New polls are showing increasing support for carbon taxes as concern about climate change grows. We’re pleased with these results, but we’re frustrated that as yet no polls have included questions that would indicate whether support for revenue-neutral carbon taxes exceeds that for carbon taxes for which the revenue uses are either unspecified or earmarked. While we strongly suspect the answer would be Yes, it would be helpful to have our suspicions confirmed by actual polling data.
The most recent poll, a Field Poll published on Nov. 9, reports that a majority of Californians are in favor of a carbon tax. Some 72% support a carbon tax on business, although this declines to 53% if the tax were to result in Californians’ paying higher prices for goods and services. Support for the tax grows to 65% if the tax revenues are spent solely on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Approximately 65% of those polled also favor the idea of a cap-and-trade system. However, those stating a preference for cap-and-trade were not asked the follow-up question about higher prices that was asked of carbon tax supporters, even though increases in prices due to cap-and-trade would be similar to those from a carbon tax.
Similar results were obtained in a recent BBC poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries. In 14 of the countries, "a majority (61% on average overall) say it will be necessary to increase energy costs to encourage conservation and reduce carbon emissions." The poll found that 74% of Americans support paying a higher tax on coal and oil if the revenues are used to promote efficiency or to develop new fuels; but, unsurprisingly, Americans are divided if the revenues are not used for those purposes, with only 46% supporting such a tax. The poll did not ask about support for a revenue-neutral tax that would encourage conservation, reduce carbon emissions AND return the money to all Americans. Most Would Pay Higher Energy Bills to Address Climate Change Says Global Poll, World Public Opinion.Org, Nov. 5.
Image: Mario Zucca Illustration / Flickr.
David Collins says
In the November 17th – 23rd 2007 issue of THE ECONOMIST (Cover picture & article: "America’s vulnerable economy"), page 35, are two pie charts (actually, donut charts) and a bar chart. The donut charts show 53% of Democrats seeing Global Warming as the most serious environmental problem facing the world today; with only 9% of Republicans share that viewpoint. Discomfiting. It’s hard to transform a paradigm and material culture with such a meager consensus. But the bar chart is scarier. It shows some 90%+ of Republicans opposed to "petrol" taxes to reduce CO2 emissions; Democrats are more favorably inclined, with only 65% or so opposed. Yes, it would be far better to have a survey which asks about a revenue-neutral carbon tax, one in which all Americans get some money back (or other revenue-neutral arrangement). In the meanwhile, what appears most urgent is missionary work, preaching not just revenue-neutral carbon taxes but also the horrors of the approaching high-carbon doom of Global Warming.
Any representive who votes for such a tax will not get my vote. I will do my best to destroy any representive who supports it. I consider such support treason with all that implies.
If such a tax is imposed I will not pay it.
If such a tax is imposed I will consider the country to be taken over by forigen interests and will do all I can to destroy it including any means I can think of.
NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!!!!
NO UN GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF THE USA!!!!
Daniel Rosenblum says
1. Take another look at the revenue-neutral carbon tax we’re proposing. It’s a tax shift, not a tax increase.
2. You won’t pay the carbon tax? Maybe you better read a bit more about it. It will be imposed upstream and passed through to ultimate customers. The only way to avoid a carbon tax will be to avoid buying gasoline for your car or any product that required energy to manufacture or to transport to your local retail store or to you directly.
3. Foreign interests? Huh? Actually a revenue-neutral carbon tax will make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil.
4. No taxation without representation? Interesting rhetoric, but there won’t be a revenue-neutral carbon unless your representatives vote for it.
5. UN Government control of the USA? OK, but your statement has nothing to do with the revenue-neutral carbon tax we propose.
Damian Shaheen says
Carbon tax makes no sence! Global warming is from the expanding of our sun. The polar caps on mars is melting faster than our polar caps due to its climate and chemical make up. It it because of our cabon dioxide gases also? Interesting how so many people promote junk science to make a profit.
How about an ongoing commision or group of wise men without any major energy interest appointed by the next president to determine if an assessment on energy is necessary, and if so, the size of it, and then return it equally to all tax filers. l note than all presidential cadidates, except maybe Fred Thompson believe in global warming. Actually it it not just about global warming, it is also about our balance of payments (cheap dollar) and the fact fossil energy is finite