7 in 10 Voters Support Strong Carbon Pollution Limits on Power Plants
The Sierra Club announced results of a new national survey today conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, and the findings showed strong support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit carbon pollution from power plants. The national poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters across the country from Jan. 11 through Jan. 20 and also found strong support among voters for moving away from coal and other dirty fuels and a preference for investing in clean energy.
“Americans want to cut their ties to dirty fuels and instead power their country with 100 percent clean energy,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “These poll results should send a clear message to President Obama and the EPA that they must look beyond an ‘all of the above’ energy policy and completely replace dirty fuels with clean energy.”
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Key findings include:
- By nearly a 2-to-1 margin, voters think the country should be investing more in clean energy sources and energy efficiency rather than in fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas (61 percent clean energy vs. 33 percent traditional sources). A majority of voters (51 percent) “strongly" prefers investing in clean energy. Support is even higher among African-American voters (77 percent) and Latino voters (71 percent).
- A strong majority of voters (58 percent) favor the U.S. setting national goals to move away from coal and other fossil fuels and replace them with clean, renewable sources by the year 2030. This includes 57 percent who favor moving "entirely away from coal," and 59 percent who favor moving entirely away from “fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.”
- Two-in-three U.S. voters say the issue of climate disruption is a serious problem.
- The majority of voters (56 percent) believe that the government already limits the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can release, which the government currently does not.
- When presented with President Obama’s climate plan and the proposed EPA limits on carbon pollution from power plants, seven-in-ten Americans favor the EPA putting limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can release.
“Dirty power plants are a threat to our health and our climate, and Americans are ready for the EPA to protect them from power plant pollution,” said Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign Director Mary Anne Hitt. “President Obama and the EPA have the public support they need to ensure pending carbon pollution standards for power plants are strong enough to protect our families.”
“Voters overwhelmingly want to see the country move away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy, and they believe the government should be taking more action to combat climate disruption,” said Andrew Baumann, Vice President of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. “As a result, they show very strong support for new EPA limits on carbon pollution from power plants."
Read the full poll results here.
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE pages for more related news on this topic.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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