How do Americans love New Energy? Let me count the ways... (tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to the Bard of Avon)
Americans Want Clean Energy Laws
Rosalie Westenskow, June 22, 2007 (UPI)
Americans pollled by New Scientist magazine (Jeremy Webb, editor, Peter Aldhous, San Francisco bureau chief), Stanford University (Jon Krosnick, professor) and Resources for the Future, RAND Corp. (Robert Lempert, senior scientist), Rep. John Olver, D-Mass.
the states see the demand for mandates and are mandating renewables requirements in their energy portfolios (click to enlarge)
Americans accept global warming as a fact and are willing to incur costs to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but prefer government mandates to incentives.
The survey is just released. Legislation is pending in the House of Representatives but don’t expect any action until after the 2008 presidential election unless the poles melt completely. Even then they would have to settle rival House and Senate bills by conference.
Undetermined. The story is out of Washington but the pollsters are based in the San Francisco Bay. The subjects of the poll are described as “Americans.” That narrows it down.
- 85% of Americans believe global warming is real.
- The Poll--6 options for government action to lower GHGs, 3 pertaining to fuel/transportation and 3 to electricity:
1. a government standard requiring a percent of fuel or electricity from non-emitting sources
2. a tax for oil/power companies on GHG emitting fuel/electricity sold
3. a cap-and-trade system limiting emissions of individual oil/power companies
- Those polled were told the result would be a 5% decrease in GHGs by 2020.
- 1 group was told a high price for the result, one group was told a medium, very real, price for it and one group was told a very low price. 50% approved the highest electric bill increase, from $85 to $155. All other choices had higher levels of approval.
- The least popular actions were the cap-and-trade systems. Economists tend to favor a tax on carbon consumption or GHG emissions because it is simpler but environmentalists tend toward the cap-and-trade system because it guarantees a cap on total emissions. Public opinion rejects taxes and doesn’t necessarily understand cap-and-trade. The pollsters understand political leaders’ inclination to avoid taxes and recommend educating the public about cap-and-trade.
and people are voting with their wallets (click to enlarge)
- Webb: "Internationally, all eyes, I can tell you, are on the United States…Without the U.S., any solution to global warming will only ever be a partial solution."
- Aldous: "Up to a point, it seems that Americans will accept paying more for environmentally friendly energy…"
- Lembert: "[Economists] tend to see [the carbon tax] as simpler to implement because the government already has a mechanism for collecting taxes and a cap-and-trade system would be something new…People may be worried about the complexity of these other mechanisms…People clearly don't understand them very well."
- Krosnick: "(Some of) my colleagues say, 'Economics is too complicated for the average American ...whether or not the public supports this is irrelevant…But I don't share that belief. The immigration legislation was killed by public opinion just recently ... and that can happen again…It's far better to recognize the liability that comes with cap-and-trade legislation and to try and educate the American public before you get too far down the road…"
- Oliver: "A cap-and-trade system provides participants with the flexibility to find the most cost effective means for reducing emissions…The vast majority of Americans want Congress to take action to stop global warming and recognize that the cost of inaction is far greater than any costs of progress…"