Americans want climate rules but not taxes

Feb. 7, 2013 at 5:50 PM
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DURHAM, N.C., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Americans increasingly support regulating greenhouse gas emissions and requiring utilities to switch to lower-carbon fuel sources, a national poll indicates.

The survey conducted by Duke University indicates the percentage of Americans asked who say they think climate change is occurring reached its highest level since 2006, with 64 percent of respondents saying they strongly or somewhat favoring regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories and cars and requiring utilities to generate more power from "clean" low-carbon sources.

However, while they support regulating greenhouse gas emissions, poll respondents don't favor market-based approaches such as cap-and-trade or a carbon tax, a Duke release reported Thursday.

"The survey shows strikingly high numbers of Americans accept that the climate is changing but support for market-based approaches such as a carbon tax and a system of tradable emissions are not popular among survey respondents," Sarah Adair of Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions said.

Only 29 percent of those asked say they support a carbon tax, the Duke researchers said.

"Whether in response to extreme weather events like mega-storm Sandy or the improved economy, public opinion has clearly rebounded from its low point of a couple years ago," Duke political science Professor Frederick Mayer said.

"Although there appears to be little prospect for tax or cap-and-trade legislation in the current Congress, there is a clear opening for stronger regulation and investments in clean energy."

The Internet survey was conducted from Jan. 16-22 by Duke in partnership with KnowledgePanel and involved email to 1,089 randomly selected households throughout the United States. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

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