* Poll comes before Senate vote on EPA climate regulation
* Poll contradicts recent Gallup survey
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON, June 8 A growing number of
Americans want the United States to regulate greenhouse gas
emissions as the largest oil spill in U.S. history helps boost
interest in petroleum alternatives, a poll by two universities
found on Tuesday.
About 77 percent of 1,204 Americans polled support
regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, up 6 percentage
points from January, according to the poll by researchers at
Yale and George Mason universities.
The oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11
rig workers and has plagued fishing and coastal tourism from
Texas to Florida was a factor, researchers said.
"The BP oil disaster is also reminding the public of the
dark side of dependence on fossil fuels, which may be
increasing support for clean energy policies," said Anthony
Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change
The poll contradicted other recent surveys that showed
public interest in climate change was falling.
It comes a few days before the Senate will vote on a move
to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating
greenhouse gases. The outcome of the vote could have a bearing
on how the Senate deals with long-delayed climate change
In March, a Gallup Poll showed a growing number of
Americans, nearly half the country, thought global warming
worries were exaggerated. In December, a global poll by the
Neilsen Institute showed a global average of 37 percent of
people were "very concerned" with climate change, down from 41
percent in 2007.
The Yale and George Mason poll showed support for expanding
offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast
fell to 62 percent, down 5 percentage points from January.
It also found 61 percent of Americans supported requiring
electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their
electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it cost the
average household an extra $100 per year, up 2 points from
The poll was conducted from May 14 to June 1 by Knowledge
Networks, using an online research panel of American adults.
The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)