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Americans support limits on CO2

Americans support limits on CO2

Each year in the United States about 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions – the primary cause of global warming – comes from electric power plants, especially those powered by the burning of coal.

On Monday, June 2, the EPA will release new proposed limits on CO2 emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. These regulations are likely to face fierce resistance from the coal industry and their allies.

What do Americans think about these proposed limits?

A national opinion survey we conducted in April of this year finds that – by nearly a two to one margin – Americans support setting strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired plants, even if the cost of electricity to consumers and companies increases.

However, the country is divided on the issue by political party. A large majority of Democrats support setting such limits, while fewer than half of Republicans support it, and Independents are evenly divided.

Americans as a whole (68%) and across party lines, however, support the principle of regulating CO2 as a pollutant, with the most support from Democrats (80%), followed by Independents (60%), and Republicans (54%). Fewer than half in any party oppose such regulation.