Carbon Tax

Published on April 28th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


75% of Americans Support Regulating CO2; 60% Support Carbon Tax

April 28th, 2012 by  


Something I often think and try to often convey is that there is a huge disconnect between what Republican voters actually want and what Republican politicians push and allow. The vast majority of Americans support clean energy, support reducing pollution, and support fighting global warming, including a very large percentage of Republican voters. Somehow, though, Republican politicians have turned these things into enemy #1 (perhaps due to the fact that they get a ton of their campaign money and all kinds of other nice perks from oil and coal companies).

In yet another national poll, we see that Republican voters, in fact, don’t hate clean energy and aren’t opposed to strong action to fight global warming — in fact, they’re for these things. They’re for energy subsidies for clean energy, they’re for regulations and even taxes on dirty energy, and they even realize that environmental regulations help the economy.

The new national poll from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that a whopping 75% of Americans support “regulating carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas) as a pollutant.” And 79% support tax incentives for buying energy-efficient cars and solar panels. 73% support a national clean energy standard of at least 20%. Why don’t we have these things?!

Here are some more details via Climate Progress (some of which are represented in the charts throughout this article):

  • 63 percent of Americans support “signing an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050“!
  • By a margin of 3 to 1 — 61 percent to 20 percent — Americans say they would be more likely to vote for a political candidate who supports a “revenue neutral” tax shift, increasing taxes on fossil fuels, and reducing the federal income tax by an equal amount.
  • 61 percent said they support holding the fossil fuel industry responsible for “hidden costs we pay for citizens who get sick from polluted air and water, military costs to maintain access to foreign oil, and the environmental costs of spills and accidents.”
  • By 3 to 1 — 58 percent to 17 percent — Americans say “protecting the environment … improves economic growth and provides new jobs” vs those who say it “reduces economic growth and costs jobs.”
  • Asked “When there is a conflict between environmental protection and economic growth, which do you think is more important?” an amazing 62 percent supported “protecting the environment, even if it reduces economic growth” vs. 38 percent who backed “Economic growth, even if it leads to environmental problems.”

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Germany already has environmental taxation of this type and is doing quite well with it. See:

  • Pingback: Climate Bill Idea? Polled GOP Voters OK Carbon Tax Swap()

  • If the revenue neutral carbon tax is so popular (I think it could be a good idea), then why hasn’t anyone raised it on the halls of Congress? It could be the perfect move of bipartisanship: cut down the carbon liberals hate, and get rid of the tax system conservatives hate.

  • Just ask them if they support all of these things IF it triples or doubles their electric bill because the utilities WILL pass along these extra costs to the consumer. See how support plummets then.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Perhaps you can explain to us how the price of electricity might double or triple as we replace fossil fuels with cheap wind power, getting-cheap solar power and affordable hydro and geothermal power.

      In your explanation please include the additional tax payer/insurance premium costs we now pay because we burn coal. Remember, coal is very heavily subsidized as it does not have to pay for the health damages it causes.

      • Because that is the ONLY way you will get people to use less electricity is to double/triple the cost of using it. Since it is IMPOSSIBLE to have wind or solar supply this entire nation with it’s energy needs UNLESS you force us to use less than we want to, you are only living in a fantasy land. I own 8 tvs, 3 cars and 4 computers. That is MY RIGHT. I worked for those and I WILL use them for my higher standard of living. Keep out of my life.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You changed your argument.

          You started with claiming that switching to renewables would double/triple the price of electricity. Then you switched to claiming some sort of social engineering to lower use argument.

          I take it that you aren’t able to support your original claim.

          You are 100% incorrect in your claim that “it is IMPOSSIBLE to have wind or solar supply this entire nation with it’s energy needs UNLESS you force us to use less than we want to”.

          We can switch to renewables, use all the electricity we want, and likely pay less per kWh for our power. (You do know what burning coal for electricity really costs, don’t you?)

  • Jlindseyco

    There is no damn way I believe that many people favor another tax. Who did you survey Gore’s family?

  • Pingback: Solar & Wind Energy Subsidies Should Continue “Forever” - CleanTechnica()

  • You people are out of your minds. Why would 60% of Americans want to pay money to people who produce nothing and are leeches draining the p[prosperity of others?

    • Captivation

      Craig you’ve got everything backwards. Wind and sunlight are free and abundant. Turning them into energy is basically turning ‘nothing’ into ‘something’. Its the ultimate free lunch. In a clean energy economy the only ‘other’ that is being ‘leeched’ upon is the Sun. In a dirty energy economy, it is future generations and the natural habitat itself that is leeched upon.

    • RobS

      Right on cue, the 40% have arrived, you can identify them by their baseless claims and their dismissal of majority opinion on the basis of the 60% are too stupid to know any better.

    • Altair IV

      Why would 40% want to continue shipping our hard-earned money out to international petrochemical countries, draining us of our prosperity, keeping us dependent on foreign interests, and damaging our own health and environment, when we can harness the solar and wind energy that’s all around us free for the taking, and live in a country that’s self-sufficient and cleaner?

      Tell me again which group is out of their minds?

  • Ross

    At a local, municipal and state level there seems to be more hope than at the insane level of republican national politics.

    • yeah, aside from some idiotic governors. the states moving forward the most on wind, and on other green energy tech in some cases, are ‘Republican’ states. bottom line is, it makes sense and is good for the economy… as long as you haven’t been heavily bribed by the fossil fuel industry.

  • mk1313

    As if the republicans would listen to anyone with less than $100M!!!!!!

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