How much would you pay?

July 8, 2009

What’s the real cost of global warming? More to the point, how much would you — the person reading this blog — be comfortable paying to stave off the worse ravages of climate change? A hundred bucks to keep the rising seas out of your back yard? A thousand to replenish mountain snowpack? Maybe a few dollars to put more trees back in the rainforest?

Luckily, there’s no shortage of estimates of how much each individual in the United States might have to pay to curb the greenhouse emissions that spur climate change. One particularly pertinent estimate was delivered on Capitol Hill by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at a Senate hearing geared to send the message that, yes, the United States Congress is getting serious about tackling the problem.

As Reuters’ Jasmin Melvin wrote in this story, Jackson said it would cost the average U.S. household about 50 cents a day to fight global warming, though wealthier households would probably pay more. Even if this cost doubled, Jackson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, that would only be a dollar a day. Who wouldn’t pay that?

Apparently a fair number of people, according to Sen. James Inhofe, who cited a July 1 poll showing the 56 percent of Americans are unwilling to pay anything.

So what would you be willing to pay? Is a dollar a day too much? And if you shouldn’t pay, should anyone?

Photo credit: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (Worker inspects U.S. dollar bills in Manila, December 15, 2008)


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If Senator Inhofe’s poll is correct than the problem rests with the American people not governmnet.

It is a shame that half of society is unwilling to sacrifice anything now so that posterity will actually have a tomorrow. But then we have put trillions of dollars of debt on our children and grandchildren. President Obama will sign a CO2 limit bill into law that puts the majority of the cost and associated reductions upon future generations as well. Is there nothing we are willing to pay for?

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Paying money to stop the completely natural rise in the world’s temperature???
Come on guys, can’t we see that this isn’t an issue that is caused by carbon dioxide???
Yes, I am all for being ‘green’, and using renewable energy and resources, and i see it as a massive shame that as a society, our technological advancements aren’t being allowed to thrive, and to let us see what we can really do!
However, the idea of us heating up the world, and then paying a carbon tax, directly to the Global Bank which our governments don’t even get a sniff of???
Wake up guys!

Posted by IronHammers | Report as abusive

I already pay. I drive a small, efficient car, and combine trips…a habit learned ages ago living in Europe, and kept it even in cheaper times in the U.S. just because saved trips means more free time.

I pay anyway. When gas wa $4 a gallon, I was putting gas in my car sandwiched between two useless guzzlers with 42 gallon tanks. Their driving up demand drove up the cost, and for my efficiency, I’ve been subsidizing others. Never mind those who are wasteful and shove a hidden socialist tax in my lap without thinking about it are the first to cry about anything that might take a dime out of their pocket.

I say do like in Europe, and pay as you go (instead of asking others to foot part of your bill). Charge for plates based on engine displacement and vehicle weight, and charge road tax according to weight of the vehicle and milage for the year.

While you’re at it, borrow from the military: Everybody gets a ration card for the lower rate, but when you use that up, you get to pay nose bleed prices for the rest.

If any have a problem with that, I suppose they could tell me to pay their loans, credit cards and even buy their groceries…all with a straight face.

Posted by Brian Foulkrod | Report as abusive

I would support a carbon or green tax of up to one percent of our taxable income. I also wouldn’t have a problem with the money going directly to a Global bank (to fund world wide projects). What I do insist on is that such a bank is closely monitored as I don’t want the funds to end up in the wrong pockets.

Posted by Daisy | Report as abusive

We’re getting the 1st warning shots about what we ALL will face very soon. Namely, an enviroment that will become out of control. Then we will all have to pay for FEMA trailers and food and water out of the back of trucks to feed ourselves and families. Who will pay then? There will be many to blame but when he or she is standing in line with us then who will left to blame? Famine, drought, war, disease is what we will face; and very soon. It’s too late. Store up for the coming storm…

Posted by Frank Castellano | Report as abusive

Pay?? who gets the money?? Billions have already been given to “objective??” scientific studies who strive for “consensus”??
First – Scientists are not all ethical
Second – for a billion dollars I could get scientific consesus that pigs really can fly.
Third – Computor climate models…brought to you by the same folks whose financial computor models brought you OTC derivatives, CDS and CDO’s. Worked well, didn’t it?
This hoax shall also pass only to be replaced by yet another fleecing from the scientific community in league with corrupt money hungry governments.
We are being lied to on a scale that boggles the mind.
History will look upon us and marvel how gullable and stupid we were.

Posted by dave | Report as abusive

I wouldn’t pay a dime. If I believed that global warming was real then I’d look into spending my money on more dirt/lead/and livestock. O and I’d throw in a horse drawn carriage as well. Paying the government to cool the globe is downright stupidity. Global warming is such a scam to tax the world and to control markets.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

US under George Bush administration did not even ratify Kyoto Treaty on a friendly environment. Now this greenhouse issue is ever more acute and policy shifts. I totally agree it is a government responsibility. The average household need to make choices not pay. Conserve the atmosphere has to be a co-ordinated effort among states not individual humans, as those who choose to pollute are far many more than those not, on a global scale. One can never pay up to stop this.

The oil giants of course, have another mindset.

Posted by Yamayoko | Report as abusive

Not one stinking dime for this hoax. Trillions to go to private banking institutions? Oh, and they’re not greedy at all. (sarcasm added). Tell me how can incompetent governments or should I say incompetent banks (who really run this country) be trusted to “fight” off global warming. Oh and I’m sure they’ll be closely monitored-yes with checks and balances-just like the federal reserve and the banking institutions who caused the financial crisis were closely monitored before. (deep sarcasm added). Yes, go ahead and be a fool for those who support a global warming tax, so that it will directly into the coffers of greedy institutions and will do nothing to fight your precious hoax. Just remember that Rupert Murdoch is now a believer in global warming and plans to fight it along with you “green” loving folks. When large corporations get on the bandwagon, something is definitely not right.

Posted by Mary | Report as abusive

What is astonishing to me is the complicit media — including Reuters — waxes poetic about man-made global warming, when the entire premise has gaping holes in it compared to the actual climate observations.

Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) postulates that human additions to C02 are increasing the greenhouse effects and raising the earth’s temperature. The FACTS are, in 158 years of recorded climate history, the earth’s temperature has risen a net of .06deg/C, and the net increase has occurred during two warming periods: 1910-1940 and 1975-2000.

The earth has cooled during other periods of massive human C02 output, including 1940-1975 and from 2000 to present. In FACT, the earth’s temperatures have warmed only 55 of the 158 years of recorded weather. If AGW were changing the climate, there would be no periods of cooling, and certainly no cooling that could be measured in decades.

AGW is a based on questionable science. The IPCC is a political body, not a scientific one, and their rules do not follow accepted scientific protocols. For example, they allow contributing scientists to peer-review their own contributions, flying in the face of the purpose of real scientific peer review.

In the end, this is about political control of economies. The tragedy of this initiative in the U.S. is we will end up destroying what is left of our industrial manufacturing base, while the rest of the world thumbs their nose at us and laughs during their industrial revolutions.

Posted by Jimmy Jingo | Report as abusive

I can’t believe how easy it is to fool Americans. The real intent is to get more money from the public.
With fake documents and a little PR spin by the media activist group eat this up. Besides, America is a drop in the bucket compared to Asia, China, and India.

Posted by B. Oboma | Report as abusive

MISTYPE – “the earth’s temperature has risen a net of .06deg/C,”

I meant to type “0.6deg/C”

Posted by Jimmy Jingo | Report as abusive

It is understandable that hard-working butchers, bakers, plumbers and carpenters don’t want to be taxed so that environmental activists can feel good about their new religion.

Posted by Steve Numero Uno | Report as abusive

Pay yet another tax means more money for the governments to plug holes in their sinking budgets. That will happen regardless of the climate issue on the agenda (more crises like this-one will set the priorities for the future anyway). No sane person would opt voluntarily for that. Besides the governments around the world can´t even agree on the rationale of the climate control (setting an ambitious distant-future target date doesn´t hurt anyone and supports the election agendas). So what´s the fuzz about. Pay-As-You-Go is a fine concept but let´s convince/incentivise the big poluters to have the rest of us any hope of making a difference.

Posted by Franz Kafka | Report as abusive

Not a single penny!!

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

I am in with Dave and Jason. Show me some raw, unaltered data that temperatures are rising (in an accessible point on the planet not on top of a mountain in a country with an unstable government, or at the poles, that nobody visits anyways, because it is too cold).

As far as the sea levels rising, the Keys would disappear and Florida would be underwater. It ain’t happening fellas, there is no global warming.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

I studied this issue in engineering school, of the active volcanoes in the world (of which there are 171 give or take, at any specific time), the eruptions produce more Co2 and So2 than man has since the Iron Age. To give that some perspective, since 1950 to the year 2000, human civilization has emitted 1/10th the output of 1 year’s volcanic activity, over a 50 year period!
I am all for reducing our carbon foot print, not for global warming, but because we are a civilization of waste. We need to make sure we all have a place to live for decades to come, if we do not teach our children to reduce their carbon foot-print, we lose an incredible opportunity for their children. That will cost this planet for millennia to come!
Enough of the scare tactics by the scientific community, enough of the thief’s in Washington and around the world trying to tax their way back into solvency, enough of the lobbying, ENOUGH!

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

[…] Self-centred short-sighted greed!… or something. It’s really funny that this article even exists. It spins some silly little facts and statistics to make it look like it’s our fault, you know, the public, that climate change continues. Apparently, climate change could be combatted at a cost of only $0.50-$1 a day. Admittedly, not that much, but for some people it’s not an amount they can afford. The article makes it sound almost unthinkable that a considerable number of Americans are unwilling to pay it. […]

Posted by On Spinning Indifference, Witch Positions, Public Transport and Gaming Demographics… « Through My Eyes | Report as abusive

As you suggest it is priceless and sadly time is running out.

Posted by Scott Power | Report as abusive