POLL: PA Voters Voice Concern About Climate Change Impact

March 25, 2021


They support state assistance for communities impacted by loss of fossil-fuel energy production

Pennsylvanians are climate change ‘activators’; embrace helping one another as Commonwealth transitions to a clean energy economy

HARRISBURG – As Pennsylvania policymakers consider steps to aggressively fight climate change while investing in clean energy jobs of the future, a new survey of Pennsylvania voters finds Pennsylvanians want to see government leaders take decisive action on this issue. They overwhelmingly embrace helping their fellow Pennsylvanians in communities that will inevitably transition away from fossil-fuel energy production, such as coal.

The findings, released today by the Clean Jobs for Pennsylvania coalition and PennFuture, confirm that an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians (73%) are concerned about the future negative impacts of climate change on their children and grandchildren, and also want state government to support communities financially (70%) who may be impacted by the change to cleaner energy sources.

“Support for stronger state action is broad-based and includes majorities of voters in all political parties,” said James Lee, President, Susquehanna Polling and Research. “We are now seeing what I call ‘Climate Change Activators’ – true believers in climate change who are willing to take bold action to improve the environment. Many of these are also ‘swing’ voters who decide elections and want to see action on this issue. Majority concern for the effects of global warming is consistent with recent national polling showing 2 in 3 Americans are worried about the impact of climate change on future generations. This is a settled issue in the minds of voters. Now it’s up to policymakers to decide how to implement their wishes.”

As Pennsylvania moves to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Governor Tom Wolf has proposed investments of RGGI revenues into a new Energy Communities Trust Fund to provide direct support for workers in communities that are affected by participating in RGGI and to improve and diversify local economies. When asked if they would support the creation of such a fund, a large majority (59%) said they would.

“Pennsylvania is behind the curve in addressing air pollution and voters statewide are acknowledging their concern and the desire to see strong action,” said CJFP advisory board member and Carlisle Borough Councilman Joel Hicks. “It’s time for us to support our skilled workforce and advance it into clean electricity production. The benefits are clear: clean air; improved public health; high-paying jobs; and affordable electricity prices.”

“This poll reinforces something we've known for several years now: Pennsylvanians of all walks of life want immediate action to combat climate change, and they want our elected officials to treat this issue with utmost urgency," said PennFuture President and CEO Jacquelyn Bonomo. “In addition, this poll shows that Pennsylvanians are serious about transitioning to a clean energy economy, and they support government action to help our communities and our workers break free from an economic reliance on fossil fuel extraction and consumption. At a time when Pennsylvania is close to joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, it's clear that residents across the Commonwealth are demanding exactly this kind of action to lower our carbon footprint.”

The survey also found Pennsylvanians are willing to make personal sacrifices for cleaner air. These so-called ‘climate change activators’ are true believers in the cause and are willing to put their money where their mouths are. When asked if they would support a clean energy standard in Pennsylvania if it increased their electric bills by less than $5 a month, 65% of all Pennsylvanians surveyed said yes. Only 13% strongly opposed the concept. In other RGGI states, many electric bills have actually gone down. Lawmakers could choose to allocate a portion of RGGI proceeds in Pennsylvania to reduce even small increases among low-income families.

“Pennsylvania lawmakers would be wise to listen to these voices from all across the state and abandon efforts to continue blocking RGGI, and instead focus on moving Pennsylvania forward on this critical issue,” said Carole Kenney, CJFP advisory board member and Vice-Chair of the Board of Supervisors for Upper Merion Township. “Pennsylvanians want to prioritize clean air and understand the economic value and opportunity of a clean energy future.”



Clean Jobs for Pennsylvania PennFuture
Steve Aaron Jared Stonesifer
(717) 554-8614 (412) 443-4466
[email protected] [email protected]