Jul 13, 2021 - Energy & Environment

New polling by Bill Gates group shows popularity of clean tech spending

Percent who think it is important for the federal government to invest in each technology
Data: Global strategy Group on behalf of Breakthrough Energy; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

New polling data released today by Bill Gates' Breakthrough Energy finds spending public money on clean tech in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions is extremely popular nationwide.

Why it matters: Congress is writing legislation that would direct the largest amount ever spent in the U.S. on clean tech research, development and deployment. The polling supports the position of Senators seeking to pass this legislation.

What they did: Pollsters from the Global Strategy Group asked respondents if they think it is important to spend money to develop steel and cement manufacturing processes that are carbon-free, to produce clean jet fuels, and develop direct air capture technology to take carbon out of the air and safely store it deep underground.

What they found: When asked if they support investing $75 billion in clean energy technology, battleground state swing voters indicated their support by more than a two-to-one margin.

  • Interestingly, out of the specific technologies, direct air capture had the least support, though still a majority, with 71% of national voters saying it's important for the government to invest in it.
  • Clean tech spending holds a wide 40-point margin of support among voters who voted for different presidential candidates in 2016 and 2020.
  • Voters see clean tech investments as a way to create new blue-collar jobs, matching the rhetoric coming from the Biden administration.
  • The results also align with the priorities of Breakthrough Energy, which is pursuing investments in technologies that are high risk but also high reward.

Yes, but: The poll sample is relatively small, with 801 voters sampled for the national results and 3,112 voters in six key 2022 battleground Senate states.

  • The margin of error is 3.5% for the nationwide sample and 1.8% for the combined Senate battleground.
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