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New Poll: U.S. Supports Cap & Trade, Would Pay Extra to Reduce CO2

Dev Crews | Wednesday December 9th, 2009 | 5 Comments

mcclatchy-logoA new poll released today (PDF) demonstrates that over 60 percent of Americans recognize that the earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels. The poll, conducted by The McClatchy Company, the third-largest newspaper company in the United States, and Ipsos Public Affairs, found that a slight majority of the U.S. population also supports cap-and-trade legislation.

A substantial majority of American adults would be willing to pay a surprising additional $25 per month on their electrical bill to support limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can put out – as long as the programs created a significant number of green jobs in the United States.

The budget Obama submitted to Congress earlier this year included revenue from a national cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions, which would come from auctioning off emissions permits to industries. The climate program is expected to generate $645 billion between 2012 and 2019. Initial funds would be invested in clean energy. According to the Center for American Progress, a think-tank that has done considerable research on the economic effects of such legislation, this would create 16.7 jobs for every $1 million invested. A $100 billion green investment program would create 2 million new jobs nationwide over two years, most of which would be non-exportable, clean, well-paying jobs.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said climate change legislation would cost the average household $175 a year by 2020, far below what Americans are apparently ready to pay.

This news can only strengthen the renewed leadership position on climate change President Obama is expected to take when he attends the United Nations Climate Change conference, COP15, next week.

The poll comes on the heels of an announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows greenhouse gases are increasing at unprecedented rates, threatening human health and adversely affecting our environment. The EPA ruling allows the agency to regulate emissions from power plants, factories, cars and trucks and other sources, even if Congress fails to enact legislation. The United States is the highest per capita contributor of fossil fuel emissions in the world, and the second largest overall emitter after China.

“It is a step towards innovation, investment and implementation of technologies that reduce harmful emissions. And it’s a step towards green jobs, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and a better future,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Next month, large polluting facilities will begin working with EPA to monitor their emissions, and will be required beginning next year to integrate the best available methods for GHG control and reduction into construction or expansion plans. 
Starting in 2011, large emitters will be required to report on performance.

Jackson added: “Having economy-wide legislation sends an unequivocal signal to the private sector that we really mean it, that we’re moving towards green energy.”

“It means that we arrive at the climate talks in Copenhagen with a clear demonstration of our commitment to facing this global challenge. We hope that today’s announcement serves as another incentive for far-reaching accords in our meetings this week,” said Jackson. “In taking action now and recognizing this threat, we join the hundreds of other countries, thousands of leading scientists, tens of thousands of innovators, entrepreneurs and private companies, millions of Americans and billions of global citizens who have seen the overwhelming evidence and called for action on climate change.”


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  • Bradley

    Read to the end of the poll. Only 11% identified themselves as independents. 49% identified themselves as Dems.

    More careful, objective, comprehensive polls show 38% of all US adults identifying as independent and 34% identifying as Dems. The McClatchy poll is oversampling Dems by 15 percentage points!

    http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/party-id.php

    This McClatchy poll is not a random sampling of US adults. It's a random sample of people they called in the middle of the day who had nothing better to do than answer a bunch of questions from some stranger. Massive oversampling of the unemployed, idle trust funders, kept spouses – in other words, a massive oversampling of self identified Democrats.

    Funny thing – these same people are less likely to wake up early enough to go to the polls. The Dems know the clock is ticking – even some of the idle trust funders will realize they were had with BHO. That's why the Dems need to pass as much of this stuff as possible before they're tossed out in the mid-term elections in T-minus 11 months. It's much easier for them to destroy things now than it will be for the grown-ups to fix it down the road.

  • ray

    the question in the poll was-“What if a cap and trade program significantly lowered greenhouse gases but raised your monthly electrical bill by 10 dollars a month? In that case would you support or oppose it?”
    and all they got was %50 now we do not know if cap and trade will reduce greenhouse gasses. Its just another form of government control.

  • ray

    the question in the poll was-“What if a cap and trade program significantly lowered greenhouse gases but raised your monthly electrical bill by 10 dollars a month? In that case would you support or oppose it?”
    and all they got was %50 now we do not know if cap and trade will reduce greenhouse gasses. Its just another form of government control.

  • silentfor56years

    Since only the people that took it upon themselves to understand what the Cap and Trade Bill is really about, it is no wonder that the slanted poll question got the desired results.
    Question should have been:
    What if a cap and trade program significantly lowered greenhouse gases but raised the price of everything you buy by 10 dollars.? In that case would you support or oppose it?”
    Corporations won't be paying these taxes. Corporations collect taxes for the Government. When these taxes take effect they will simply be added into the cost of what ever product is being manufactured, shipped, or sold.
    Are Americans really this stupid or are they being manipulated for a massive distribution of wealth.

    • nickaster

      Sillent – a cap and trade system will not necessarily raise the price of everything. The way it works is that companies who reduce their CO2 emissions GET PAID, not the other way around. In other words, their products could actually become cheaper, not more expensive. Some things might get more expensive, but that's justified because the cost of carbon (or whatever other pollutant we're talking about) is being considered in the price, as it should be.