How do Americans think about energy? Is the debate over fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable energy highly partisan and ideological? David Konisky answers these questions & more in a discussion of his 2014 book, Cheap and Clean. November, 2015.
>> All right, I think we'll go ahead and get started. Thank you all for coming out on this chilly day. I'm Sarah Mills. I'm a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy. CLOSUP. That's here in the Ford School. I'm a lecturer in the program in the environment. First, I want to thank CLOSUP for sponsoring this, as well thank and acknowledge our cosponsors across campus. We have the Political Science Department program and the environment, the Climate Center, and the Energy Institute. So this was all made possible by them. This is a real special opportunity for CLOSUP, because in addition to hosting these kind of public events throughout the semester, we have two key research activities that center around public opinion or survey research and what it means for public policy, and so it's a delight to welcome to campus a fellow scholar who has looked at this, and it's particularly timely to have David Konisky here, not only because his book is recent, published just last year, but right now, as many of you know, states are trying to decide how they will comply with the federal government Clean Power Plan and which energy options will be part of that and so I look forward to hearing what the public has to say about that at least, which might inform, then, what their state governments decide to do. David Konisky is an associate Professor of, let's see, public and environmental affairs.
>> At Indiana University. His research focuses on American politics and policy, and his most recent book is an edited volume on environmental policies, and so I will turn it over to you. Thank you for being here.
>> Great, thank you, Sarah.
[ Applause ]
So it's wonderful to be here. Let me think again, Sarah for hosting and for Barry Rabe, who just walked in, for inviting me. It's a real great opportunity to be here and to share with you some of my research. In this project has been, sort of this book that came out last fall, is a culmination of a 10 year survey project trying to understand how the American public thinks about energy, and when we began this project back in 2002, we didn't actually know very much about this question. There had been some research going back historically about nuclear power, even before the Three Mile Island accident in the 1970, and a little bit on oil going back to the oil crises, but the really had not been much work trying to understand how Americans think about, or I sort of think about, the bread-and-butter of the energy generation, which is coal and natural gas in particular, and very little work looking across fuel sources, and that's what this project is trying to do. Let me also acknowledge my collaborator. Stephen Solberg here, who is out currently at Harvard. We began this project we were both at MIT some years ago. So let me give you, sort of a broad overview of findings, particularly in case I don't get through the entirety of the talk. I want you to at least have a sense of the sort of the main takeaways from our research. So the first thing, is you look broadly across the American public, it is pretty clear that Americans express a preference of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, particularly coal and oil. At the same time, there is also really strong majorities of the public that want to enhance or increase our use our use of renewables, especially solar and wind power. As I mentioned, this is a 10 year project, and a lot has been happening in the space over this 10 years, and what's remarkable about public opinion is that attitudes have remained really stable. So we find very similar results, whether the survey was done in 2002 or 2011, 2013. There's not a lot of shift in American preferences for energy sources, despite all the changes we've seen in the market, as well as in policy. So that's one key finding. A second key finding is one of the real goals of this project is to understand not just what people want but why they wanted, and as we're going to talk about, the two attributes that matter the most are how people view the local environmental harms associated with energy, as well as their perceptions of the different cost of different energy choices. But as you compare the weight of those two attributes, what matters the most are people's perceptions of local environmental harm, and it's about twice as much, sometimes three times as much as the perceptions of cost in terms of importance, and what's really interesting about this is that that weight that people attribute to environmental harm is the same across all energy sources, whether we're talking about renewables, whether we're talking about fossil fuels or even nuclear power. It's the perception of local term that matters the most. A little bit more so than perceptions of cost. A third key finding is that, you know, where is climate change in the story, right? It turns out that concern about global warming is not a principal driver of how people think about the energy choices they have or about their preferences. This had changed a little bit over the course of our study but by and large, global warming does not appear to be the driving force in explaining people who, "I don't want to increase the use of renewables or decrease the use of fossil fuels." And then the final point I'd like to make, I'll talk about and at the very end of the talk is about there is something about how Americans think about their energy choices and what drives their attitudes that also helps explain their preferences about climate policy, and it turns out that if you leverage their perceptions, if you connect their perceptions to policy, where this comes up, where this materializes in terms of the most support, is in terms of EPA regulation in terms of greenhouse gases, as opposed to other kinds of policy instruments you might think about such as a carbon tax or cap in trade, and I'll put that puzzle together for you towards the end of the talk. Okay, so that's just a broad overview. Let me begin with where we started. So back in 2003, MIT released a report called The Future of Nuclear Power. This was the first in a long series of reports that MIT has put together, which I highly recommend, which I've looked at the scientific, economic, and policy questions, associated with different energy sources, particularly focused on the electricity sector, and much of our research focuses on the electricity sector, as well, including everything I'll talk about today, and the thought experiment that this group of nuclear scientists and engineers were thinking about was if we face this global challenge and climate change, but what if we attempted to really expand our use of nuclear power, but in the United States and world wide? So there thought experiment was, let's imagine a world where we triple or quadruple the number of nuclear reactors across the world. So in the United States, we have about 100 or so active nuclear reactors. What if we tried to have 300 or 400 nuclear reactors, and, you know, these are nuclear engineers. They're thinking about the technical complexity of such a challenge, but they've got the foresight to think about the fact that historically, the American public has been resistant to expanding nuclear power, and the big part of the story as to why we have not had much expansion in that particular sector over the last few decades. So as part of this study, we did a public opinion poll, and we try to understand how Americans were thinking about nuclear power and other sources, and one of the things we found, which we found to be quite puzzling was that when you looked at people's concern about climate change it was uncorrelated with support for increasing power, right? So this climate change frame, right? Thinking about this huge challenge facing not just the United States but the world was going to insufficient, in essence, to motivate a large expansion of nuclear power, and what's interesting about this is a question that occurred to us was, well, is this, in particular, nuclear power or does climate change not seem to be driving people's attitudes across a variety of energy sources, and this was the impetus for our study, trying to think about not just the role about climate change, but if it isn't climate change, what other Factors Do Dr., Americans preferences for solar and wind or other fossil fuel resources such as coal and oil and natural gas. So this was the starting point, so what came of this was a 10 year plus survey project where we repeatedly conducted public opinion surveys, asking that the American public sort of a core set of questions about their energy preferences, and the key question, essentially, you know, driving the research is what future do Americans want? Thinking of them as consumers, as voters, and more importantly, perhaps, why they want one path as opposed to another. So what we did in the project, essentially, are three things. We measured attitudes. We then compared these attitudes across different fuel types. We asked about seven fuel types in particular, coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, hydropower, wind, and solar. So the seven principal ways in which we generate electricity in the United States, and then we wanted other asked the question, "What explains people's preferences?" Okay, why is it that some people want to increase natural gas while others want to decrease the use of nuclear power, et cetera? How does this then factor into their choices or their preferences about energy, and energy policy? And so that's just sort of a broad overview of what these projects were about. I'm not going to speak about the specifics of polling. I'm happy to do so in Q and A. I just want to sort of get straight to some of the key results. Okay, so the first question, "What do people want?" So to give you a little context, in part, because the world is changing. Here's where we were when we began our survey work, in terms of the composition of electricity generation across sources in the United States, right? So in 2002, coal represented about half. It was half of the electricity generation. Nuclear power, about 20%, and that's pretty much the same it is today. Natural gas is also about 20%, okay? Renewable were still, they're way down here, and they're pretty minor sources of electricity generation in 2002. Okay? So here's where we are today, and in fact, we went to 2015 to change a little bit more, but the big changes have been the declining use of coal. We're witnessing a historic decreased use of coal in the United States for electricity generation, and there are lots of factors associated with that. One of the factors is that we've had this huge boom in the natural gas, as I'm sure most of you are familiar with, because of fracking and other things. So natural gas is increasingly taking up a big portion of this, and in fact, during some portions of the year, over the last year or so, natural gas is actually exceeded coal in terms of its use for generating electricity. So natural gas is taking up a lot of that slack. Nuclear power has remained about the same, as a proportion of the overall, and we've had this big shift in the increase of renewables, right? Wind and solar, in particular, they're going very fast, but still, as a proportion of the overall portfolio, there still quite small, 5-6% I think now for wind. Solar power is still below 1%, even though its's the fastest growing source in the electricity sector. So this is what the world looks like, and essentially, what we're trying to do in this part of the research is to see if this is the future that Americans actually want and sort of match up, map on attitudes to sort of happening in the marketplace. Okay, so this survey question really forms the basis of the entirety of the book, right? We're trying to understand essentially what people want in terms of energy, and you can read the question to yourself, but in essence, were suggesting to the folks that we're going to need to build things, more power plants, and you have some voice in whether or not these are going to be natural gas or coal or wind, whatever the case may be, and we want to ask folks whether or not they want to increase or decrease the use of these different fuel types or keep things about the same, right? This is the basic preference question we asked the American public repeatedly as part of our surveys. So here's what we find. I'll focus first on fossil fuels. Hopefully, these colors you can see, they project okay. What you're looking at are five different surveys conducted different years, from 2002 to 2013. If we focus on coal first, what you see is that there's a strong majority of the public that wants to decrease the use of coal, and it's pretty stable over the course of the surveys, right? Fifty/60% suggesting they want to reduce coal use or not use it at all for generating electricity. Whereas only about maybe 1/4 at most of the public, oftentimes, closer to 1/5 would like to see us increase the use of coal as a source for generating electricity. Okay, if you move all the way over to your right and look at the graph for oil, the first thing to know is we really don't use much oil for electricity generation, about 1%, but when we asked out this question, you see there's not much support for changing that. In fact, there's support for decreasing the use of oil. People tend to get this a little bit wrong. They tend to inflate the amount of oil were using in the electricity sector. So what a lot of this reflects, we think, are sort of their views on oil as a transportation fuel more than anything else, but in terms of their preferences, you see very few people want to see an increased use of oil across these five different surveys. Natural gas is really interesting, because the public is I don't want to say ambivalent, but they're generally positive towards the use of natural gas. There is some segment of the population that would like to see us use less of it. That actually has been shrinking in recent years, but there's a growing percentage of the public that's quite happy with the amount of natural gas that we're using or would like to see us use more of it into the future. Okay, so those are the fossil fuels. Let me turn next to some of the other fuels that we asked about. If you look at solar and wind, right, you're seeing really big green, right, to contrast it with these other graphs, right? What this reflects is a preference expressed by the American public around the order of 75 to 80% of wanting to see renewables enhanced. This is a very strong majority. It's reflected in other survey work done by others. Americans are very enthusiastic about solar and wind power. Hydropower actually looks quite similar, not quite as strong, but 65-70% wanting to increase the use of hydropower, even though we're not doing much new hydropower, if any, in this country. I think, as importantly, for the other side of that equation, very few people express a preference to using less, right? So there's not much fight or opposition to the expansion of renewables. Nuclear power is probably the most interesting case because it evokes, for some there's really strong support for increasing nuclear power. There's also equally strong opposition to increasing nuclear power. So the opinion here is quite polarized, and it reflects sort of the historical tension over the use of nuclear power. Some people are quite divided on this. Okay, so this is just sort of the overall story regarding people's preferences. So to sort of step back and give you some brought observations. People clearly want more wind and solar, perhaps less coal, oil, and nuclear power. Natural gas is somewhere in the middle. Preferences pretty stable over time. So if you think back to those graphs, generally, the lines are pretty much straight. There's not much shift. There's some in the later years, but not much. And interestingly, and this is not really reflected in those graphs, but I can sort of point out from another analysis we did as part of the book, is that there are very few people who we might consider to be pure conservationists, who express a preference of wanting to reduce the use of all energy sources, okay? At the same time, there are very knew people who we would characterize as being supporters of all of the above. All of the above is sort of the catchphrase that President Obama has use over the last few years, at least, to talk about his energy policy, and there are very few people that actually express a preference for increasing everything, and what this suggests to us is that people are actually making choices here. They do have preferences across energy choices. They're not just filling out a survey question and hitting increase, increase, increase, which is something, as a survey researcher, you worry about. So people actually have preferences here. They're making distinctions across these energy sources. So what this suggests to us and what the question you next to should be asking is why is this? What is it about the energy choice? What is driving how people think about these set of issues. Okay, so let me turn to that next. So why do people want what they want? Or our catch phrase is why do people love solar and he coal? Okay, so what we developed in the book is the idea that you think about energy preferences through a certain framework of what we're calling a consumer model, which is to say, people don't inherently like or dislike a fuel type. People don't love solar because it's solar or love wind because it's wind. They don't dislike coal because it's coal. Okay, this is the fuel source itself. It is the attributes of these energy sources that matter. So let me say more about that. So it's like any other product on the market place. There are things about products that people want, and in the case of energy, there are two attributes which we have identified as being the most important. It's the perception of environmental harms that people attribute to different kinds of energy use, as well as their perceptions of the cost of these energy sources. Okay, you can think about these in terms of economic costs or social costs in the case of environmental harms. So these two factors mater the most. So if you look at this graph, just let me explain, this is looking at those two attributes across the different energy sources that we asked our questions about. Everything is pegged towards existing coal. So having your head in existing coal-fired power plant, okay? And you can measure what we call social cost, which you can think about is the environmental harms associated with burning or creating electricity from one of these fuel sources. So relative to existing coal, everything else is cleaner. Everything else has less social cost. That's why everything is to the left of coal here, okay? At the same time, all other energy sources, at least when we began. These numbers are from 2012, put together by Michael Greenstone. He's an economist at University of Chicago. All other energy sources were more expensive in terms of the cost, and here we're measuring something called levelized which you can think about as sort of the cost of bringing a new power source online if we were to begin planning today. So it's everything to the inputs to the concrete to the labor that goes into building a power plant or a large energy provider. Okay, so what this reflects is that there's a trade-off, right? In the current marketplace, we don't have fuels that are both cheap and clean, right? We have fuels that are either inexpensive and dirty (Think of coal), or we have fuels that are clinging but expensive. Think of renewables, right? So in the short term, we have, there's a trade off, and people are essentially weighing this trade-off. They're thinking about these attributes when they're making choices or expressing preferences about energy use. In the long run, because of technology, we may get to a place where particular fuels are both cheap and clean, right? And that can be by making dirty fuels cleaner, right? Think carbon capture and storage for coal. Or it can be by driving the cost curve down even more so than we seen already for solar power and wind and things of that nature, okay? But the idea here is that there's a technology trade off in the short term, and we want to see if this kind of framework maps onto people's attitudes and explains their energy choices. Okay, so we ask. We asked people to express their perceptions of the harms associated with different energy sources, okay? In the way the questions are phrased, we're tapping into, here their perceptions of the local environmental harm that comes from generating electricity from the sources, okay? So in particular, you want to think about something like coal, people are thinking about air pollution, be it particulates or sulfur dioxide and nox that create ozone, things of that nature. Perhaps mercury and toxics, and they're thinking about the health impacts that come from exposure, right? So think about asthma or respiratory ailments, things of that nature, okay? So we asked people to express a preference about the harms the attribute to these different energy sources. The way the graphs aligned, if you will think things are presenting no harm, those get higher values on this graph, right? So not surprisingly, to start, over here renewables do fairly well on this measure. People recognize that, generally, electricity from wind and solar power don't generate the kind of health burdens, the kind of local environmental impacts, that fossil fuels do, okay? Fossil fuels are over on the side, and people sort of get their general ranking correct across coal, oil, and natural gas. They recognize that generating electricity from natural gas produces less environmental impact than generating electricity from coal or oil. Nuclear power tends to be viewed as the most harmful. Of course, the impacts here are a little bit different. What people are thinking about when they consider nuclear power are the hazardous waste questions and how you store the long-term hazardous waste, as well as the potential for a catastrophic accident of some kind. People tend to over inflate the probability of an accident and a nuclear power plant, but they worry about that a lot because of the dread associated with it. So people worry quite a bit about nuclear power, although for different reasons. So what you see here is people's perceptions of harm. They're measured in these different surveys. They're pretty similar across the surveys. So again, some indication that things are pretty stable. So let me show you the same graph for people's perceptions of cost, and this is pretty interesting. So people look at what you might call traditional fuels, coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, and they generally get the perceptions of cost right for these fuel sources. They recognize that coal and natural gas are fairly inexpensive, relative to oil I should say. They recognize that nuclear power is little bit more expensive, but what's really interesting about this is how people view the cost of renewables, right? People tend to underestimate the cost of renewable energy. Perhaps because the sun is shining, it's free. The wind blows, we don't have to pay for it. They are thinking about the input cost, right? Not recognizing the other challenges that come with generating these ways of electricity, and, of course, the world here has changed quite a bit, right? So the cost of generating electricity from these sources has come down quite a bit since we started this, but, you know, go back to 2002. Solar power was probably in the order of 50 times more expensive than coal in 2002. Yet people are expressing the perception that this is really inexpensive. All right, so they're getting this part of the story little bit incorrect. Okay, so, pulling back. Some big observations, things I want you to remember. So people have the relative harms about right. In terms of a rank ordering, the best we can view in terms of how they're viewing local environmental impacts, people have those about correct. In terms of cost, things are generally right with the exception of renewables. People tend to underestimate the price of providing electricity from solar and wind in particular. So this is important. I want to sort of put this into your head right now. I'll come back to it a little bit later, and the idea here is that if we were to correct people's misperceptions about the cost of renewables, this would have the application of potentially lowering their support for renewables if our framework is right. So if people are thinking about attributes, and that's a driver in their attitudes, and they're assuming that renewables are less expensive than they are, if you correct that, that may actually result in a reduction in support of renewable power, okay? And I'll show you some evidence for specifically on that point in a little bit, but this is the implication of this framework, right? If attributes matter, if you change information or you cut information, their misperceptions in the attitudes, this can make a difference. It's going to matter less in the case of harm, to the extent the people are already getting this right. Okay? Okay, so I described to you what people want from the attributes. The next question is how much do these attributes matter? How do people relate the perceptions of these attributes with their preferences for energy? Okay, so our goal in this part of the analysis is to estimate what we call the weights, what we think about is the importance of these attributes in explaining people's opinions about energy use. So just how important are costs and harms? How do they compare to other factors, right? Particularly things like political ideology or partisan ID, which have been shown throughout [inaudible] policy to be really important drivers of attitudes. How do things like education and income or where you live factor into people's energy choices. There are a whole set of other factors which might actually predict people's preferences for energy across these fuel sources. So we pursue two strategies for understanding this question. The first is pretty simple multiple progression. So statistical analysis, and the second part is we include experiments in our surveys, all right, where we can manipulate the information people are getting before the answer questions on these particular attributes to sort of see if you can move public opinion. I'm just going to briefly talk about some of the evidence from each of these two different approaches that we will discuss in much more detail as part of the book. Okay, so let me start with the simple regression model, and I'm trying to explain this intuitively, setting the math aside, but essentially, what we're setting up here is we're trying to explain why here, which is an individual's preference for increasing or decreasing the use of one of those seven fuels in one of our surveys, okay? And we argue that this is a function of their perceptions of environmental harm, their perceptions of economic costs, and a whole bunch of other stuff, including their concern about climate change, whether or not they're Republican or Democrat, whether or not they are liberal or conservative, if they live in California or Florida, depending on the college education, they're income, gender, all those kinds of things, okay? So what we can do from this is first compare coefficients on harm and cost to get a sense of just how important are these attributes in people's assessments of what kind of fuel they want to use. All right? So the size of the coefficient of B and C in this model will tell us that. We can then compare the importance of harm and cost across fuels, right? So it could be possible that people are putting more weight on harms, let's say for coal, less so on renewables. Or it's possible they could be similar across fuel types. Same thing for cost, and then finally, we can get a sense of the total effect of these two attributes, compared other factors. So, perhaps we find, you know statistically significant effects, but they are small in terms of explaining the overall variation in preferences, and what matters the most is if you're a Republican or Democrat or if you have a high education or low education, high income/low income things like that. So that's the nature of the analysis. So what let me show you one set of results on this, and this takes a little bit of explanation. So what you're looking at, in essence, in each year is a separate statistical model that's estimating those weights of an environmental harm, an economic cost, as well as concern over climate change or global warming, okay? And we do this separately for each of the different energy sources we asked about. I'm showing you for on the graph here. So one more piece of context, the way these variables are measured for harms and costs, higher value suggest they are, that a fuel source is less harmful or more inexpensive, less expensive, okay? So what does the show? If you look at the top left and look at the coal graph first, what this is basically showing is that if you view coal to be less harmful, not surprisingly, you want to increase its use. If you view the cost of coal to be particularly less expensive, then you want to see its use increased, as well. Okay? Global warming is measured in the opposite way. So if you're more concerned about global warming, you may, theoretically, at least, think that you'd want to use coal less, which is why that line is generally negative, okay? So what can you pull away from these kinds of graphs? The first thing to note is that harm has a larger weight than cost, right? So that coefficient, that B, those Bs and Cs that I showed you on the last slide. The weight of harm is about 2 to 3 times more important than the weight of cost. They both matter, but people, when they're making their assessments about energy, they're putting more weight about their perceptions of local environmental of energy source impacts of energy source, in this case coal, much more so than cost. In terms of climate change, if you look in the early years, this is essentially around zero, which you can interpret as being uncorrelated. Meaning, the more you're concerned about climate change did not have an independent effect on your wanting to increase or decrease the use of coal. Very similar to the finding I showed you the beginning of the talk on nuclear power. That begins to change a little bit as we go through our surveys, but still, the overall weight of climate change, while close to the perception of cost, is much less important than perception of local environmental harms, okay? So what this essentially means is that what's driving people's preferences about coal use is not concerned about climate change but concerns about local environmental impacts, and that concern about local environmental impacts has a weight of about two or three times more than their worry about cost of utilizing that energy source. So I'm not to go through all of these, but if you, you know, nuclear shows a very similar pattern, right? Harms matter more. Climate change matters not much at all. In fact, this is hovering around zero for the entirety of our surveys. Something similar for natural gas. A little bit less distinction between harms and costs, but harms are still always more important than costs, and something similar for solar, although things begin to converge in our latest survey. The one exception I do want to highlight is that for solar power, and when looks very similar, climate change is playing a little bit more of an important factor. So people who are particularly worried about global warming or climate change, that is the relatively important factor in explaining their wanting to increase the use of solar power and wind power. And it's almost, not quite, close to being on par with their concerns about local environmental impacts. Okay, hopefully that was clear. So I just showed you a bunch of correlations, right? A Cisco analysis correlation that people's concern about attributes are correlated with their preferences for different kinds of energy use. The next question is whether or not this is causal, right? Whether or not we're getting the direction of the effect correct, and this is where survey experiments can help, right? One way to think about this is can you move people's preferences on energy by giving them information about prices, about pollution, about climate change? So if our story is right in our framework is right, we should be able to move people, right? We should be able to give them information that shifts their understanding of these attributes, and that should that affect how they value, how much they prefer different kinds of energy. So do this, and almost all of our surveys, we included what is known as framing experiments. You provide some portion of your sample information, and you compare that to part of your sample that's a control group, that gets no information. So it's very much similar to a laboratory experiment, just in a survey context. So I'm just going to show you one survey experiment that we did. We did many, but this is one that's pretty indicative of the kind of things that we did. So, in essence what we do is we provide information to the survey respondents prior to the question that I showed you at the beginning of the talk on their preferences of different energy use, for increasing or decreasing the use of energy. Some portion of the survey sample is a control. They get no information, and in fact, everything I showed you to this point are results from a control group that received no information about prices or pollution or climate change or anything else, right? They're just responding to the survey question as you saw it about 20 minutes ago, but then what we do is we divide part of the survey into these different groups. We give them different treatments. In this particular survey experiment, we're only manipulating cost. We're providing the survey respondent information about the cost of generating electricity from different sources, and because the survey was particularly focused on nuclear power, we actually had to treatments on the cost for nuclear power. So this is what survey respondents saw, at least those who were not in the control group. They're told that IEA is a leading source of information on energy resources, and they estimated the cost of generating electricity from these different sources, and then the first treatment group receives this information, as you see it without the red. I'm just highlighting the red because we changed the nuclear power information. So we align information on the cost of generating electricity from these different sources, and clearly, here, we're telling them that coal and natural gas are less expensive, or the least expensive, less expensive the nuclear power or oil, and renewables are quite expensive, okay? Again, these numbers have changed quite a bit, so don't get hung up on the particular numbers. This is also 2007, before we've seen sort of the really declining cost and solar power in particular, as well as the declining cost of natural gas. What's most important is sort of getting a sense of the rank ordering and what people are being told about these energy sources, this is information that was about right when the survey was conducted in 2007, and then the second treatment gets the same set of information. The only change nuclear power, right? So if our framework is correct, what we might imagine happening here is across these two treatments, people who get this information should be more enthusiastic about nuclear power than people who get this information, right? As well, people who get this treatment compared to the control may be more enthusiastic about fossil fuels and less enthusiastic about renewables, because we're giving them information about the cost of these different ways of generating electricity. Okay, so here's what we find. So just to orient you, this is the control group. What these numbers reflect is a sort of a score on our scale of energy preferences. Whereas zero, the bottom of the scale, is people who want to see us not use this energy source at all, and the highest value of five, it's a six-point scale, would want to see us increase that energy source a lot. So what you're seeing in the control group reflects what I've already showed you, right? People are really enthusiastic about renewables, solar, wind, and hydro. A little bit less so for coal and oil, and natural gas is somewhere in the middle, and nuclear power somewhere in the middle, as well. Okay? So everything but nuclear power, I combined the results for those two treatments, because they got the same information and there's really no difference between the two treatments. But let me show you what happens here. So if for coal, given the fact that you are presented with price information on coal, what you see is if there's an increase in support for utilizing coal of utilizing coal of about half a point of our scale, which in survey world is a pretty big effect. So it's a pretty big jump in people's preferences given this pretty modest treatment about what the price is of coal relative to other energy sources. Similarly, you see jumps in support, although not quite as big, for natural gas, as well as for oil. But then look down at the renewables here, and you'll see that we find pretty big effects, but their negative, right? So when people are told that renewables are more expensive, it decreases their enthusiasm. It decreases the amount of support they have for utilizing these energy sources, and then finally, for nuclear power, we recall we had two treatments. This was $150 per month. This was $100 per month. Relative to the control, you see an increase in support for nuclear power, as well, consistent with that information. So what we do here and what we do another survey experiments is manipulate this information about cost or climate change or local pollution to get a sense of whether or not these attributes are sort of causatively prior. They're actually determining people's attitudes about energy, and we're convinced that they do. Okay, so let me pull back one more time, to sort of summarize this part of the talk. So people give more weight to harms than costs, local environmental harms, about 2 to 3 times. Harms matter more than costs for all fuels, right? So this framework about harms and costs works across these different fuel types. So you're talking about wind or solar or nuclear or coal. The same basic story holds. What I didn't show you but I want to sort of get back to you is sort of the overall importance of these attributes. So it turns out that just knowing how people perceive harms and costs explains about 80% of the explained variance of energy choices, which basically means that other factors that I haven't shown you don't matter very much. Party does not matter very much. It's really hard to find any issue in public policy where party is not a driving factor, okay? Political ideology is not mattering. Where you live is not mattering very much. Education/income, they matter on the margins, but we can explain people's preferences, at least 80% of their preferences, simply by knowing if they perceive a fuel choice to be harmful to the environment or costly or vice versa. So these attributes really do a lot of the heavy work of explaining people's attitudes, and finally, the point emphasizes that climate change is, at best, secondary, right? People worrying about climate change is not driving their energy choices, at least as they express them in a survey. In some cases, they're completely uncorrelated with energy choices, although this has begun to change a little bit in our later years. Okay, how am I doing on time?
>> You're good.
>> Okay, so let me conclude by talking about policy implications, what this all means. We're very interested in what this all means for climate change. That is sort of the policy and political question at stake here, and frankly, when we got through this part of the analysis, we were a little distressed, a little concerned, right? Because one of the key findings here is that people's concern, people worry about climate change is not influencing how they want to see sort of the electricity center allocated across sources. And electricity, certainly, is not the only contributor to greenhouse gases, but it's a very large one, and one that has to be reckoned with if we're going to address both domestic and international emissions. So again, just to summarize our distress, I guess, you know, concern about climate change is not a driving factor in people's energy choices. An analysis that I didn't show you but we also do in the book is that when you ask people about their climate change preferences, people, for example, express a very low willingness to pay to address climate change. So if you ask them, we sort of did a sort [inaudible] experimentals while other survey approaches, how much they're willing to pay to address climate change, half the public is willing to pay nothing. Another 20% may be to pay $5 extra per month on their electricity bill, maybe $10. Nothing at the scale that we're probably talking about to make the kind of transition to de-carbonize the electricity sector. People's willingness to pay for climate change is really low. It also turns out that, as you probably already know, climate change is not a highly salient issue for most of the public. So places like Gallup asks every month the most important problem question, as we talk about it in the survey world. They ask people to volunteer the most important problem facing the country, and they tend to say the economy or healthcare. Today it would probably be terrorism, right? Climate change, energy, environment, generally registers about 1%. Sometimes 2%, 2% if oil prices are really high, in essence, right? Climate change is not a factor that's on top of people's minds. Also asking people what's most important to them in terms of environmental issues, and Gallup has been doing this for about 20 years. Climate change generally ranks at the very bottom. When people express their level of concern for different environmental problems, climate change is pretty much at the very bottom. At the top are things like air quality, water quality, pollution in rivers and streams, drinking water quality, things like that, right? So you put this together with our survey results, it leaves you thinking and worried about, well, how do we move forward towards changing the energy sector if climate change is not such an important factor in how people think about this? And, a final point to make, and this comes out of the survey experiments is that education may actually be counterproductive. I don't want to take that too far. So don't quote me if there's any media in the room. Which is to say that if you were to correct some of the misperceptions people have about energy, it may not actually lead you to more support for renewables in particular if people are getting the cost wrong, right? So that is something we have to sort of bear in mind. That just beating people over the head with more information may not be sufficient for a change. Okay, so how do we get out of this box? So if we think broadly about policies that are out there to deal with greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector, there are three that we commonly talk about. The first are some sort of regulation of emissions. We think about it as regulatory caps, right? This, in essence, is what the clean power plant is, right? The EPA is telling states that we're going to capture greenhouse gas emissions at such a level, and we're going to allow you to figure out a way to reach those limits. You can look at state, when we look at portfolio standards or other clean energy mandates in a similar way. More indirect, but the idea here is that we're going to change emissions through some sort of regulatory mandate, okay? That's one set of policies that we have out there. A second set of policies, of course, is cap-and-trade, and five years ago everyone expected cap-and-trade at the national level was going to be the way we pursued this problem, right? It was the central police of the legislation that made it through the U.S. House but not the Senate in 2009/2010. So, in essence, cap-and-trade is regulation, a regulatory cap, along with trade allowances, right? So you're allowing regulated sources to buy and sell permits in a way to reduce the cost, overall cost, to society of reaching these admissions gains, right? Everyone agrees this is a more efficient approach than regulation itself. So we have regulation, we have cap-and-trade, then, of course is the Carbon Tax, and if you ask pretty much any economist, they'll tell you that this is the preferred policy instrument, right? You can imagine this being both a usage tax or a production tax, and everyone agrees that is more efficient than a regulatory cap, and people generally agree that it would be easier to implement than a cap-and-trade system, okay? So generally speaking, these are the three policies people talk about in the climate area, at least in terms of electricity generation. So what do we know about public support for these policies? And what we did essentially was grab a whole bunch of surveys, including some that Barry had done, to ask about people's climate policy preferences, and we tried to come up with sort of a rough average of people's support for these different areas of climate policy, and what you find is the following. You find really large, substantial support for regulation, right? For the EPA taking direct action to regulate carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions, okay? Seventy-five to 80% in some surveys. You find support for cap-and-trade to be a little bit less resound. Some surveys you find bare majorities of support. Others, bare majorities of opposition, right? And people generally, you know, you don't have strong support one where the other. It's just sort of there. Carbon Tax there's the most noise around this, and it's because people are less familiar with carbon taxes, and a lot depends on the level of the tax and how you might use the revenue, right? And survey questions are all over the map in terms of how they assess a tax, at what level, and what revenue might be used. So support ranges from very low, 25%. In some cases, you can get over 50, depending on how you talk about the revenue. All right, so revenue, people have talked about as her being a dividend back to taxpayers. They could be used to invest in clean energy, energy efficiency programs. It can be used to pay down the deficit. Lots of different ways you could bring that question, and that explains why there's so much variance around that policy. But the big picture is there's pretty large public support for regulation. That's the main point I want you to keep in mind. So it raises this puzzle, right? So why do Americans prefer what everyone agrees to be the least efficient, the worst way to go about reducing emissions from the electricity sector, right? If you are interested in efficiency, and probably simplicity, it would be a carbon tax, right? It would not be a clean power plan or anything akin to a clean power plan, like we're seeing now, but Americans really want something like the clean power plan, or more generally, regulation on carbon. So it's a bit of a puzzle, and this brings us back to the research that we did in our findings, right? So it turns out that people see a direct link or connection between those attributes or how they view energy but I talked about. Local environmental impacts, perceptions of cost, but particularly local environmental harms with EPA regulation. They are making a connection. They believe that through EPA regulation, you're actually going to achieve something beyond climate policy. You're going to generate these dividends in terms of reducing the local environmental impacts that they care most about. Moreover, they don't see these dividends, these co-benefits alongside carbon taxes or cap-and-trade. In other words, people view EPA regulation as environmental policy, and people like environmental policy in this country. They view these other instruments of climate policy, and people are either divided on climate policy or don't know what climate policy is, right? And I'm going to show you some evidence of this, but in essence, the regulatory approach to people favor is because they're a little bit more comfortable with it, and they view it as producing things that they care about, and they don't see other climate approaches is doing the same thing. So let me show you evidence of this. So what you're looking at here is a graphic that is trying to explain public support across these three different policy instruments. A regulatory cap, a cap-and-trade system, or a carbon tax, and the very bottom here is looking at just the factor, that dark gray, of people's climate change concern. So just knowing how concerned people are about climate change or global warming explains some of the overall support for these energy sources, and what you see is people who are most concerned about climate change, it generates quite a bit of support for cap-and-trade, about the same support as a regulatory cap. So in essence just knowing a climate concern, it puts the cap on the cap-and-trade on par with each other. Carbon tax less so. Just being concerned about climate change is not strongly correlate with wanting a carbon tax, okay? What's really interesting is when you add on perceptions of those normal attributes, or those energy attributes that I've been talking about throughout the morning. When you add on perceptions of the environmental harms of traditional fuels, the cost of traditional fuels, as well as alternatives, what you see is that you can explain or you can generate, if you will, high levels of predicted support for a regulatory cap, right? So this is all done through Cisco-Miley, which I won't go into, but you get to a point where just knowing about once concern about climate change also knowing these concerns about attributes of energy generates about 80% support for a regulatory cap, but those same factors to generate an equivalent amount of support in cap-and-trade or a carbon tax, right? So in essence, they help a little bit, particularly the local environmental harms, which is associated here with traditional fuels, but they don't generate the same amount of overall support for these climate policies. So point here is that people are making a linkage in terms of regulation and the environmental harms associated with these energy choices, and they see that as being part of the cap and not part of these cap-and-trade and carbon tax policies. Okay, so what does this mean for its applicable implications? So to take home points and then I'm going to stop and open it up for discussion. Concern about climate change is not enough to deal with climate change, at least in this country, okay? Even though the majority of the public in most surveys that you have seen, including the stuff that we have done, just because a majority expresses concern about climate change does not mean a majority is going to favor a particular policy approach to climate change, okay? This may explain why we have had, you know, large support in this country for concern about climate change for a long time. We have yet to see, at least to Congress, that is responsive in terms of passing national legislation, but the good news is there's another way, another path, if you will, towards getting towards climate policy. Actually, there are multiple piles. The one that we focus the most on and we think there is a lot of promise for is to address climate change by pursuing policies that are at least less explicitly about climate. Okay? So one example would be regulating the co-pollutants of carbon dioxide that come out of coal-fired power plants in particular, right? So if you regulate mercury or if you regulate particulate matter, you're going to drive up the cost of deriving electricity from coal. You're going to drive coal out of the market. You can get cleaner sources, and as a derivative, you're going to get less carbon, right? The policy itself is not explicitly target carbon dioxide, but you get same benefit, right? So that's one important strategy, and frankly, it's one you've seen this current administration pursue, and while EPA does not talk about climate change when they're advocating, let's say, the toxics rule for mercury or tightening the ozone standard, which they did just in the past couple of months, if you talk to people inside the administration, they will often tell you this is part of a larger strategy to deal with climate change. This is all about making coal more expensive, and allowing alternatives, natural gas and renewables to enter the marketplace on a more cost-competitive basis. The other important dimension is in terms of communication strategies, right? So rather than talk more and more about climate change, which frankly is what the environmental movement has done for the last two decades, right? If we could just convince people that's going to be really, really bad. Temperatures are going to get really hot. We're going to have really bad, extreme weather. That's going to convince them that they're going to push their policymakers to make changes in policy. The implications of our study is that may not be very effective. In fact, it hasn't been very effective over the course of the last couple of decades. If instead, you talk about clean energy and dirty energy, and you have in your mind is attributes that really push people's attitudes on energy, you're likely to make more progress, particularly if you push on the local environmental impact, which people care about, and just one anecdote on this. I'll say this in conclusion. Some of you may be familiar with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, which has been very effective in leading to the retirement of coal-fired power plants. They take a lot of credit for this. Natural gas as part of the story, as is EPA regulation, but we've had in this country about, I think, over 250 now, coal-fired power plants retired in the past five or six years. If you look at the messaging of the Sierra Club around the retirement of these power plants, it's really not about climate change. They're talking about asthma, particularly in kids. They're talking about other respiratory ailments that come along with burning coal. They're talking about toxics. They are not talking about climate change, because they know it also has not been a very effective strategy, right? They care about climate change. They care about asthma too, right? They care about local environmental pollution, but fundamentally, they care about climate change, and that's what the Beyond Coal Campaign is about. But they've adjusted their medication strategy in a way where they're speaking less and less about climate change, and I think we're seeing the same thing, we'll see the same thing materialize with respect to implementation of the EPA's Clean Power Plan. When states go about trying to change their electricity sector, they're going to be talking more about energy attributes and clean and dirty energy, as opposed to climate change. I think I'll leave it there, thank you.
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>> Thank you very, very much. Given us last to think about and talk about and hopefully discuss, and we have 25 minutes to do that. So I'll open it up. Just so you know, there's a boom microphone here. So as long as you talk so that we can hear you, should be able to be picked up. All right, so, go ahead.
>> It seems like the local farms is a big piece of the picture. I don't know if you collected data that sort of allowed us to look at this, or if you have just any thoughts. But I'm curious as to whether you have any sense of people's concerns being related to actual locations. Like, where they actually are living and how much, you know, [inaudible] are in their area or [inaudible], and is it kind of like their real, perceived, like, I am concerned about the power plant down the road, or is it a more abstract concern about local pollution that might occur around [inaudible]?
>> Yeah, so that's a great question. So we don't directly look at -- so the basis for our analysis is people's perceptions of these harms or costs, and, you know, people obviously have different experiences and their perceptions may be based on local realities or maybe based on their just general knowledge about the sector, right? But one could sort of, you know, dive down into particular communities and sort of see if things are more salient, I guess, but we haven't done that. There's some research that looks at sort of these more localized effects, particularly around wind and nuclear power, and sometimes you get results which may be counter intuitive. So, for example, on nuclear power, people who tend to be the most supportive of nuclear power are people who live closest to nuclear power plants. Despite what I sort of showed you, right? And it goes to the fact that generally speaking, unless mishandled, we can handle the hazardous waste problem with nuclear power, and the probability of an accident is actually pretty low, and people who live near these plants understand that a lot better than let's say people who are thinking the abstract. So we don't have direct evidence to that, and our interest is more assertive these national surveys, but there is some evidence that those can work in different directions, I guess. Yeah.
>> Another question. Go ahead.
>> Yeah, thanks so much for sharing this great research. So I was actually optimistic with all the results you showed about how the harms matter more and people love renewables and all that stuff, and I'd actually worked a lot on the Beyond Coal Campaign in Indianapolis that shut down the Harding Street plant there, and, of course, that plants being replaced with natural gas, just like all of the coal plants are, and so that's where a more pessimistic, and I'm wondering, you know, you talked about the stability of your results, but that would seem to be the area where there's the most movement is growing, people who want more natural gas increasing over time and may be consistent with your model, it seemed like people thought that the costs were going down and the harms we're going down somehow, and so I'm wondering what you thought about that, and if there's something behind those changes. Maybe that takes you outside of your data, but just why people think harms are going down, and if that's just because people have natural gas or what it might be.
>> Right. So actually drove by that Harding plant on my way up, yeah, yesterday. So going back to the conceptual framework, right? So if what matters are local environmental harms and secondarily perception of costs in particular, right? So one thing that we've seen over the past decade is that the cost of natural gas has come down significantly, right? Particularly compared to when we started this in 2002, which is pre-fracking, the shale gas revolution, we use that term, right? So people are beginning to understand that and it factors into their preferences, right, which actually increases the weight people put on it because I think it's more salient, because it's more in their face. They're learning about it as we speak. They're probably also learning about, at least, comparing natural gas to coal, right? And, you know, whatever you think about natural gas, as compared to coal, it's a cleaner way of generating electricity. I think the concerns people have is that the natural gas boom is crowding out renewables, right? And that's not something we directly get to. You can only indirectly get to it. So, you know, that's sort of a longer-term question, but if the framework is right, and what matters are perceptions or harms, I think people understand natural gas already. So you're not going to get much more bang for your buck in terms of changing people's impressions of the harms, but the cost, that's what's changing, and that's going to bump up support for natural gas, which leads to them replacing it with natural gas as opposed to just a full-out retirement, right? Yeah.
>> Thanks again for coming out. It's really interesting. I was curious in terms of sort of the mechanisms of the survey. When you have sort of the hypothetical scenarios where people seem to be more concerned with harm than cost, how do you transition into something that sort of solidifies that cost more with a carbon tax, and you pitch it to, you know, whoever is taking the survey as forcing them to internalize the cost of the harm at that point? How do you differentiate between sort of aversion to that sort of internalization of the harm, versus, you know, aversion to the framing of climate policy? How do you sort of hone in on that was the key sticking point for those people versus the fact that they were now being asked to sort of visualize the cost in a way that they were going to pay for it?
>> It's a good question. So we, I think this in part explains why there's a lot of variance around survey work on carbon taxes, because a lot depends on how direct you make the cost to people, right? So, and stuff I didn't show you, we did a bunch of survey experiments where we made the cost much more direct on people by either increasing the cost of gasoline, which is the way most people directly consume energy. They know more about the gasoline prices than they do even their own electricity bills, for example, but also their electricity bill. So actually, the prices people pay, and people, like you say, are not very enthusiastic about paying more for any of those things, right? So there, the cost is being directly shown to them, demonstrated, as opposed to some of the work we did and others have done on carbon tax. When you talk about that revenue either being given back to consumers through some sort of tax swap or three dividend of sorts or invested in clean energy or things like that, you tend to get a little bit of a higher bang for your buck. I think because people are not realizing, at least directly, that they're going to be actually paying those surcharges, right? So this is, I don't think, unique to carbon tax. This is true of probably most sort of taxes in general, use taxes, right? People are really resistant to paying the cost of this, and I think it's safe to say that also explains some of the support for regulation, because people don't fully recognize that just because, I mean, we're regulating, your costs are going to go up, at least in the short term, but it's a less direct connection to get the mechanism, as you're suggesting. So I think that's a big part of the story.
>> So, two questions. First one really quick. I was surprised about the Fukushima didn't show up in the nuclear point, and then secondly, as far as the costs go, there is some current costs with, like, solar. I know there's a feature, expected cost, and then when I think about my desire to use solar, I know it's expensive now, the cost will go down. Whereas nuclear and coal probably won't. Did you see that in the data?
>> Right, so on your first point, on Fukushima. So this is reflected in our survey work, as well as others. There was a short, at least in the United States, there is a short-term decline in support for nuclear power after Fukushima that basically dissipated quickly thereafter, which is quite surprising given how much media coverage that accident got, but we didn't see the kind of response here that you saw in Germany. Right? They really moved away from nuclear power, even to go towards coal as an alternative, and so it really did not register much of an effect on U.S. opinion on nuclear power. This is very different than the case of Three Mile Island, which happened in the late 1970s, where support for nuclear power declined pretty quickly and never really recovered after that. So that's just, empirically, that's sort of the story. Been different cross nationally. At least, in the United States, it didn't have much of an effect. On your second question about cost, right? So I think it's a good question. I mean, I think one thing that's clear is that people have a misperception about the cost of renewables, and we're trying to get people to think about today. So, like, what the current situation is, right? Not so much about expectations of the future, but it's certainly possible that people are thinking about the future when they're responding to survey questions, right? I think what gives us some confidence that that's not happening, or at least it's not driving results, is the survey experiments where we actually can control the information that they're getting, or at least in the short term, right? And we can sort of see a shift in just those getting information, right, compared to that control. So it gives us some confidence that it's working the way we expect, but this is both a fun and challenging thing about studying in such a fast-moving area, right, is that solar costs are a lot different now than they were when we began this in 2002, right? And in some places, because of policy, it's actually reached parity with coal and natural gas, right, because of policy. So are people factoring that into their perceptions? I don't think much, because I think level of knowledge is pretty low still, but for some perhaps. Some of that is responsive, but that's kind of how, yeah, we think about it.
>> Thanks for your talk. I just had a question about energy efficiency and whether or not you [inaudible] or, you know, there are changes in the attitudes or values with that?
>> Yeah, so we did not look at this. So I can't speak to our data because we didn't ask any questions, at least, that wasn't part of our core analysis, but others have asked about energy efficiency. People are generally enthusiastic about energy efficiency. There's actually some polling going back to the 1970s from the oil crisis about energy efficiency, and, you know, the public, generally, at that time, and I think it's still true today, were very supportive of sort of it in principle. The question is how do you implement it, right? From a policy standpoint, I think we know less, whether it be a mandate or something else, but generally speaking, people are comfortable with energy efficiency if the mandates are being placed on, let's say, people who manufacture appliances, right? Or more efficient cars. I think, because, again, it goes back to this question about cost. People are not recognizing that that might increase their costs. So I can't say much more on that, but that's kind of what I know.
>> Go ahead, and then --
>> My question is about the, excuse me, the methods. Your survey methods and who you were talking to. I'm wondering, in part, whether this is, like, how big the samples were and whether they're representative of people across the country but also whether, I know a lot of surveys underrepresent young people because they don't have [inaudible], and so those graphs might look very different in 15 or 20 years, because you're not talking to some of those folks. So I'm wondering, and also, sort of voters versus non-voters, different regions of the country. Can you speak a little bit about those tactics?
>> Sure. So the surveys we did were all Internet surveys, but not getting too far in the weeds, most of the surveys were done by a firm called Knowledge Networks. They sense a change names. I forget their new name, which their basic method is to, they randomly contact folks through random digit dialing. They identify folks to respond to their surveys. They've created a massive, online sample of a couple of million people, and then they draw random samples from that, and you can weight it so it reflects the characteristics of the national population. So these surveys are all done of adults, 18 plus, voters and nonvoters alike, and they are done in a way, as long as the sampling is done correctly, to be representative of the public at large. The way that this particular company deals with the digital divide issue is that they essentially give Internet access free to those who don't have it. So they're capturing that segment of the population, which in 2002 was much larger than it is today, that didn't have Internet. Different than the cell phone question, which is more relevant if you're doing telephone surveys. People are less frequently doing telephone surveys for that reason. The cohort effect is a really interesting one, right? So we are capturing, you know, the population as it stands, in terms of composition across age, right? But it could be, and we do control for age. We control for region, all those kinds of things. So I don't think it's driving the results, but it could be that preferences differ in some parts of the country and for some ages, and over time, as those folks become a larger part of the sample, you might get to different kinds of results. So just, for example, young people tend to be less enthusiastic about nuclear power, right? So over time, if that continues, you might have something that looks even different on nuclear power, but these polls were designed to be reflective of the U.S. population, as it is at any given time in the survey.
>> Assuming that people's preferences stay relatively flat, based on their -- can you make any reasonable predictions about what those charts will look like in 10 or 15 years, just based on new demographics, which is cohorts moving up?
>> Yeah, I guess I would think about it a little differently? Because overall, the demographics are not playing a big part of the story, right? The big driving factors here are people's perceptions of these energy attributes, right? So I guess my response would be these attributes are going to change. Perceptions are going to change as things develop in the marketplace, right? So, for example, as the cost of solar and wind power come down because of technology improvements, we should see even more enthusiasm, right? If at the same time, if we were able to ever figure out carbon capture and storage technology, that is a way to make coal cleaner. You might actually see rising support for coal. So it's, on those two dimensions, making things cleaner or driving the cost down, as the market produces improvements or changes in those factors or other market conditions change generally, as we're seeing with natural gas, that's what I would expect to shift people's preferences over the long-term, but, you know, the age, party, region are just not playing, they're not big factors in our analysis. So you might find some cohort kind of effects, but I think they're kind of on the margins compared to these other things.
>> Thank you.
>> You've got a question back there.
>> You just mentioned party affiliation. I'm wondering how that affects the lack of popularity for carbon tax, if that was measured at all, and then the second question about The Carbon Tax was, use the word efficiency. I heard the word efficiency a couple of times and comparing carbon tax to policy. I'm wondering about effectiveness as opposed to efficiency, how those differ.
>> Right, and so when I was thinking about efficiency, it was sort of in the textbook way, right? So as people design a carbon tax or think about designing carbon taxes or even cap-and-trade, in terms of efficiency, what I have in mind is the fact that you can achieve the same level of reductions in whatever you're targeting. In this case, carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases, at a lower cost, right? The whole idea of the carbon tax or cap-and-trade is that reductions occur in places worth less costly to do so, right? And for CO2, you don't care where those actually occur geographically. So that's what I meant by efficiency. The ease of implementation is a little trickier because we don't have lots of examples of carbon taxes. There are a handful across the world, but nothing on the scale of an economy the size of the United States. So I think that's mostly a conceptual thing. We also know the answer to that, but people who thought about the design of carbon taxes, you know, you can sort of put them up stream in a way that they're not intrusive on consumers. They'll pay the cost, but the implementation is pretty straightforward. Your first question was about?
>> My first question was about party differences in the popularity or --
>> Right, so everything I showed you controls for both political party identification, as well as political ideology, and they're just not driving factors. Once you control for people's perceptions of harms and costs in these energy attitudes. On the carbon tax, specifically, you know, there is a divide. There is a divide, actually, on all those policy instruments by party. It's less true on regulation though, and this has been borne out as we speak on things like the EPA's Clean Power Plan, where the majorities of both parties generally express support for that kind of an approach, and not surprisingly, that's why the administration has been advocating this kind of approach, right? Because the public is at least less objective to it. I mean, they're objecting less, but there's actually pretty good support.
>> One last question.
>> I'm wondering what the messaging of the proposal for the cap-and-trade was back in 2009/2010. If that played a part in why that didn't get [inaudible] or if there was another kind of primary reason why that didn't happen.
>> Great question. There's actually been several different, lots of different, sort of retrospective analyses as to what happened with that piece of legislation, and in general narrative you hear, or people think, is that President Obama had to make a choice between healthcare and climate and he chose healthcare and put his personal weight behind it, but on messaging, you know, I think what you saw, it was presented as climate policy, not the energy policy. That's fair. Barry might disagree. But moreover, opponents, they didn't actually even say cap-and-trade. They said cap-and-tax, right? And they're looking at numbers like this from their own internal focus groups and polling and know that a tax is not very highly supported, right? So the message was to really make this about climate policy, rather than something else. I think the distinction is looking how the EPA has unrolled or unveiled the Clean Power Plant, which again, is basically about climate change, but they tend to use frames more about public health, a little bit about cost, trying to alleviate people's concerns. Is this going to lead to really high electricity prices? I guess mixed assess, and even when they talk about carbon, they say carbon pollution. That's not by accident, right? I mean, they're using the word pollution, because people don't like pollution, and it's easier to generate support doing something about it rather than thinking about climate change or sea-level rise or warmer temperatures or things like that. So think you are seeing a change over time in how folks in the administration, the EPA, and Washington are trying to talk about this issue.
>> All right, we have run out of time. Please join me again and thanking.
>> Thank you.
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