back to article Déjà spew: US would accept higher bills for less CO2 by two-to-one

You don't have to be a Kumbaya-warbling liberal to be willing to pay more for energy if it means reducing carbon emissions, nor do you even have to believe that climate scientists are on the up-and-up "when they warn about climate change." A poll commissioned by Bloomberg News found that 62 per cent of Americans said they'd be …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad poll?

    This is a typical sound-byte poll. It asks a loaded, nuanced question, while the audience is uninformed of context.

    A typical example is "Would you arrest people if you thought they were terrorists?" It would likely get 95% support. But if you asked it"Can we arrest anyone the NSA thinks is a terrorist?" The answer would be close to zero support!

    This question should have been multiple choice:

    How much more would you be willing to pay for electricity to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions by just 5 percent, reducing world emissions by 0.2 percent overall.:

    1. Nothing?

    2. 10 percent?

    3. 20 percent?

    4. 50 percent?

    5. Twice as much?

    6. Well over twice as much?

    I'm guessing the answer might come out different!

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: Bad poll?

      Excellent point. I also note the survey said "energy" and I'd wager the results would be considerably different if it said things people relate to like heat, electricity, auto fuel, postage, shipping, transportation and food. Energy is that big broad brush that few would grasp the extent of the meaning even if they do recognize that they use it daily.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bad poll?

        @Eddt Ito,

        They also lumped air pollution in with CO2 which will also change how people view what was asked, especially in the cities.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad poll?

      "This is a typical sound-byte poll. It asks a loaded, nuanced question, while the audience is uninformed of context."

      But it doesn't matter, because the US (like the UK and other western bi-ocracies) has two parties with few tangible differences, who are more than happy taking turns with the big chair.

      This sort of "poll" is being used to support Obama's plans to tax carbon, but it wouldn't matter if the GOP were in power - they would need to raise money to support "defence" spending, and they wouldn't wind back Obamacare. In Europe similar polls and "focus groups" have been used to support similar policies.

    3. Oninoshiko

      Re: Bad poll?

      It's not just that the poll is bad, the vary IDEA of a poll is bad. It's easy to say you will do what you think is accepted as the "right thing," it's quite another to look at two different bills, pickup the one that's 10% higher and say "I want this one."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bad poll?

        @Oninoshiko: Illogical. If the cheaper bill is for "electricity, drought, extreme weather, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification," and the 10% higher one is for "electricity and a stable environment," it would seem a good deal, doncha think?

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Bad poll?

          "doncha think?" No. Deniers don't. That's the problem.

          No rational person debates the fact of climate change. If you feel inclined to debate either that climate change is occurring or that humans are playing a lead role, click that link, watch the video and then fuck the hell off...because you are objectively wrong.

          The only rational question is "what do we do about climate change?" There are two possible answers: "fuck the future, I want mine and that's all that matters" or "let's all work together to leave the world a better place for those that follow than we found it."

          Which you choose defines the kind of person you are. If you choose the former, then I hope you get eaten by a rabid antelope. If you choose the latter, hey, beer for you.

          1. Rik Myslewski

            Re: Bad poll?


            Well put, sir – my sentiments exactly. Well, I might have left out the part about the rabid antelope, but I'll gladly help you pop for the pint.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Bad poll?

              Well the rabid antelope comes in because I share John Oliver's opinion of internet commenters. He calls them "monsters", and they are. I don't claim to be any better, just honest. Quite frankly, I think the climate deniers are dangerous. They are not only distorting the truth, they are preventing us from engaging a very real threat.

              The actions of deniers are driving up the very real cost of dealing with the tangible effects of climate change and virtually eliminating any chance we have to minimize the damage caused by acting proactively. To put it in terms they can understand "they fuckers are taking money out of my wallet by refusing to actually understand science all in the name of fear of someone taking from their wallet"!

              Using science hasn't worked. Being polite hasn't worked. So far, not a single thing anyone has done has caused them to accept the truth of the world and we are collectively all the poorer for it. So yeah, it's them or us. In that context, I do entirely hope they all get eaten by rabid antelope before the damage done creates a planet unable to sustain a population of ten billion humans.

              Even if you lop off the more fantastic potential long term effects of climate change, the picture is pretty bleak. Most especially the changing rainfall patterns (especially as so much of the human population is dependent on groundwater that has a miserable enough recharge rate as it is.)

              It's time to be done with this ridiculous "teach the controversy" movement and get on with the business of coping with reality. There is no Santa Claus, your deity doesn't exist, and you have to be biologically incapable of understanding both maths and statistics to deny the reality of climate change.

              Maybe it makes me a bad person that wish ill on others...I'm increasingly okay with that. There are bigger things to worry about than bent feelers or even entire individuals. Humanity is about to pass through the crucible; we'll have the best chance of it if we enter the journey with the maximum number of us capable of understanding basic science.

              Besides, I think we've achieved a high enough species-wide fertility rate that we can jettison the sociopaths, don't you? Those who would sacrifice the future for a few cents off a tank of gasoline...

        2. Oninoshiko

          Re: Bad poll?

          It's quite logical. Even if the entire CO2 output of the US where stopped tomorrow, do you really think that would stop global warming? There is a problem with your logic the size of China... namely China. At the rate they are building (the dirtiest design they can come up with) coal fired power-plants, it will offset anything the Americans do anyway.

          Of course, it's not JUST China, there are a number of nations which where not well developed enough to consider part of the Kyoto Accords, but even if we ignore everthing behind that curtain, we can't build hydro (save the sea(river?)kittens!), we can't build nuclear (OMG! it's gonna melt down!), solar and wind have an inability to provide load constantly. The reality is, this path isn't changing. So, no, I'm not interested in taking a rate hike to STILL have the entire world go to hell around me.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Bad poll?

            Two wrongs don't make a right. They just destroy the future faster. And for the record, China is pumping trillions into replacing their energy sources with CO2 neutral sources. They have big incentives; most of their economy is on the coast.

            1. Dan Paul

              Re: Bad poll?

              BULLSHIT Trevor, They are building the dirtiest types coal fired electricity plants at a record rate. They have lots of coal. And they have NO emission laws or equipment (that they actually utilize). Have you seen the pictures of the air pollution there? I thought not, just another Greenpeace hippie that wants the first world to "Atone for our sins" over making the emerging economy follow the same rules WE have to.

              They had to shut down traffic and manufacturing for the Olympics "just" to have enough clean air (for the cameras). Can you say catalytic convertors? Didn't think so and neither can the Chinese.

              However many "trillions" they are pumping into their energy sources, they are not spending it on cleaning up their coal plants or vehicles or stopping open burning or smelting.

              Newsflash: ALL that crap blows over here and ends up in the GLOBAL atmosphere!

              Have you seen their hydro dams that will crumble into the Yangtze in 20 years (poorly built by corrupt contractors), displacing tens of thousands in the whole process?

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: Bad poll?

                They're building every kind of power plant they can. New coal plants in China, just by the by, are typically outfitted with as much technology as possible to control pollution. China's pollution problem isn't from new power plants, it's from two things:

                1) Old power plants that haven't yet been retrofitted. (And China is retrofitting them, one at a time.) And more than any other issue:

                2) Chinese homes burn coal is the least efficient and more polluting way possible for heat.

                China is a polluted mess. But they honestly are working their asses off to solve it. They are building hydro at a record pace*. They are building nuke plants as fast as they possible can. They have deployed more renewables than anyone.

                In short: they are building electrical generation as quickly as they can in part because of growing demand but primairily so that they can get those polluting coal-burning homes off of coal-based heat and onto electrical heating.

                A lot of that has to do with air quality. A lot of that has to do with energy independence. But it also has to do with climate change. China is capping CO2 emissions. They are also going to aggressively lower those caps year on year. They don't suffer from "the Yankee politburo sayeth nyet" syndrome: this is The Plan and they are fucking dead serious about this.

                You can even judge China's seriousness. We are past the midpoint of the first Five Year Plan in which climate change and CO2 were seriously addressed. All indications I've seen are that they are on target not only to meet the stated goals.

                China is building low-carbon business and industrial (development zones) and low-carbon residential communities. Other than a couple of middle eastern nations, who's doing this in a planned, national fashion? China's even implemented cap-and-trade on CO2, for $deity's sake!

                Why don't you take some time to China's National Climate Change Programme for yourself? Learn something for once instead of letting your biases and nationalism turn off your brain. Maybe if you stopped just believing anything the media tells you without question you'd see that a nation that made a bunch of mistakes is trying damned hard to undo them...and putting their "betters" (like the USA) to shame.

                "There's no point in the USA curbing CO2 emissions because China won't" is outright bullshit. China could have said "there's no point in China curbing CO2 emissions because the US won't." Instead, they just went ahead and started working the problem. There's a reason China is the world's superpower and the US is in decline: they aren't an entire nation of whiny bitches.

                *Your bullshit about "they'll crumble in 20 years" is nothing more than xenophobic tripe. If you had any evidence whatsoever that there was corruption in building those dams the Chinese would too. And the corrupt would be DEAD. Corruption is a capital crime in that country, and they execute a lot of people for it every year. Not just scapegoats. They've executed top officials for it. You really don't seem to understand that country at all.

    4. icetrout

      Re: Bad poll?

      where'd these bozos get the lame idea that CO2 emissions were responsible for climate disruption...problem with coal plant emissions is with the release of SULFUR DIOXIDE which precipitates out as acid rain... love to see scrubbers on coal plants for SULFUR DIOXIDE... CO2 doesn't do squat...

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All these poll articles are clickbait!

    There is no such thing as a representative sample of 1005 divided by 310 million people. This is 0.00000324 percent of the current population.

    Only a national referendum vote would be close to acceptable and anyone who says otherwise needs to become soylent green.

    How about forcing the same emission regulations on the emerging countries (by trade laws) that we already have today in the US and Britain? Then you might make some actual progress and balance trade at the same time. I'd rather pay more for consumer goods than for electricity.

    The environmentalists don't understand how impossible it is to make changes to remove that last little bit without bankrupting EVERYONE in the process.

    You also want a 100% raise in minimum wage? 1,000 % would not be enough with your proposals.

    Face it, you want us all naked, unemployed and living in unlit, unheated, mud huts and you won't stop until we are all under your thumb.

    If that becomes the case, the US civil war will look like a childs bedtime story compared to the result and there will be a whole slew of new countries.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All these poll articles are clickbait!

      Learn some statistics. Polls like this always sample a very small portion of the population. Assuming the sampling is done properly (not that this is easy to do, but there are known techniques for doing so assuming they're followed) the results of the study have a 95% chance of falling within the margin of error of the actual number.

      Whether the survey was intended to be honest or not is another matter - for this issue there are two sides with big axes to grind, and the way the question is worded and what other questions may or may not have been asked prior to it can have a measurable impact on the results you get.

      So I'd take this with a grain of salt, but sampling only 1005 people is well down the list of things that will be a potential problem here.

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: All these poll articles are clickbait!

        I don't need to learn anything about statistics, you do however. Using a misrepresentative sample of the wants and needs of the populace, by cherrypicking where you poll; is as bad as statistics gets.

        There is NOTHING that could even come close to any representative relationship here except to lies. The same lies that the Canadian Greenpeace arm of the Register seems to want to spread.

        The only way to see that "sampling is done properly" on a subject of this importance is to VOTE nationally on it. Then I might believe the results.

        Sampling 1005 people at a place like Yale will only result in the seriously dishonest biased results they obtained, and have no basis in fact.

  3. IGnatius T Foobar
    Thumb Down


    Real Americans know that the whole "man made global warming" scam is just that: a scam. The fact that global warming stopped and the commies had to rename it "climate change" and attribute it to every weather event that would have happened anyway is proof.

    This whole thing is being pushed by socialists both inside and outside of the US borders who want to accelerate the decline of America. Carbon TAXES are a great way to push that agenda along.

    No matter what kind of energy one proposes, there are always a bunch of "watermelons" (green on the outside, red on the inside) finding a reason to knock it down. Guess what, kids: the answer is, in the words of Jethro Tull, "Nuclear -- the better way!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bollocks

      @IGnatius T Foobar: A bit of clarification, sir. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was founded in 1988.

    2. Martin Budden

      Re: Bollocks

      "Real Americans"? Allow me to point out your logical fallacy.

  4. cirby

    "Pay more"

    Oh, really, how much more?

    One percent?




    You can bet - for certain - that they didn't ask about fifty percent, or a hundred, to get that result.

  5. Rick Brasche

    any bets this poll was taken at around 11 am or 1PM local time?

    so when they call the people who are home all day - ones who are either rich enough to have 3 hour lunch breaks, or don't work to pay their own bills, I'm sure they get plenty of people who won't sweat any difference in their bill.

    the rest of us were at work and didn't answer the phone call that caller ID says is coming from some telemarketing firm.

  6. earl grey

    just bend me over now; skip the lube

    raise taxes (for whatever proclaimed reason)

    piss away money (as usual)

    pollution change = 0%

    CO2 change = 0%

    money out of my pocket = guaranteed to be twice whatever the wankers in step 1 are talking about

  7. Mike Shepherd

    It's simpler than that

    The mistake is to believe what people say they'd do, especially when it involves reaching into their pockets.

  8. Mark 85

    Reminds me of the old "soften up the beachhead before we land" routine

    But without the 16" guns from the battleships. We get hit with a second poll that says the US residents would pay more to reduce CO2 and I'm sure there's more coming with the same result. . Obama is hitting us with a pollution policy that smells of the same thing as the polls are pointing to. Election time is coming up. The Greenies are getting restless about coal, gas, even nuke power. Methinks the US is about to get a shitstorm in the next couple of years of more taxes, more costly energy, and more BS. The powers that be want us to believe that we, the people, asked for it.

    I'm wondering where the money trail will lead???

  9. Herby

    What is "reduce"?

    This is the big question. The steps many propose (as mentioned in some comments above) will not "reduce" things much at all. Even less when considered in a world context. The world runs on energy (lots of it). If it available for all to use, we WILL use it and if it is cheap enough (pick your price) the economy will take off. Put constraints or taxes (however well intentioned) and things slow down.

    Most reduction in "pollution" is in self interest. If we have fewer waste products (everything makes them) then the process is more efficient, and the energy costs will be less.

    Sometimes there is a problem. Humans are more efficient (they do much less manual labo(u)r than a century ago. The problem is that we tend to consume the same amount of foodstuffs. This leads to being overweight. What the efficiencies have done is allowed humans to eat less (which some do). If we don't we get overweight. Overweight in its own form is "pollution" to some degree.

    Of course, the "climate change" people need to take into consideration that silly star that is 93M miles away and how it effects EVERYTHING! here on the 3rd rock from the sun.


  10. HighTech4US

    Okay, those who accept the higher prices (2 to 1) should pay twice what they are today so that ones who don't (the one in the 2 to 1) otherwise is just another forced tax on those in the minority position.

  11. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Pay more? Pay whom?

    Great poll. What are the details of this payment scheme? Is this a cap and trade scheme? Will we be handing negotiable carbon permits out to industries who might have switched to cleaner sources anyway? Like coal, which is being replaced by natural gas. No thanks to climate policies but to fracking technologies and the new supplies of gas.

    Or will payment be steered toward politically correct recipients? No credits for carbon sequestering GMO super trees. But payments to third world tribes not to cut their jungles.

    If we really understood the causes and effects of AGW (or whatever its called today) to the poin where we could make useful predictions and not have to fiddle with the computer models every time weather starts diverging from climate, we might be able to make some economically sound decisions. But as the science stands righ now, we may need to do several course corrections as new science is made in this area. But once we start paying someone, tey become an entranched interest in their subsidy and we will have a damned tough time cutting the money flow off if we discover that we have been paying for the wrong behaviour.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    They sure as hell didn't poll me

    I, personally, don't want to pay more

  13. Mark 85

    On the other hand... regarding CO2

    The US Feds have made it a point that wildfires and forest fires on federal land are not to interfered with unless life is threatened. This comes from the environmentalist lobby who thinks they should be allowed to burn.

    So this begs the question about how much CO2 is released by these uncontained fires? Why are the environmental types screaming about uncontrolled fires?

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: On the other hand... regarding CO2

      "Why are the environmental types screaming about uncontrolled fires?"

      Not screaming?

      Because forest fires are a natural process (human caused fires aside). Forests are in the long term carbon neutral. They grow, absorbing carbon and then die and rot, releasing carbon. Or they burn. In either case (rot or burn), the carbon gets released back to the atmosphere (and soil).

      The only plant life that should get 'carbon credits' are those that store or remove carbon from the environment in a permnent form. Plant life feeding peat bogs is one example of this. Otherwise, the only credits most fir, pine and other such trees should get is for each pound of carbon removed by logging trucks. In this case, its better for the environment if the trees are not burned, but removed from the carbon cycle long term as lumber.

  14. G R Goslin

    An old saying

    That you can fool all the people, some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all the time. All you need, in the American sense is to have the second category over fifty percent of the population. As seems to be the case. The third option, that you cannot fool all the people all the time, becomes less likely as time goes by.

  15. Slx

    it's an odd thing... but

    I'm always amazed at how the very loud tea bagger, right wing voices that we tend to hear from the US are actually often not very representative of American public opinion. They just carry louder across the Atlantic!

    When I see opinion polling I always notice that most Americans tend to have fairly pragmatic, centrist, sensible phone of view on most things. Yet certain media outlets would have you thinking otherwise.

    Same went for healthcare reforms most Americans weren't up in arms about them and a large % actually strongly supported them.

    I've also found US people's attitudes to foreign policy are far less gung ho than some media outlet and politicians would have you think!

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: it's an odd thing... but

      What healthcare reforms? You mean the statutes that make having health insurance mandatory? A government grant program to pay for health insurance with no way to pay for it?

      A real reformation would have eliminated women filing lawsuits for "undue and unjust" pain during childbirth ($6million award, probably knocked down on appeal). Awards for grandfather passing away during surgery.

      The US has too many lawyers and juries are made up of people that are happy as clams to stick it to anybody they think has money.

      Unfortunately, the US hasn't had a proper energy policy for decades. It's going to come to bad times if there isn't a plan. Coal is dirty. Fracked gas wells peak quickly and drop off in production very rapidly. Wind and Solar are very expensive compared to fossil fuels and very inefficient on a watts/acre measurement. I can almost swear that work on newer nuclear technologies, such as LFTR, are actively discouraged by established mega-corps (and therefore by the politicians they have purchased.)

      I agree that if the study posed a question like "Would you pay an electric bill 2x what you currently pay to help lower the US CO2 output by 5%?", most respondents would use bad language in response and hang up.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloomberg? Really?

    When I saw that the poll had been conducted by that ever so objective organization I dismissed the article out of hand. I did not need to read any further to know that it is yet more leftist propaganda.

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