New Poll Finds 7 In 10 PA Voters Favor Participating In Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative To Reduce Power Plant Carbon Pollution
A new poll released September 17 finds 72 percent of Pennsylvania voters support the state's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state, market-based initiative to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from power plants.
The poll is from Climate Nexus, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication
56 percent of Pennsylvanians say they are more likely to vote for a state representative who supports Pennsylvania participating in RGGI, while only 20 percent report being less likely to vote for a representative supporting RGGI.
The Environmental Quality Board recently approved a plan for the state to participate in RGGI for public comment. [Read more here.]
“A strong majority of voters in Pennsylvania support the proposal for their state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as a way to reduce the carbon pollution produced by power companies,” said Dr. Edward Maibach, Director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “They recognize that this program can bring many benefits to the state.”
Most Pennsylvanians believe joining RGGI would have positive impacts for the state, including on air quality (75 percent), the health of people in Pennsylvania (69 percent), and climate change (68 percent).
A majority (56 percent) believe RGGI will boost the state’s economy, while only 21 percent think it will hurt the economy. A plurality (40 percent) say it will have a positive impact on their electricity bill.
Uses For Funds
Under RGGI, power companies purchase permits from the state based on the pollution they produce. The money generated from the sale of permits will be re-invested in Pennsylvania.
The poll examined voters’ views on options for using these funds. Most voters say they would be more likely to support RGGI if the proceeds were invested in:
-- Training workers for clean energy jobs (71 percent)
-- Expanding energy efficiency and weatherization programs for homes and businesses to reduce energy consumption and lower consumer bills (71 percent)
-- Boosting economic development in farming communities that produce renewable energy (69 percent)
-- Providing incentives to boost production of renewable energy like wind and solar (67 percent)
-- Reducing utility bills of low-income Pennsylvanians through energy-saving programs (65 percent) and
-- Expanding renewable energy access to Black, Latinx and other communities of color (52 percent)
A large majority of Pennsylvanians – 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. The proceeds from RGGI could be directed to that purpose.
Climate Change Real
In other findings, the poll found that 76 percent of voters consider climate change to be a serious problem, with nearly half (45 percent) of voters seeing it as “very serious.”
“Pennsylvania voters are worried about climate change,” said Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program of Climate Change Communication. “And they want their state government to act, including accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.”
Renewable Energy Standards
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of Pennsylvania voters support requiring electric utility companies in Pennsylvania to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar by the year 2030, with 42 percent strongly supporting such a requirement.
A comparable proportion, 76 percent, have a favorable view of community solar, which provides homeowners, renters, and businesses access to electricity produced by shared solar panels, allowing them to save money on their electric bills.
Voters support, by a 72 percent to 13 percent spread, the state updating and strengthening regulations to restrict the release of methane from natural gas wells, pipelines and storage facilities.
Roughly three-quarters (76 percent) say if the federal government does not regulate methane emissions, the Pennsylvania state government should enact stronger methane regulations. The Trump Administration recently announced plans to weaken federal methane emission regulations.
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[Posted: Sept. 17, 2020]
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