Americans Want Carbon Tax, Not Cap-And-Trade: Survey

US voters favor a carbon tax over cap-and-trade by nearly two-to-one, according to the results of a survey released by the U.S. Climate Task Force (CTF) and Future 500.

The survey, conducted by Hart Research, found that three out of four respondants favored legislation to significantly cut carbon emissions–contradicting other recent surveys showing that public support has cooled.

More interestingly, the new survey suggests it may be politically feasible for the U.S. Congress to pass a carbon tax, rather than a cap a trade bill, if they chose to do so.

A straight carbon tax is likely to be more effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions than a cap-and-trade system.

The new survey polled over 1,000 registered voters across the country. CTF said it found a carbon tax outperforms emissions trading systems across the electorate, including voters in every income bracket, each region of the country, and on both sides of the political aisle. Moreover, those who give higher priority to climate issues are even less likely to support cap and trade as the best solution.

"This poll reveals that only 2% of voters hold very positive view of cap and trade–the system at the core of the current Senate bill," explains Dr. Elaine Kamarck, former senior policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore and current CTF Co-chair. "But it’s not too late to salvage the situation. With both the U.N. and the Senate delaying major climate debates until next year, policymakers now have time to make a serious course correction in the emissions debate. And this survey offers Congress–especially those looking ahead to the 2010 midterm elections–the necessary guideposts for success."

CTF Chair Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, former U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce and senior advisor to Bill Clinton notes, "Support for a carbon tax-shift has been strong among economists and many environmentalists for a long time, because it sets a stable price for carbon, providing businesses and households the incentives they need to develop and adopt climate friendly fuels and technologies. It also provides accompanying tax cuts for American families. This new survey shows that the same attributes that make this policy appealing to these groups also make it the most popular option for two out of every three average Americans."

In Related News…

James Hansen, head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a vocal proponent of a straight carbon tax to address global warming, told Reuters the planet would be better off if current climate change negotiations failed and started over from scratch. 

He said he believes the current approach is fundamentally flawed. Read the story at the link below.

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