Wednesday, November 22, 2006

People Accepting Climate Change

Part Al Gore movie, part Katrina. And actually? I think the penguin movie made people care about the poles somewhat more, which allowed them to realize the glaciers were missing. Over the last three years, Climate Change has moved from 6th to 1st in a ranking of Americans' environmental concerns. I suppose it's hard to take wetlands destruction seriously if you believe we're about to get a whole lot more of them.
In the 2006 survey, 28 percent of the respondents agreed that it is a serious problem and immediate action is necessary--up from 17 percent in 2003. All together, almost 60 percent of the 2006 respondents agreed that there's enough evidence to warrant some level of action.
I could not explain to you what was going on with the other 40 %.
In 2003, people were willing to pay on average $14 more per month on their electricity bill to "solve" global warming. In 2006 they agreed to pay $21 more per month--a 50 percent increase in their willingness to pay.
As the guy says, that's $25Billion dollars, which is enough to buy every last Senator and Member of Congress.

On the topic of Al Gore's role in all this, I read a Slashdot comment today that irritated me.
if anyone else had tried to get congress to act on Global Warming, there would have never been An Inconvenient Truth. Had Gore been more successful in convincing congress to join the Kyoto treaty or strengthen EPA guidelines, I don't believe there never would have been the movie.
Now, Senators do hard things -- enriching yourself without crosssing any standing laws is trickier than you think, as is stovepiping legislation written by corporate malefactors. But, getting Congress to join the Kyoto treaty? Is anyone out there trying to think of an argument that would finally bring Senator Inhofe around? It was really a tough crowd -- the idea of starting at the top showed a little too much institutional bias; it was the people that needed to hear the message the whole time. But, having chosen to convice Congress instead, it's disingenuous to suggest Gore failed because of a lack of commitment or charisma.

2 comments:

Nephos said...

So the problem here is that people won't spend just $14 more on their electricity bill. Direct electricity is just a small fraction of people's total monetary expenditure. People pay far, far more for their electrity indirectly throught the purchase of goods and services. Any power hike will trasnfer proportionately to the costs of those goods. I'm guessing we're really talking about order $100's to $1000's per month, once everything is accounted for.

Of course, production and jobs may just move to where electricity is cheaper, making us poorer, while doing nothing to alleviate carbon emissions globally. Reductions in CO2 emissions here will correspond to increases in China. I think we're seeing this in Germany now. They've pretting much reached their Kyoto goals at the same time their industrial sector has been replaced by less energy intensive activities like the service sector.

Rionn Fears Malechem said...

Not to split hairs, but the question was whether they'd pay $14 more on their bills -- or, rather, how much more they'd pay -- not whether they'd support a higher rate.

But, yes, to get industries on board, we have to offer trade protection. China does it!