Poll finds that voters across the political spectrum back the idea of retraining fossil fuel industry employees in clean energy jobs after the COVID-19 pandemic.
A poll conducted by VICE News found that a majority of voters want clean energy jobs and corrective climate change policies as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
The poll, released on Wednesday, focused on how American officials handled the coronavirus pandemic and how voters want the country to recover. It found that 54% of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic, and 78% want to see Congress take more aggressive actions to end the pandemic. According to the poll, the two most supported methods of economic recovery were job training for workers who left the fossil fuel industry, and a carbon tax for companies with high emissions.
Pollsters interviewed a total of 1,517 respondents from across the political spectrum online between Sept. 8 and 9.
According to the results, a massive 78% of voters–regardless of party—supported retraining fossil fuel workers and placing them in renewable energy jobs in order to revitalize the economy. Sixty-eight percent of respondents favored a carbon tax, which would charge companies per each ton of greenhouse gas emissions they release.
There was also support for a federal stimulus that would prioritize clean, renewable energy infrastructure. Another 71% of respondents said they want to see federal aid go towards cities and towns that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
The results arguably show a growing awareness and concern over climate change, despite Trump’s repeated claims that it does not exist.
“Despite opposition from some elected Republicans, climate and renewable energy policies continue to be popular across party lines,” said Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz in an interview with VICE. Leiserowitz is director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. “Americans support major investments to accelerate the transition to clean energy and participation in the worldwide effort to reduce carbon pollution.”
The same poll found that only 32% of voters felt that the federal government should prioritize fossil fuels over clean energy and 68% thought that a national effort to build clean energy infrastructure would encourage private companies to do the same.
The pandemic has had a fairly dramatic impact on fossil fuel use in the United States. When the coronavirus hit the country in March, hundreds of thousands of workers stopped commuting to work, sending the fossil fuel industry into a tailspin. The United States hasn’t seen demand for fossil fuels this low since the end of World War II, and experts say the pandemic could be the industry’s death knell.