New PA Poll: 72% Of Pennsylvania Voters Say It's Important Their Electricity Comes From Energy Not Creating Carbon Emissions
In the first statewide poll of its kind since the COVID-19 crisis began, likely Pennsylvania voters – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – overwhelmingly-- 89 percent-- report that environmental policies that promote clean air are important to them.
In fact, a strong majority-- 60 percent-- say that it is very important.
When asked to think about electricity used to power their homes, 72 percent of Pennsylvanians say it important to them that their electricity comes from energy that doesn’t create carbon emissions. Only 25 percent said it wasn’t important.
Fifty-six percent believe, compared to five years ago, it is more important to use clean sources of electricity that don’t produce carbon emissions. Only 11 percent said it was less important.
When Pennsylvanians were reminded of a recent Harvard study that connected high levels of air pollution to higher rates of death from the coronavirus, nearly seven in ten-- 69 percent-- said they support new policies that do more to protect air quality.
This is among the findings of a new PA Statewide Voter Attitude Survey conducted by Susquehanna Polling & Research on behalf of Clean Air Council. The survey of 701 registered and likely Pennsylvania voters was conducted from April 13 – 21, 2020.
A poll done in May of last year found 79 percent of Pennsylvanians supported a carbon pollution reduction program covering power plants.
“These results prove Pennsylvanians care deeply about clean air and overwhelmingly support policies that promote clean sources of energy,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel, Clean Air Council. “This poll shows clean air cannot be framed as a partisan issue. Strong majorities of all voters, including independents, support policies that promote clean air and carbon-free energy sources.”
Among the key survey findings, 63 percent agree elected officials should support policies that encourage the use of clean energy sources like solar, wind and nuclear, instead of fossil fuels like oil and gas. Only 24 percent would not support such policies.
“Pennsylvanians want elected officials to step up and do more to ensure the air we breathe is cleaner and healthier,” said James Lee, President, Susquehanna Polling & Research.
“Right now, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – at the direction of Gov. Wolf – is pursuing a market-based policy that will incentivize pollution reduction while delivering tangible benefits to the people of Pennsylvania,” added Minott. “Participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is consistent with the goals and priorities of Pennsylvanians. Some are already arguing for an indefinite pause in clean air policies, but we respectfully encourage the Wolf administration and DEP to stay on track and move forward with Pennsylvania’s efforts to set up a carbon limits program.”
RGGI is a multi-state, market-based effort that has successfully reduced carbon pollution from electric power plants by almost half since 2009, and starts to level the playing field for carbon-free electricity producers.
RGGI puts a price on carbon and uses market-based tools to incentivize electric generators to reduce emissions.
States participating in RGGI over the last decade have seen their power plant carbon emissions decline by 47 percent.
A recent report from the Acadia Center showed that, since RGGI launched, electricity prices in RGGI states have fallen by 5.7 percent, while prices in the rest of the country have increased by 8.6 percent.
A recent analysis by DEP estimated that Pennsylvania participation in RGGI would lead to 180 million tons of carbon emission reductions in the Commonwealth alone by 2030.
For more information on RGGI, visit DEP’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpage.
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[Posted: May 6, 2020]
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