Apr 19, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Many voters unfamiliar with Biden climate law, despite economic benefits: polling

Illustration of a hand wiping away a wall of red and blue.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A pair of things crossed my screen that together show the growing economic effect of low-carbon tech — and the tricky domestic politics of energy transition.

Why it matters: The economic weight of low-carbon energy is coming into focus, but the political picture remains hazy.

Driving the news: A fresh International Energy Agency analysis finds that last year, a subset of "clean" energy added about $320 billion to the world economy.

  • IEA looked at investment in manufacturing in wind, solar and battery supply chains; deploying various forms of "clean" power; and sales of EVs and heat pumps.

The big picture: These sectors accounted for 6% of U.S. GDP growth in 2023, comparable to the "booming, artificial-intelligence-driven digital economy," IEA finds.

Yes, but: New polling suggests that the vigorous White House sales pitch for one of its major policies — the 2022 climate law — may be struggling for traction.

  • A plurality report not knowing enough to say whether the IRA is good or bad for the economy, workers, or the climate, per the AP and the University of Chicago survey.
  • The law's tax breaks for EVs, green appliances and more have more support than opposition, but, again, uncertainty overwhelms both.
  • And 56% say the federal government does too little on climate.

Catch up quick: A recent WSJ piece explored the hurdles to getting voters psyched about Biden's climate investments — and efforts to change the equation.

  • Meanwhile, Donald Trump and other Republicans hope to make Biden's energy policies an electoral liability.
  • They're more focused on Biden's sticks than carrots, calling policies like vehicle emissions rules and the LNG permit pause economically harmful.

The latest: The White House on Friday unveiled details on nearly $2 billion in IRA-funded tax credit awards for "clean" manufacturing projects nationwide.

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