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Survey: Vast majority of Americans believe climate change is real — yet wouldn't pay even $10 a month to fight it


57 percent of respondents said they'd pay $1 per month to fight climate change

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

While seven in 10 American adults believe climate change is a reality, about that same percentage wouldn't pay even $10 per month to fight it, a recent survey found.

The results of the survey by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released this week showed 71 percent of respondents said climate change is happening while only 9 percent said it isn't; 19 percent are unsure. In addition, 72 percent of respondents said climate change is caused entirely or mostly by humans.

But when the prospect of spending money on fighting climate change entered the picture, the respondents sang a tune that some might find surprising.

While 57 percent of respondents said they'd pay $1 per month extra on their electric bills to fight climate change, the coalition of the willing diminished sharply when that amount increased to $10 per month, with only 28 percent of respondents on board with that fee.

Not surprisingly as the per-month price increased, the percentage of respondents willing to pay generally decreased. But the survey also found that while only 15 percent of respondents would be willing to pay $75 per month, 16 percent would pay $100 per month — a 1 percent increase to pay $25 more. Not too shabby.

Democrats 'consistently more inclined to pay a fee'

The survey found that "party identification and acceptance of climate change are the main correlates of whether or not people are willing to pay, with Democrats being consistently more inclined to pay a fee."

In addition, the numbers indicated — as in 2017 — that "no differences emerge based on educational attainment or living in a coastal state."

Finally, those "with household incomes of $100,000 or higher are more likely than those who are less affluent to support a monthly utility fee in order to combat climate change.".

The survey of 1,202 adults 18 years old and older was conducted online using landlines and cellphones from Nov. 14-19, 2018. Of the respondents, 50 percent identified as Democrats, 36 percent as Republicans, and 14 percent as independents, the survey added, noting the margin of error is +/- 3.9 percentage points.

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