Poll: Greenhouse gas regulation favored over carbon taxes

The poll shows that support for cap-and-trade is also around 30 percent, although there is not widespread familiarity with the idea of setting a pollution ceiling and allowing companies to buy and sell emissions credits.


Proposals for a “market based” system such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade remain nonstarters in Congress.

The findings, then, suggest that public opinion may be aligned with what’s politically possible: executive actions that do not require congressional approval.

The Obama administration has already beefed up auto mileage standards and proposed carbon emissions standards for new power plants. But climate advocates want tougher steps, including the creation of carbon standards for existing plants.

Elsewhere, the Duke survey shows that 50 percent are convinced the climate is changing and that another 34 percent say climate change is "probably" happening.

“The survey shows strikingly high numbers of Americans accept that the climate is changing, but support for market-based approaches such as a carbon tax and a system of tradable emissions are not popular among survey respondents,” said Sarah Adair, a research associate at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, in a statement.

Polling shows that belief in climate change has been rising in recent years after dipping during the last decade.

A Pew Research Center poll released in October of 2012 showed that 67 percent of Americans say there is solid evidence of global warming.

That’s four points higher than in 2011 and 10 points higher than 2009, although it remains well below the 77 percent who held the view five years ago, according to Pew’s poll last year.

The overwhelming majority of scientists say that the planet is warming and the human activities, including the use of fossil fuels, are the primary driver.

The Duke poll was conducted via email in mid-January, and the margin of error for the 1,089 respondents was 3 percent, according to the university.