As much as 67% of Americans might support a carbon tax, according to a new poll from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Why it matters: 98% of economists believe that the least expensive way to slow climate change is to put a price on carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system or tax. Although economists also suggest using revenues from carbon pricing to reduce income taxes — taxing a “bad” (carbon emissions) to reduce taxes on a “good” (income) — these poll results suggest voters prefer pairing carbon taxes with environmental spending.

Reality check: The politics of carbon pricing are challenging. Progressive Washington State has twice rejected referendums to put a price on carbon, at least partially because of aggressive advertising campaigns by fossil fuel companies and questions about how the money would be spent. Further, the American Clean Energy and Security Act failed to get a vote in the Senate in 2010, and the House of Representatives even passed a resolution last summer denouncing the idea of a carbon tax.

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Areas of Focus: Climate Change
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Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.
Public Opinion on Energy & Climate Change
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Public Opinion on Energy & Climate Change
How important is fighting climate change to the American public? An annual poll released with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research gives insight.