a generational perspective, itís harder (infuriatingly so) to get older generations to want to pay now to save later since theyíre not seeing themselves as part of this future world.

Millennials, however, donít seem to care about the financial cost of climate action. They recognize that the economy as we know it wonít survive into the upcoming decades when global warming really starts wreaking havoc. The polls indicate that theyíre okay with allocating sizable portions of government budgets to this problem because thereís really no other sustainable choice.

Most of our Congressional leadership is at least 70 years of age, and that undoubtedly influences their outlook on the world. Even those who are well intentioned just canít feel the urgency like younger people do because itís not their own necks on the line and theyíll never be around to be held accountable if they fail at climate action.

Millennials are going to have to demand more control of the government Ė electorally or otherwise Ė for the sake of themselves and for the sake of the planet.

75 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson20 days ago

Thank you.

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Paula A
Paula A27 days ago

thank you for posting

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bediniabout a month ago

Dan B
As you say, we shall see......

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Babout a month ago

Annabel B.,
No, it does not cost the state anything. However, it will cost the general population. Efforts should be done to minimize the impact, especially on those that can least afford it. It think it is rather optimistic to think that they will pay themselves back in the long term, but we shall see.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bediniabout a month ago

Dan B
Forcing all fossil fuel burning entities to convert to renewables by law is obviously not realistic in the immediate short term but something to be worked towards, with the entities themselves paying for the conversion, investments that will pay themselves back in the long term because of the near-zero cost of the raw materials. In the meantime, legislating that all new constructions be built according to fuel-saving technology and with built in photovoltaic panels is not unreasonable as a first step. That doesn't cost the state anything.

Leanne K
You have a very jaundiced view of the young! Look at the movement happening all over Europe thanks to a fifteen year old Swedish girl who certainly doesn't fit your description of the young and their motivation.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Babout a month ago

Annabel B.,
I have no problem with the innovation. I have an issue when governments try to mandate it. The solution(s) will not magically appear, just because someone wants them. Spending money we do not have, is also not the best solution.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bediniabout a month ago

Dan B
I would have said that in any case the move to renewables is good for the planet. So why wait? Continue to pollute the world just because you don't have absolute, one hundred percent proof that we are dangerously close to harming the planet irreparably? Or indeed have already reached point when, as you say yourself, it is too late? Every good reason to accelerate innovation, I would say,

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Tabot T
Tabot Tabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Babout a month ago

Annabel B.,
Yes, the glacial melt is faster than at any other time in the past millennium. However, that is largely due to the cold nature of the past centuries - little ice age and all. By comparison, the recent retreat is similar to that scientists have determined occurred when the medieval warm period kicked in during the 9th century. Yes, this is the fist documented traversing of the Northwest passage since Robert McClure in 1854. These events have all occurred in the past.

The problem is that if it is serious or inconsequential, we will not know any time soon. How much money are we willing to spend on that uncertainty. Would not the money be better spent on known problems? I am not saying do nothing. Rather, I question the need for tremendous expenditures on a possible scenario. Our current progress in alternative energy is progressing forward, and may be sufficient. Why rush innovation?

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Leanne K
Leanne Kabout a month ago

Dan is deluded

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