Forty-eight percent of Americans find the science on climate change to be more persuasive than it was five years ago, with three-quarters of them crediting recent extreme weather events for changing their views, according to a recent from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
A November 2018 survey of Americans age 18 and older found that seven in 10 people believe that climate change is happening. Party affiliation sways this view: 86 percent of Democrats say climate change is happening, and the comparable figure for Republicans and independents is 52 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, 44 percent support a carbon tax, while 29 percent of those surveyed oppose one. Twenty-five percent say they neither support nor oppose it.
When told some ways the funds might be used, support is higher. Two-thirds support a carbon tax if the funds are used for environmental restoration. If respondents are told that the revenues will be rebated to households, support is only modestly higher, at 49 percent.
“It is striking that 67 percent of respondents support a carbon tax when the funds would be used to restore the environment, compared to 49 percent when the funds are rebated to households,” said Michael Greenstone, director of EPIC, which engages renowned UChicago scholars using an innovative approach to translate data-driven research into real-world impacts. “These findings appear to run counter to the conventional wisdom about the most politically appealing version of a carbon tax and to recent efforts by the federal government to step back from environmental protection.”