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Majority Of Americans Support Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Even If It Costs Them

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A U.S. flag flies in front of a natural gas-fired power plant in Minooka, Illinois.
A U.S. flag flies in front of a natural gas-fired power plant in Minooka, Illinois.

Most Americans support limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and would still support reductions even if it cost them $20 a month, according to a new national poll.

A Washington Post-ABC poll released Monday found that 70 percent of Americans support federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Seventy percent also said that the federal government should "require states to limit the amount of greenhouse gases produced within their borders."

When the polling subjects were told that the hypothetical rules would lower greenhouse gas emissions but raise their monthly energy expenses by $20, 63 percent still said they would support the rules.

Even in states where coal provides most of the electricity, 69 percent of respondents favored greenhouse gas limits, The Washington Post noted.

The results were announced the same day as the Obama administration released much-anticipated regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The new rule calls for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 2030.

In a lengthy speech on Monday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy laid out the case for the regulations, saying there's "a moral obligation" to act on climate change. "The science is clear. The risks are clear," McCarthy said. "And the high costs of climate inaction keep piling up."

Sixty-nine percent of Americans surveyed in the Post-ABC poll said that climate change is either a "serious" or "very serious" problem. This includes 84 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Republicans.

The Washington Post-ABC poll was conducted between May 29 and June 1, 2014, and included a random national sample of 1,002 adults responding via landlines and cell phones. It had a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percent.

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