19 September 2016

Survey finds majority of Americans are willing to pay for climate action

The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a new survey on the willingness of Americans to pay for government policies aiming at tackling climate change.

The survey found that 65 per cent of Americans – including 84 per cent of Democrats and 43 per cent of Republicans – believe that climate change should be addressed by the government, which is consistent with previously conducted surveys.

The new finding of the survey is the willingness of Americans to pay themselves to help keep global temperatures from rising, with policies such as a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade plan or other regulations.

57 per cent of the sample declared that they would pay at least $1 more on their electric bill every month for climate action – 29 per cent of which would pay $20 a month, and 20 per cent said they would pay $50.

On the other hand, 42 per cent of respondents said they did not want to pay anything for these kind of policies and one per cent did not answer the question.

According to the survey, party affiliation – Democrats being more willing to pay than Republicans – is a more important factor than education, income or geographic location regarding the amount people are ready to pay.

Michael Greenstone, the director of EPIC said: “I think what this says is that quietly there is developing a change in peoples’ attitudes with respect to paying for climate policy... I found it striking that one in five households were willing to pay $50 a month.”

The poll also found that one quarter of Americans believe that the US will achieve its targets under the Paris Agreement, while eight in ten say that the country should still try to reach the goals.

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