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Poll Projection: Marylanders Want Climate Change This Legislative Cycle

Baltimore (WJZ) -- A new poll shows that the majority of registered voters want the Maryland General Assembly to take action on climate change during the 2022 legislative session.

Maryland pollster Patrick Gonzales conducted a survey on climate change that shows 508 out of 807 registered voters would like to see greenhouse emissions trimmed 60% or more by 2030.

The remaining poll participants were divided into two camps: 241 of them said they did not want the Maryland General Assembly to focus on climate change policies and the remaining 58 participants decided not to answer the question.

"The poll shows clear majorities support cutting greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2030 and voters support a mandate that newly constructed buildings be powered by electric-only energy systems for heating, hot water, and cooking," according to a press statement. "Democratic voters overwhelmingly support these measures."

The poll was conducted in advance of a legislative package on climate change that will be introduced by Maryland State Senator Paul Pinsky (D) and state delegates Kumar Barve (D-17) and Dana Stein (D-11) during the 90-day legislative session. It was commissioned by the CCAN Action Fund, the political affiliate of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

During the session, state lawmakers will mull over major issues such as battling COVID-19, legalizing recreational marijuana, and how to manage a $4.5 billion surplus stemming from federal pandemic aid and better-than-expected state revenues.

Climate advocates have been vocal about their desire to see climate change policies passed this year. They gathered in Annapolis on Jan. 12 to draw attention to their cause with banners and signs.

Their protest marked the opening day of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly, and demonstrators had 100 empty white chairs across Lawyers Mall greeting legislators.

Maryland joined the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Climate Challenge last year and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from state government operations by at least 50% over the span of a decade.

Maryland was already part of the department's Better Building Challenge and, as a participant, reduced energy consumption in state government buildings by 20% between 2008 and 2015.

"Climate change is clearly on voters' minds this year," Mike Tidwell, the director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund, said. "Voters want laws that match the urgency of the climate science. And that means lowering power bills while simultaneously cutting pollution by mandating electric-only new homes and buildings in Maryland."

But the poll shows that voters were nearly split in half over whether they would support political candidates who prioritized clean energy policies would. Poll data shows that 426 out of 807 participants—52.8% of the registered voters polled—said they were more likely to support a candidate who combated climate disruptions.

The remaining 381 poll participants were split into two camps.

The majority of them—231 people—said that climate change policies would have no impact on their votes. The remaining 150 participants said they were less likely to vote for politicians who prioritized climate change policies.

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