By Jeff McMahon

People who worry about human-caused climate change are willing to pay higher energy bills to help stop it, but only up to 5 percent higher, or about $5 on the average American energy bill, according to a Harvard political scientist who has conducted a comprehensive survey of attitudes toward energy and climate for the last 12 years.

Global warming is a huge problem for humanity that is foreseeable and possibly preventable, which makes it an excellent public policy problem to work on, “and a depressing one at the same time,” Harvard Government Professor Stephen Ansolabehere said during a December appearance at the University of Chicago.

“People are not willing to really put their dollars—even people who say they are concerned about global warming—are not willing to put their dollars where their hearts are,” Ansolabehere told a gathering of climate scientists, physicists, economists and public-policy experts at The Energy Policy Institute of Chicago (EPIC). The Institute’s director, economist Michael Greenstone, introduced Ansolabehere as “the leading energy political scientist in the world.”

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