Potential public support for Biden's climate bet
Americans are more split on the question of prioritizing the environment over economic growth than they have been in years, which could be a good sign for public support of President Biden's climate and economic agenda.
Driving the news: Historically, more people favor prioritizing the economy over the environment when unemployment is high, and the opposite when unemployment is low.
- But when asked by Gallup last month, half of the respondents agreed that the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth.
- 42% said the opposite in the annual poll — that economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers some.
- The 8 percentage point difference is the smallest it’s been since 2015.
Axios' Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman’s thought bubble: There’s little evidence that environmental protections are a brake on growth — and actual evidence shows that environmental protection and jobs growth can go hand in hand. It's not a choice between the two.
Why it matters: Ben writes that the findings suggest Biden has political running room to pursue his aggressive environmental and climate agenda because it’s happening alongside recent economic and job growth.
- The White House is also extremely aware of the political peril around economic attacks on the plans, which is why they’re trying very hard to paint the infrastructure plan — stuffed with low-carbon energy and transit provisions — as a jobs plan, he adds.
What’s happening: President Biden’s infrastructure proposal (and larger macro level bet) is a blend of two of his top four priorities: climate change and the economy.
- The White House is holding a virtual climate summit starting on Thursday as part of a larger plan to regain international credibility on climate action.
- On Monday, President Biden held a second meeting with Congress to review his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which some GOP have called a jobs killer — citing the Keystone XL oil pipeline cancellation is a sign of things to come.
Businesses stand ready: Hundreds of companies are signaling support for a clean-energy economy and are starting to prepare for regulatory changes as they look for ways to benefit from backing the larger infrastructure proposal.