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Americans Support CO2 Limits on Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Report Summary

Despite the debate in Congress over proposed EPA regulations, a solid majority of Americans (67%) support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health. Respondents were told that power plants would have to reduce their emissions and/or invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and that the cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase.

Image for Two in Three Americans Support Setting Strict Carbon Dioxide Emission Limits
Image for Two in Three Americans Support Setting Strict Carbon Dioxide Emission Limits

The survey also found that Americans support a broad range of policies that would help reduce or protect against global warming. For example, solid majorities “strongly” or “somewhat” support the following:

  • Increasing funding for improvements to local roads, bridges and buildings to make them more resistant to extreme weather (83%)
  • Funding more research into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power (77%)
  • Providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (77%)
  • Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (75%)
  • Requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year (62%)

The study also found that 66% of Americans think global warming is happening (up three percentage points since November 2013), whereas only 16% say it is not happening (down 7 points since November 2013). Public understanding of the human causes, levels of worry, and risk perceptions, however, have held steady in recent years.