According to a new poll released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and GREEN FOR ALL, two-thirds of African Americans believe global warming is a serious program and want more action to curb its effects. This group also supports the Clean Power Plan (CPP), finalized in August, as a tool to address the climate crisis while 83 percent of respondents back setting the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from coal-and gas-fired power plants under the CPP. In addition, a strong majority of African Americans believe that as the nation drives down dangerous carbon pollution it can drive up the use of clean energy including wind and solar energy.
The survey also found that the move to clean energy will create new jobs – six times the proportion that believes it will results in job losses- and 57 percent believe the expansion will reduce their energy costs.
Mark Davis, CEO of minority-owned WDC Solar, said this morning during a conference call releasing the poll results, “I am a Green For All Climate Champion, and renewable energy and energy efficiency are two pillars of our plan for low-income communities to lower the cost of energy, create green jobs for low-income residents, and improve the environment. The Clean Power Plan can accelerate an increase we’ve already seen in African American participation in clean energy and can enhance economic empowerment in low-income communities.”
Davis was joined on the call with Adrianna Quintero, director of Partner Engagement at NRDC; Vien Truong, national director, GREEN FOR ALL; and Rev. Stacey Edwards-Dunn of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. The speakers stressed that the African American community has been directly affected by the effects of climate change. Rates of childhood asthma have increased 50 percent between 2001-2009 and 68 percent live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant.
“The African American community has been hard hit by injustice, from violence against young people to disproportionate environmental harms from pollution, so it’s no surprise the community wants action. It’s time to hold polluters accountable and fight the pollution that causes climate change,” said Quintero.
Listen to the poll release press conference here: African American Climate, Clean Energy, Poll Presser
Here are some key energy findings of the report:
African Americans view global warming as a major problem:
- While crime, economic issues and education rank as the most serious issues, 60 percent of African Americans rank global warming among the most serious issues.
67 percent of African Americans say that action should be taken to reduce the threat of global warming.
- They want action on climate change more than adults generally. Only 3 percent of African Americans say concern about global warming is unwarranted, compared to 13 percent of all Americans.
African Americans strongly believe a shift to clean energy will be good for jobs and their energy bills:
- 66 percent of African Americans say using more renewable energy will translate into new jobs, while only 11 percent expect job losses.
- More than half, 57 percent, believe that shifting to cleaner energy will reduce their energy costs, and only 18 percent will increase those electricity bills.
African Americans overwhelmingly favor using more renewable energy than getting power from coal or nuclear:
- 87 support using more solar power and 83 support more wind energy.
- 42 percent favor getting more power from coal and 36 support more nuclear energy.
African Americans overwhelmingly embrace the Clean Power Plan and states developing state-based clean energy plans to implement it:
- 83 percent support the Clean Power Plan, with 63 percent in strong support. Just 9 percent oppose the plan.
- 82 percent back states developing clean energy plans that help cut carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency and boosting renewable energy.