back to article US citizens want stricter CO2 regulations by two to one – Yale poll

Next Monday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to propose limits on CO2 emissions from existing power plants, regulations that have caused the US utilities industry to see red even before they've seen the proposed rules. Although the EPA has its enemies, it also has its supporters, says a new poll conducted …

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  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    This one is predictable

    The nice warm and fuzzy wording about reducing climate change and better health.... of course, who wouldn't be for that. Now ask the question of how much more would you actually be willing to pay for this? I know my fellow citizens will answer with yells of outrage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      Re: This one is predictable

      Got plans to ram thru cap n' trade controls and taxes without benefit of congressional approval? Don't forget to call your local ultra-liberal ivy league college for some timely push-polling!

      We all know how that game is played.

    2. Pseu Donyme

      Re: This one is predictable

      re cost: in his most recent NYT column Krugman argues that the cost - relative to GDP - is minuscule, based on figures from the *US Chamber of Commerce* (http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/30/opinion/krugman-cutting-back-on-carbon.html).

      1. Tom 13

        Re: This one is predictable

        If it's from Krugman, it's reliably wrong. If its from the NYT it's reliably wrong. You're so called facts are screwed either way.

        1. Pseu Donyme

          Re: This one is predictable

          Sadly, this seems pertinent to the downvotes and Tom's comment above: "

          Everyone knows that the American right has problems with science that yields conclusions it doesn’t like. Climate science — which says that we face a huge global externality that requires not just government intervention, but coordinated international action (black helicopters!) has been the target of a sustained, and unfortunately largely successful, attempt to damage its credibility.

          But it doesn’t stop there. We should not forget that much of the right is deeply hostile to the theory of evolution.

          And now there’s a new one (to me, anyway; maybe it’s been out there all along): it turns out that, according to Conservapedia, the theory of relativity is a liberal plot.

          " (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/first-they-came-for-the-climate-scientists)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

    There is no such thing as a representative poll at ANY college or university. You can't be representative of the complete USA population for any reason. Reporting this poll is clickbaiting.

    Only a full blown referendum put on the docket for a NATIONAL election will do and that will never happen because our politicians are wimps and won't like the answer that a mature (not old) taxpayer will reply with.

    Cap and Trade can go right to hell along with any politician that supports it.

    1. localzuk Silver badge

      Re: Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

      Do you think that a poll by Yale means a poll of Yale students and staff?

      I read it as "a poll performed by Yale" which doesn't mean that...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

        "Do you think that a poll by Yale means a poll of Yale students and staff?"

        No, what it means is a poll, taken somewhere of their choosing (they don't say where), that is heavily weighted towards Democrats as usual (454 vs 354), and with biased question/s.

        Further, a quick look at their polling site reveals massive bias toward the AGW theory.

        http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/article/americans-support-limits-on-co2/

        From the first paragraph: "Each year in the United States about 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions – the primary cause of global warming...", which is situated alongside a scary photo of cloudy emissions from smokestacks.

        A modern coal plant produces very little pollution other than CO2 and H2O, but hey, all that water vapor forming sinister clouds from the stacks sure LOOKS scary! Particularly in black and white, as this one is.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

          "No, what it means is a poll, taken somewhere of their choosing (they don't say where), that is heavily weighted towards Democrats as usual (454 vs 354), and with biased question/s."

          Yeah, but let's go back to the AC's original second line.

          "You can't be representative of the complete USA population for any reason."

          He's not arguing that. He's (largely incoherently) arguing that unbiased statistical polling is an impossibility.

        2. localzuk Silver badge

          Re: Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

          @Big John - You just linked to a project page for a climate change communication project. Of course it has information about climate change and CO2 - they go hand in hand, and the evidence thus far has been providing evidence that supports the conclusion that climate change is happening. The consensus, no matter what the media manages to dig up, when you look at peer reviewed research, is pretty clear also.

          So, the questions are based on the research that has been undertaken. Which makes sense.

          You seem to be under the impression that bias means presenting an equal amount of coverage to both sides of this argument. If we apply that same thinking, when the media does a report about the space station, they would also have to provide coverage of some lunatic who doesn't believe that it exists...

          1. Tom 13

            Re: linked to a project page for a climate change communication project.

            He didn't link, the author did. To the people who allegedly ran the unbiased poll. They're as unbiased as the National Tobacco Institute. The smokestacks and the open remark prove it.

            And the poll is worthless. They don't tell you anything about the internals. Which means their poll, like the hockey stick and the tree rings is bullshit.

        3. John Hughes

          Re: Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

          "A modern coal plant produces very little pollution other than CO2 and H2O"

          Atmospheric. You forgot to specify atmospheric pollution. A modern coal plant still produces megatonnes of filthy fly ash.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

      "There is no such thing as a representative poll at ANY college or university. You can't be representative of the complete USA population for any reason. Reporting this poll is clickbaiting."

      Hmm. Damn, we'd better shut down all those statistics departments that train people to do representative sampling. The AC has spoken!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

      Lies, damned lies, and statistics as noted by Mark Twain or per chance Benjamin Disraeli, see "wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics". We are talking about a small selection of the populace. You can tweak, twist, mutilate and adjust the data ( probably missed some ) to meet the needs of the organization who petition the research. I do have to say to the students for a job well done, as it provoke a lot of discussion in this forum.

  3. Scott 1

    Begging the question

    The major problem here has to do with fallacies in the survey question. It states that the policy would "reduce climate change and improve public health" as a foregone conclusion. While we have all had the debate about the causes of climate change ad nauseum, I cannot find any credible evidence that increased levels of CO2, in and of itself, would negatively impact human health. The question also ignores the major negative impact on public health and the environment that higher energy costs, via impacts to the economy, would cause.

    1. MondoMan
      Thumb Up

      Re: Begging the question

      Exactly. However, the way I interpret the results is that the American populace, recognizing the lack of any health benefits from reducing CO2 emissions at coal plants, realize that any such regulation is in practice impossible. Thus, it really means "are you OK with no further cuts in coal plant CO2 emissions?"

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Begging the question

      "I cannot find any credible evidence that increased levels of CO2, in and of itself, would negatively impact human health"

      You didn't look very hard then!

      http://news.stanford.edu/news/2008/january9/co-010908.html

      1. Fluffy Bunny
        Boffin

        Re: Begging the question

        Credible, mate. Credible. Read the introduction to the Stanford article, "a state-of-the-art computer model of the atmosphere". Nowhere does it describe any attempt at validation. In other words, it is just another attempt to scare the voting public into a knee-jerk reaction, which you can see if you can stomach the pseudo-science enought to read about how it is going to be used to force voters in California to allow their government to control CO2 emission.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plant food

    One has to ask why they are so down on the best free plant food available, CO2, especially when water vapour is a better greenhouse gas.

    As it stands this looks like a greenwash by people like Big Al Gore who would like a few million more in his retirement fund.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Plant food

      Missed that ongoing million acre deforestation thing along with record droughts, did you?

    2. John Hughes

      Re: Plant food

      "One has to ask why they are so down on the best free plant food available, CO2, especially when water vapour is a better greenhouse gas."

      Oceans. We happen to live on a planet that has these huge masses of water sloshing around. You can't increase the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere just by emitting it - whatever you emit will just fall out of the sky as rain and end up in the ocean.

      If, however, you increase the average temperature, say by releasing greenhouse gasses that are not in equilibrium, then you can increase the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, and, as you point out water vapour is a very strong GHG.

      So now do you see why CO2 is more of a concern than H2O?

  5. Snowy

    US citizens may want stricter CO2 regulations by two to one, but they do not want to pay the price for it. Like they want jobs to be on shored but are unwilling to pay any extra for this to happen, just look at

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/30/motorola_to_close_texas_factory/

  6. doctariAFC2

    This is certainly funny, especially on the heels of the Memorial Day "quiz" conducted by someone from Fox News, and played on the O'Reilly Factor, where this person is asking random college kids some basic questions, like, oh, "who was involved in fighting the Revolutionary War"... Most of those asked said France?

    Asked about George Washington, who was he, "Did he have something to do with horses?"

    Not surprising - reach out to the ill-informed and ask leading questions, get the answer you expect.

    Then trumpet this as something it isn't....

    I know how this garbage works....

    1. Irony Deficient

      Most of those asked said France?

      doctariAFC2, most of those asked were right. Have you never heard of the Expédition Particulière? Without French military, financial, and diplomatic support, the Revolutionary War would not have ended with the UK’s recognition of thirteen independent states in North America.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About time

    As the comedian Sean Lock once said, "I visited the USA recently, and while I was over there I realised that any effort I had made to prevent global warming, was like turning up to an earthquake with a dustpan and brush."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: About time

      US CO2 emissions peaked in 2005, lately down a bit over 10% from that peak. I wonder how Sean Lock's country has been doing by comparison?

      Not saying the US couldn't be doing a lot more, but simply displacing some old dirty coal plants for natural gas (that evil fracking) has helped a measurable amount. If we got serious about using natural gas for transportation (for large vehicles like trucks, busses and trains) we could make a much bigger dent.

      I'd rather see us legislate old polluting power plants out of existence (and make it easier to build new clear ones, whether natural gas or nuclear) than do the gigantic economics experiment known as cap and trade.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: About time

        "US CO2 emissions peaked in 2005, lately down a bit over 10% from that peak. I wonder how Sean Lock's country has been doing by comparison?"

        Seriously?

        1) According to the Google, US carbon emissions peaked in 1973, but anyway.

        2) Sean Lock is English. UK carbon emissions in 2005 were less than half US emissions per captia (19.72 tonnes versus 9.00 tonnes). Since then UK emissions have also fallen. Look at this helpful table to see just how outsized US emissions are compared with most other industiralized nations (apart notably from Australia).

        1. Fluffy Bunny
          Boffin

          Re: About time

          " just how outsized US emissions are".

          Talk about selective quotation... Aren't you going to flog those awful people in the Falkland Islands for having higher emissions than the US? While we are looking at the table, check out the top - Qatar at 44 tonnes per person, more than double the US.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        gigantic economics experiment known as cap and trade.

        Not much of an experiment.

        The trade part is just a scam to make the traders rich.

        The caps generally end up a combination of arbitrary, political, protectionist.

    2. MondoMan
      Facepalm

      Re: About time

      Sure hope Sean Lock crossed the Atlantic by swimming, because if he instead flew on a modern jet, he more than used up years of his carbon quota. :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: About time

        "Sure hope Sean Lock crossed the Atlantic by swimming, because if he instead flew on a modern jet, he more than used up years of his carbon quota. :)"

        I think the point here is that a modern jet is the only practical way to travel between the US and Europe. But a 7 litre V8 truck is not the only practical way to pop round to the shops.

  8. theloon

    but they still wanna drive a 3 axle truck to work

    Yeah sort out that power plant.....but I'm not giving up my dually ....

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge
    FAIL

    Doesn't that CO2 stuff give ya cancer?

    This is no different from all the people that want gluten-free food, but then when asked what gluten is, they have no idea.

    Typical idiot on-the-bandwagon Americans. So embarrassed to be associated with that in any way, shape, or form.

    I think I learned more history from reading the "useful notes" pages of TV Tropes than I ever did in school.

    1. Kevin 6

      Re: Doesn't that CO2 stuff give ya cancer?

      Reminds me when Penn and Teller got a pile of people at an Earth day fest to sign a ban for Dihydrogen Monoxide

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi3erdgVVTw

  10. Herby

    Cut ALL sources!!

    There are lots of things that produce CO2. Among them are animals (please talk to PeTA), and those people who pound keys on keyboards and watch displays (Humans for those of you in Rio Linda). If you are going to regulate CO2, you must do it for ALL sources.

    Now wouldn't that be "A modest Proposal"??

    1. John Hughes

      Re: Cut ALL sources!!

      "There are lots of things that produce CO2. Among them are animals"

      Idiot.

      The carbon emitted into the atmosphere by animals comes from the plants they eat. Where do you think those plants got the carbon from?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    It is an outright lie.

    There is no way that carbon dioxide is causing global warming. It is a measly 0.035% of our atmosphere. There simply is no way it can have any effect at all on global temperature at that concentration. Any decision on shutting power plants down should rely on the facts, not popular polls. This is why the United States has a Constitution. The majority is legally prevented from doing bad things to the minority--BY LAW.

    The real driver of global warming is the sun. Sol is, I find that I am obliged to point out, an uncontrolled fusion reactor of natural origin. It could do anything at any time and we would be helpless to prevent it. We are, at this very moment. completely helpless and still largely clueless about our own sun. We should be more worried about asteroid strikes than we are about global warming from carbon dioxide. The first is inevitable, the second is impossible.

    Oh, and if you do sincerely believe in anthropogenic global warming, you should also be in favour of consturcting fission power plants to replace the coal and gas fired plants that our EPA is shutting down now. We are about to commit economic seppuku over a phantom problem. Millions of us will starve and or be displaced while rich thugs like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Steyr make their millions. They have a marked preference for untrammeled beaches.

    1. MondoMan
      Facepalm

      Re: It is an outright lie.

      Then I'm sure you'd be happy to breathe in some botulinum toxin at a 350x lower concentration of 1ppm.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: It is an outright lie.

      "There is no way that carbon dioxide is causing global warming. It is a measly 0.035% of our atmosphere. There simply is no way it can have any effect at all on global temperature at that concentration. Any decision on shutting power plants down should rely on the facts, not popular polls. This is why the United States has a Constitution. The majority is legally prevented from doing bad things to the minority--BY LAW."

      A couple of quick changes and hey presto!

      There is no way that mercury is causing humans to die. It is a measly 0.035% of our bloodstream. There simply is no way it can have any effect at all on our health at that concentration. Any decision on regulating health should rely on the facts, not popular polls. This is why the United States has a Constitution. The majority is legally prevented from doing bad things to the minority--BY LAW.

      Did you forget about all that science-y stuff that seems to think that CO2 does affect temperature? Maybe it doesn't, the science isn't absolutely rock solid. But the science on certain medicines isn't rock solid either, and when we rushed into that look at what happened, e.g., Thalidomide. On the one hand we shut down a few polluting power plants, on the other we all drown. We have to look at the costs and benefits and weigh it up. If you don't believe in AGW then that's fine, but luckily political leaders aren't listening to you because you don't have any qualifications, knowledge or understanding of the situation.

    3. Rik Myslewski

      Re: It is an outright lie.

      @Billy Catringer – Time after time, I find myself required to ask this simple question after reading "arguments" such as yours: could you please explain what it is with which you take exception regarding the quantifiable physics of radiative forcing?

      1. Fluffy Bunny
        Boffin

        Re: It is an outright lie.

        This "radiative forcing" furphy again. Please let me know when your computer models start producing results that match the real world. You will know that, because they will have stopped predicting warming that never happens.

        But then you won't be able to fearmonger the world into paying for your lifestyle. 100 Billion for fake science. Wow, you really can fool all of the people.

        1. John Hughes

          Re: It is an outright lie.

          "This "radiative forcing" furphy again. Please let me know when your computer models start producing results that match the real world."

          Amazing, I didn't know that Svante Arrhenius used a computer.

      2. Tom 13

        Re:the quantifiable physics of radiative forcing

        Because for all you claim it is quantifiable, nobody has accurately measured it, then published the paper including the raw data as well as the corrective formulas.

    4. Terry Barnes

      Re: It is an outright lie.

      "There is no way that carbon dioxide is causing global warming. It is a measly 0.035% of our atmosphere. There simply is no way it can have any effect at all on global temperature at that concentration."

      I look forward to reading your published, peer-reviewed paper on the subject.

  12. Tom 35 Silver badge

    US citizens want stricter CO2 regulations

    But not the rich ones so screw you.

  13. willi0000000

    not a chance

    some polling has shown that an even larger percentage of Americans, up to 90% in some polls, are in favor of universal background checks for weapons purchases. we won't get background checks until someone kills an entire town, or an entire flock (herd? gaggle?) of politicians, in one go with a gun, and probably not then.

    the principle of one-man-one-vote hasn't worked since the bribe was invented! [and recently made legal by The Five Supremes™]

  14. Graham Marsden
    Mushroom

    Meanwhile...

    ... try asking the Yanks whether they'd be in favour of reducing CO2 emissions by driving more fuel efficient vehicles or even (gods forbid!) using some form of public transport (which we all know is damn near to Communism!)

  15. ecofeco Silver badge

    Majority, smajority

    Most Americans were against bailing out Wall St. How'd that work out?

  16. JP19

    CO2 regulation?

    You burn X amount of fossil fuel you get Y amount of CO2. There is no changing that - simple chemistry.

    There are fanciful schemes for trying to grab the resulting CO2 and bury it in a hole or something.

    Couldn't be bothered to read all the crap but from what I did it isn't CO2 regulation it is generating plant efficiency regulation. All generators strive for greater efficiency within the limits of it being economical anyway. All the regulation can do is push those limits the wrong side of economical, especially for older plant. You will get more electricity from your fossil fuel and less electricity from your $.

  17. Scroticus Canis
    Unhappy

    This is hardly representative

    So 1,013 responders represent the +300 million population accurately? Take it that they did a proper demographic representation: corn belters, Alaskans, Hawaiians, poor city neighbourhoods from across the country, etc.... No I don't think so either.

    Also with regard to the polled question as soon as and "and/or" is introduced the answer is meaningless anyway, even without the two different propositions.

    Complete waste of space as a relevant statistical evaluation, more like a sociology experiment in gullibility of those who react to the "result".

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: This is hardly representative

      @ Scroticus Canis

      "So 1,013 responders represent the +300 million population accurately?"

      Yes. You first decide what the answer is you want. Then you look for the areas likely to agree with you. Then you sift out those who disagree with your views. Then you ask an ambiguous question. Then you get the 'right' result in the high 90+%.

  18. grantmasterflash

    Queue the hoards of people who think that scientific method has no basis whatsoever in producing a reliable conclusion. Only having been there is reliable. Dinosaurs didn't exist unless you were there! Co2 doesn't have harmful health effects unless you can transport yourself to the future and see for yourself. Co2 doesn't contribute to global warming unless for the same reason.

    There's this thing called science folks, and it's more reliable than your emotion based motivated reasoning by about 1 billion to one (I don't have data to back that up, it just feels right - tic).

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