The Skywriter

The clean energy majority


The clean energy majority

By 1Sky blogger Nick Santos. See Nick's bio at the end of this post. -- Luis

A recent poll from Pew Research Center (subscription required) reminds me of why I'm proud to be a young person in this political climate. The poll shows a clear trend toward support for the environment and clean energy amongst younger people. The poll surveyed 1,010 adults and has a 4 point margin of error (but larger for subpopulations). The sample was then split into subgroups of ages 18-29,30-49,50-64, and 65+.

First, some highlights from the poll:

Every age breakdown of the population (including the 65+ group) favored requiring utilities to generate more of their power from renewable sources. 70% of 65+ year olds favored it, while a stunning 93% of 18-29 year olds favored it - that's about as close to consensus as you get in politics.

When presenting protecting the environment as a (somewhat false) tradeoff with keeping prices low, a clear majority of the population expressed that protecting the environment was more important. 18-29 year olds favored it at 65%/29%, 30-49 year olds 60%/32%, and 50-64 year olds 53%/41%. Only 65+ year olds on average favored keeping prices low 47%/40%.

In every group except the 65+ year olds, at least 2/3 of the sample favored limits on carbon dioxide emissions, with 18-29 year olds favoring carbon limits at 74%.

The first thing that sticks out to me from this poll is that there is clear majority support for strong energy and climate legislation -- senators, take note! Depending upon how their poll broke down by age, it appears that there is likely supermajority support for major provisions of these bills (and in some cases support that blows supermajorities out of the water!).

As a young person, I'm pretty excited by these results. It's pretty well known that the young tend to be more progressive, but this poll also shows that even the 65+ year olds aren't lost on energy issues - in fact, they're pretty close to a split, with every younger age group in support of or in strong support of clean energy and climate change legislation.

Anyway, I know that next time I call my senators or representative I'm going to start by saying that I'm one of the 93% of young voters who supports clean energy. Talk about a clean energy future!

Nick Santos is a former 1Sky policy fellow and now works with The Environmental Consumer in California. The author's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the 1Sky campaign.-- Luis

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