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Chart: Most voters support EPA limiting CO2 pollution from power plants

A hefty majority of likely voters dissent from the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on climate action.
By Maria Virginia Olano

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Canary Media’s chart of the week translates crucial data about the clean energy transition into a visual format. Canary thanks Natural Power for its support of this feature.

A substantial majority of Americans believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be able to regulate the climate-warming air pollution that spews from power plants, according to a poll of likely voters conducted in mid-June. The Supreme Court, unfortunately, is less supportive of the EPA’s regulatory power: On Thursday, its conservative supermajority limited the ways the agency can curb carbon emissions from the electricity sector.

But it’s not just liberals who support EPA’s efforts to fight climate change. According to the poll conducted by Data for Progress and Evergreen Action, 41% of Republicans back EPA’s ability to regulate CO2 from power plants, as do 65% of independents and third-party voters. And among Democrats, the support is overwhelming: 82%.

The poll also found that 68% of voters are at least somewhat concerned about the impacts of climate change in their communities, including 44% of Republicans.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wrote the liberal minority’s dissent in the West Virginia v. EPA case that was decided on Thursday, and she did not mince words: Whatever else this Court may know about, it does not have a clue about how to address climate change. And let’s say the obvious: The stakes here are high.”

The court’s ruling comes amid ongoing struggles to pass federal climate legislation. The Build Back Better bill that President Biden and congressional Democrats were pushing last year had a substantial climate component, but, despite also being favored by a majority of voters, it stalled out because of opposition from West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. Now the prospects of passing even a slimmed-down version are dimming.

Thanks to the court’s latest move, it will now be even more difficult to meet the Biden administration’s climate goals, which include a 50% cut in economywide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a fully decarbonized electricity sector by 2035.

Natural Power is a global consultancy that supports its clients to deliver a wide range of renewable energy projects. Its independent engineering experience covers all phases of the project lifecycle, from feasibility through construction to operations, and all stages of the transaction. Learn more.

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Maria Virginia Olano is editorial producer at Canary Media.