Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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While partisanship remains strong among the rural electorate, more than one-third (37%) of rural voters appear "swingable" in future elections, depending on resonant policy proposals and messaging. Three messaging points — lowering prices; bringing good-paying jobs to local communities; and a populist message focused on corporate greed — received such broad support that they rivaled voters’ agreement on core values like family and freedom. Read additional analysis in the Daily Yonder's coverage.
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on conservation, climate, and energy issues in Western states + new national polling on the Inflation Reduction Act + state-level polling in Minnesota about the state’s new clean energy bill and other environmental priorities.
Majorities of Minnesota voters want the state to transition to 100% carbon-free energy and to require zero emissions in new buildings. 57% of Minnesota voters support Minnesota moving to generate 100 percent of its energy from carbon-free energy sources by 2040, including 90% of Democrats but just 24% of Republicans.
The North Star State has a new North Star: 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. Minnesota joined 10 other states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in creating laws that require a transition to 100 percent carbon-free electricity—highlighting a trend of state-level action to act on climate, create local jobs, lower energy costs, and reduce deadly pollution. MN Representative Jamie Long, Majority Leader of the Minnesota House, and advocacy group Fresh Energy executive director Michael Noble played key roles in making 100 percent clean electricity the law of the land in the state. This resource includes an interview with them about the process leading to this new Minnesota policy. A big coalition of interest groups supportive of this policy was necessary for its passage. The bill passed full Democratic support and zero Republican support. The coalition included small business, families, family-supporting jobs and labor and trade unions, environmental justice groups, environmental groups, and traditional advocates for renewable energy.
Just five policies across the economy can dramatically cut state greenhouse gas emissions. These include clean electricity standards; zero-emission vehicle standards; clean building equipment standards; industrial efficiency and emissions standards; and standards for methane detection, capture, and destruction. This report evaluates emissions trajectories and policy impacts for six states: Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. These states have widely varying emissions profiles. For example, Louisiana’s emissions are dominated by the industrial sector, while in Michigan, the building sector is a significant contributor. In New Mexico, home to significant oil and gas extraction, methane is a major source of GHG emissions.
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.
Minnesotans across the political spectrum strongly support transition to 100% clean energy sources, like wind and solar.
- 61% believe the transition to clean energy will benefit Minnesota’s economy, and 68%, (including 51% of Republican) believe it will have a positive impact on Minnesota’s environment.
- 66% of Minnesotans also support legislation to achieve a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Support strong across the state, with 68% of voters outside the seven-county metro area supporting elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 66% within the metro.
- 67% of respondents also said they’re very worried or somewhat worried about water pollution.
Community-based climate communications can increase awareness, facilitate interpersonal connections, and lead to climate actions. This resource studied how the Twin Ports Climate Conversations (TPCC) project in the upper Midwest has influenced local climate awareness and response. TPCC brought professional environmentalists and concerned citizens together in 2016 for a monthly climate change presentation and discussion event. TPCC highlighted a variety of climate change–oriented topics with a critical emphasis on how climate change is affecting or will affect the Western Lake Superior region and the implications of these impacts. A survey of participants in TPCC conversations found that 72% of them made professional contacts from participation and 45% had taken some kind of climate action as a result of participating in TPCC. Some prominent examples of actions included "presented on climate and extreme storms to Duluth Chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers," "incorporated the information into my classroom curricula," and "planting different trees."
In this webinar, the Lab team is joined by the Regulatory Assistance Project to explore recommendations from the new report Energy Infrastructure: Sources of Inequities and Policy Solutions for Improving Community Health and Wellbeing.
In addition to the report, participants also learn from advocates across the country fighting for an equitable clean energy future. Contributing speakers shared their reflections and lessons learned from a variety of perspectives on what it takes to achieve energy equity, including how they're financing low-income solar, how they're growing solar through state-level policy, and how to work in strong coalition.
Contributing speakers include: Donna Brutkoski, Communications Associate, Regulatory Assistance Project; Yesenia Rivera, Director of Energy Equity and Inclusion, Solar United Neighbors; and Jacqueline Hutchinson, Vice President of Operations, People’s Community Action Corporation.
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").
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