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How Much for Reduced Emissions?

With concern about global warming on the rise, many Americans now say they are willing to change their ways to help the environment, but how much are they willing to pay in exchange for reduced emissions?

A Washington Post-ABC News-Stanford University poll conducted in April found that 50 percent of Americans were "very willing" to change some of the things they do in order to help improve the environment. What's more, 80 percent were at least "somewhat" willing to make changes even if it meant some personal inconvenience. Nearly a third said they had already made an effort to reduce energy consumption in their home.

Researchers from Stanford University, the think tank Resources for the Future and New Scientist magazine teamed up to delve further into the impact of cost on Americans' willingness to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Their survey, conducted online by Knowledge Networks, studied six policy options, three relating to vehicle fuel and three relating to electricity, at three price points each. Each of the policies would cut greenhouse gas emissions five percent by 2020.

According to the poll, Americans are more willing to accept an increase in their electricity bills in exchange for decreased emissions than they are to accept even higher prices at the pump.

Half said they would vote in favor of a policy that forces electricity producers to change their production methods to reduce emissions, but which raises the average monthly electricity bill by more than 80 percent. However, only 27 percent would favor a similar policy for fuel companies.

More information about the Washington Post-ABC News-Stanford University poll, including the full questionnaire, can be found here.

More information about the Stanford University-Resources for the Future-New Scientist poll can be found here.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  June 21, 2007; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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Per the survey, it would be nice if the facts were established with CO2 and global warming as currently it is only pure theory that has not passed any credible peer review. CO2 is not a pollutant, it is the very essence of what plants breathe. Enough politics about global warming as the answer is simple, and there is nothing we can do about it: It's called the sun.

Hoyt Connell

Posted by: Hoyt Connell | June 24, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Hoyt, you simply and sadly do not know what you are talking about. There are hundreds and hundreds of credible peer reviewed articles that describe in detail the changes that are occurring to our planet. These studies also establish a firm cause and effect relationship between the measured increase in CO2 emissions from human activity.

I find it depressing that people still treat science and scientific findings the same way they treat political pontificating and lies. Its fine and entirely appropriate to challenge any scientists finding on the facts, or in the way the analysis was done, or shortcomings in the methodology of their study. In fact many scientists get their work rejected because of such flaws, usually by the peer review process. However to reject the studies and findings because of political bias is simply stupid.

Posted by: reussere | June 25, 2007 3:22 AM | Report abuse

I disagree with both post. I agree with "reussere" about the scientific processes etc., however, the data collected on global warming is not as slam dunk as you might think. Most of the slam dunk aspects of the warming are model driven. When many of these models are attempted to be validated they do not hold up as well as predicted. While they might predict overall global temperature, temperature for certain regions (Southern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere) are not nearly so accurate. Which makes you wonder, are they right for all the wrong reasons? My work with measuring VOC (volatile organic compounds) and comparing two different techniques that measure the same compounds in air often show overall my numbers are the same, but when I compare sample to sample (true head to head) the accuracy of the two numbers fall apart (sometimes they are an order of magnitude off). I have to question what am I really measuring. However, my colleagues who want to publish our data are ecstatic with how close the numbers are and say don't worry about those head to head comparison. I have to wonder are my numbers close based on all the wrong reasons. When you investigate science it's a lot more art than science and the certainty of numbers start to crumble under too much scrutiny. In the lab I can measure with some certainty, but when I go out into the field the uncertainty in my numbers can go through the roof. Let me add, I work with several researchers who are pulling in a lot of research dollars to predict the effects of global warming, but when I talk with those making the measurements I am not as impressed with their science (i.e., how they are measuring their values in the model). While I think we may be affecting our environment, I have serious doubts with those who are predicting the future 50 to 100 years from now.

Posted by: slt | June 25, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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