April 22, 2010
Wesley Burt

As cap-and-trade legislation looms Oklahomans weigh in on climate change

Results of a recent SoonerPoll show 53.6 percent of Oklahomans do not believe that human activity significantly affects climate change.

Debate over global warming and what role humans play in it has resurfaced again and again in the political sphere. The debate is again making national headlines as the U.S. Senate prepares to unveil its new climate change bill sponsored by , in time for Earth Day on April 26.

The�bill is sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and is expected to include some form of a cap-and-trade system.� Cap-and-trade is an administrative approach that sets a limit or cap on the amount of a pollutant that can be emitted by a company by issuing allowances or credits. Companies are then given the ability to sell or�trade those allowances. Critics believe it will result in increased energy costs� which will be passed along to and paid for by consumers.

"For the most part, Oklahomans have not accepted the argument that human activity is primarily affecting global climate change,"� said Keith Gaddie, Vice-President of SoonerPoll. "This result is typical of voters in oil and gas production states like Oklahoma.", Oklahoma�s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1,000 likely voters from Feb. 25 � March 8. The study has a margin of error of � 3.1 percent.

Oklahoma Senator and global warming skeptic Jim Inhofe is also the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee. In his committee position Inhofe has seen, and helped put down, several climate change bills and he believes the new legislation will meet a similar fate.

�I know we can beat it,� Inhofe said on the Fox Business Network. �I can assure you, I don't think they have more than 25 votes on the Democrats' side, and if you throw Lindsey Graham [R] in there, that would be 26 votes.�

�Jim Inhofe has always been a skeptic of the human effect argument, and his position on the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee has allowed him to give voice to this constituency perspective.� Gaddie observed. �The polling data indicates that Inhofe's position is consistent with the sentiment of the majority Oklahoma voters, and especially consistent with his conservative base."

Results also� indicate that, in Oklahoma, �71.7 percent of self-identified conservatives do not believe human activity affects climate change, while 66.6 percent of self-identified liberals do believe human activity affects climate change.

Wesley Burt
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Wesley Burt