Americans Are Willing to Pay a Carbon Tax

When debating the need to address climate change, conservative political leaders in the United States are often quick to argue that action is simply too expensive to be feasible. Well, try telling that to the majority of Americans who want to pay a carbon tax on their own energy use, in an effort to save the environment.

The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication conducted a survey of 1,200 American adults and found that most are willing to spend more money on the energy they consume, especially if that money is applied toward climate initiatives.

The amount of money is no small sum, either. Researchers averaged the amount Americans said they were comfortable paying in order to address environmental problems, and it came out to $177 per year household.

To achieve that amount, the cost of fossil fuels would need to be increased by 14.4 percent from their current rates. Altogether, this bump would account for an extra $22.3 billion dollars in tax revenue.

Participants in the poll also weighed in on how they’d like to see potential carbon tax dollars spent. Presented with ten options including federal tax rebates and paying off the national debt, the biggest support of all came for an environmental program.

Eighty percent of Americans want to see carbon tax money used to develop and promote a renewable energy industry in the U.S. Funding American infrastructure with the carbon tax came in second, but there were a few other environmental issues that got majority approval. Assisting low-income communities that are most at risk to climate change’s consequences and funding plans to prepare American communities for these impending changes also received between 55 and 60 percent support.

Seventy-two percent of Americans also wanted to see some of the money applied toward assisting former coal workers who would be put out of work in a shifting, more environmentally conscious economy.

It should come as no surprise that Americans are willing to shell out more money for this problem. Other research released this year points to Americans becoming a lot smarter about the reality of climate change and the threats it poses to our planet.

Americans can get behind a carbon tax – even if it means extra money coming out of their own pockets – because it’s an investment in the future. Of course people are willing to chip in on a national save-the-earth fund; politicians are full of it for suggesting that Americans would rather see their tax money spent on more wars, for example.

If Americans are volunteering to pay a little more for their energy, let’s take them up on it! The health of the planet is at stake.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

45 comments

Mike R
Mike R6 days ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R6 days ago

Thanks

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 months ago

Yes. It is always those that can least afford, who wind up bearing most of the burden.

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Craig Zimmerman
Craig Zimmerman1 months ago

It would the very poor that would be hurt the most by this tax.

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Winn A
Winn Adams1 months ago

Noted

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David C
David C1 months ago

I will pay for things I do that might hurt our world....I would also pay for an universal health insurance system........and many other things.....what I don't like is paying taxes that are going to our military, incompetent politicians, unnecessary or "extra" services for our politicians and or families to have vacations, etc

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I1 months ago

Despite the fact that taxation is what keeps this Country functioning, I seriously doubt that Republicans are willing to pay either a carbon tax or any other tax, since they're always the ones who whine the most about having to pay their fair share of taxes. Thanks for posting.

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Janet B
Janet B1 months ago

Thanks

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Christeen A
Christeen A1 months ago

I'm not willing..............

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Colin C
Colin C1 months ago

I wonder if they would pay a medicare tax for free universal health care

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