Non-transformative climate policy options decrease conservative support for renewable energy in the US

Thomas Marlow, Kinga Makovi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivated by ongoing partisan division in support of climate change policy, this paper investigates whether, among self-identifying liberals and conservatives, the mere presence of a non-transformative climate policy such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), lowers support for a renewable energy (RE) policy. To interrogate this question, we use a survey experiment asking 2374 respondents about their support for a RE policy when presented with the RE policy alone, and when presented alongside a CCS policy whose funding and implementation leverage independent funding sources. We find that among conservatives, the presence of a CCS policy lowers support for RE. Furthermore, despite the lack of apparent political party cues, when presented with the policy-pair, conservatives tend to view the RE policy in more partisan terms, specifically, less supported by Republicans. Additional experimental conditions with explicit party cues reinforce this interpretation. These findings suggest that the triggering of partisan perceptions even without explicit partisan cues—what we call political anchoring—might be a key impediment to bipartisan support of climate solutions in the U.S. context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024002
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


  • climate action delay
  • climate policy
  • partisanship
  • survey experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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