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This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on voters’ reactions to arguments from the two parties on climate change; the impact of climate change and the environment on battleground voters’ decisions in the upcoming midterms; an experiment in communicating about human-caused climate change using a “heat-trapping blanket” metaphor; Americans’ personal experiences with climate change; and the widening generational gap in Republicans’ environmental attitudes.
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling about West Virginia vs. EPA and the EPA’s authority, a survey of climate attitudes among Facebook users across 192 countries and territories, and new state-level polling in Pennsylvania about climate change and the state’s fracking industry.
A record-high percentage of Pennsylvanians (75%) say there is “solid evidence” of global warming; Pennsylvanians are divided on fracking and the long-term impacts of gas drilling in the state. 77% of Pennsylvanians view global warming as a “serious problem” (including 53% who rate it as “very serious”) further demonstrates a clear statewide consensus around the reality and risks of climate change. The poll also finds that Pennsylvanians are feeling cross-pressured on the issue of fracked gas, as large majorities believe both that gas drilling is important to the state’s economy (86%) and that it poses a major risk to the state’s water resources (67%). Pennsylvanians are divided on fracking in general, as 48% support and 44% oppose the extraction of gas from shale deposits in the state. State residents have similarly mixed attitudes as to whether gas drilling will provide more benefits (44%) or more problems (40%) for Pennsylvania in the future. When asked an open-ended question about the primary risks of fracking in Pennsylvania, meanwhile, residents are most likely to name water contamination (26%) and general environmental damage (14%).
Help people envision more just and sustainable systems. This article looks at efforts in southwest Pennsylvania to oppose plans for gas and plastics expansion in the region. Activists share their strategies, including raising public awareness about the dangers of fracking and plastic, tracking emissions themselves, and advocating for investments in more sustainable industries.
Survey data from 19 competitive House districts across the US revealed strong support (59%), across party lines, for the American Jobs Plan. Notably, the provisions that would address the climate crisis garnered even stronger support than the overall infrastructure plan did.
Among the specific provisions designed to address the climate crisis:
- 82% of voters support investments to rebuild roads and bridges and modernize public transportation to ensure it is cleaner and able to serve more people.
- 81% of voters support overhauling our country’s drinking water infrastructure.
- 70% of voters support addressing the challenge of climate change by shifting to greater use of clean energy, reducing carbon pollution from vehicles and industry, and making homes and buildings more energy efficient.
- 69% of voters support investments in clean energy such as wind and solar power by extending tax credits to spur innovation and manufacturing.
- 61% of voters support investments in electric vehicles and charging stations to reduce pollution and help more Americans buy clean cars.
Key findings of a survey (phone and online) of US voters, with oversamples in key states include:
- Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support government investments in clean energy technologies in order to rebuild the economy (77%), create good jobs (76%), and eliminate the carbon emissions that cause climate change (75%).
- There's a widespread belief (75%) that investing in clean energy technologies will have economic benefits – including for "regular people."
- And also that by developing new clean technologies, we can replace many of the manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs that the country has lost over the last few decades (72%)
- Strong support for various approaches to boost and develop specific clean energy technologies such as clean steel and cement, clean jet fuels, and energy storage and transmission.
- Voters support investing $75 billion in clean energy tech RD&D as part of the upcoming infrastructure bill.
A statewide poll of Pennsylvania voters found that...
- 72% support the state participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initative (RGGI) and 56% said they were more likely to vote for state elected officials who support joining RGGI
- 56% said the initiative would boost the state’s economy, while 21% said it would hurt. Forty percent believed it would have a positive impact on their electricity bill
- 70% said they would be more likely to support RGGI if proceeds were invested in training workers for clean energy jobs, expanding energy efficiency programs for homes and businesses to lower consumer bills and boosting economic development in farming communities that produce renewable energy
- 78% percent want the state to provide job training, guaranteed wages or other assistance to coal and natural gas workers who lose their jobs as a result of the market transition to renewable energy sources
- 76% of respondents considered climate change to be a serious problem, with nearly half of voters saying it is “very serious”
- More than 70% also supported the state updating and strengthening regulations to restrict the release of methane from natural gas wells, pipelines and storage facilities
Different parts of the country see various kinds of extreme weather as most concerning, perceptions which are largely in line with actual major disasters that have occurred in those regions. This report provides concern profiles for the 18 largest states, drawing on survey data from 2018 and 2019. Over half of Americans see such extreme weather events posting a high or moderate risk to their community in the coming decade, and two thirds see a climate link to US weather (though only a third think climate affects our weather "a lot").
Americans overwhelmingly support updating and strengthening the methane standards and regulations. Even after being shown balanced pro and con messaging, people support touger methane regulations by a nearly 5:1 margin. Curtailing leaks and releases of methane has broad support across all major demographics, including 2-to-1 support among Republicans.
Pennsylvania statewide poll shows majorities of residents across parties support policies that protect clean air (81%) and support clean energy policies (63%).