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Published May 14, 2012 07:36 AM

US consumers willing to pay 13% more to support a clean energy standard

The average US citizen is willing to pay 13 percent more for electricity in support of a national clean-energy standard (NCES), according to new research published by Yale and Harvard researchers. Americans, on average, are willing to pay $162 per year in higher electricity bills to support a national standard requiring that 80 percent of the energy be clean, or not derived from fossil fuels. Support was lower for a national standard among nonwhites, older individuals and Republicans.

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In addition, the results suggest that the Obama Administration's proposal for a national standard that would expand the definition of clean energy to include natural gas and would require 80 percent clean energy by 2035 could pass both chambers of Congress if it increased average electricity rates by no more than 5 percent.

Matthew Kotchen, a co-author of the study and associate professor of environmental economics and policy at Yale, said many observers believe that a national clean-energy standard as the only politically feasible alternative to a national energy-climate policy given the diminished prospect for passage of a national cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse-gas emissions and the relatively weak provisions of the EPA's proposed carbon pollution standard.

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