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Data: Brunswick Group; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Voters support natural gas production but also believe the industry must operate more cleanly, a new Brunswick Group poll shows.

Driving the news: The survey shows more support for gas than other fossil fuels, but it's much less popular than renewables.

  • 46% say gas can play a key role fighting global warming only if the industry does a lot more to curb emissions.
  • 31% see gas playing a "vital role" fighting climate change while 23% view gas as "part of the climate problem" and oppose new infrastructure.

Why it matters: Gas releases far less CO2 when burned than coal, which it has for years been shoving aside in power markets.

  • But methane emissions from production and transport erode some of that edge.
  • Activists want a much faster transition to zero-carbon sources to enable steep emissions cuts.

The intrigue: The election season has high stakes for the fuel.

  • President Trump has scrapped regulations on methane emissions.
  • Biden's plan calls for emissions rules and some new drilling limits, but does not support a fracking ban.

The big picture: The polling on gas is part of a wider-ranging new Brunswick Group survey on energy and climate.

  • 53% support giving state and local governments more power to thwart oil and gas pipeline projects, but 59% say blocking pipelines will not help fight climate change.
  • 13% of voters call climate one of the two most important topics in deciding their presidential vote, which is far below the pandemic, the economy and health care.
  • Subsidizing clean energy and regulating fossil fuel production and use is more popular than taxing carbon emissions.

Methodology: The August 5–11 survey of 1,000 registered voters has a margin of error of ±3.1%.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 19, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Biden rolls out climate picks with emphasis on jobs, environmental justice

President-elect Biden. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden introduced his energy and environment team on Saturday at an event that emphasized job-creation in low-carbon industries and racial justice, but provided no new policy specifics.

Why it matters: Biden has promised to make climate among his top priorities and his team is planning an approach that draws in agencies government-wide.

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.