Fossil fuel communities support climate policy coupled with just transition assistance


Journal Article

What are fossil fuel communities’ preferences over the design of just transition assistance accompanying climate policy? This study conducted survey experiments at Appalachian county fairs to answer this question, overcoming barriers that have limited previous attempts to measure preferences in these crucial regions. Comparing the responses to a new national survey, there is a divergence in preferences for policies encouraging relocation, but there is convergence behind support for policies that reduce costs to fossil fuel workers. The study also finds that an intervention to provide information about coal’s decline shifted preferences toward supporting the clean energy transition. Rather than public opinion being an immutable barrier to climate action, 66% of fossil fuel community residents would endorse climate policy if it were coupled with just transition assistance. Policy design and informational interventions could help to create climate coalitions, even in the places most affected by the clean energy transition.

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