Pietro Nivola at Brookings has a new discussion paper that provides, among other things, a useful discussion of where the American public is on climate change.
Superficial polling suggests relatively strong support, but when you probe deeper, the cracks show:
Majorities, in sum, dutifully nod at abstractions-for example, “doing more” to combat climate change. They may even appear to embrace the general labels of particular policy proposals (like “cap-and-trade”). And they say the Democrats can “handle” things better. But they jump ship as soon as they learn that “handling” (or “doing more” about) climate change is not a free ride. For environmental progressives, that reality cannot be ducked indefinitely. Their partisan rivals will make a potent case that adopting, say, a cap-and-trade program will effectively impose a tax increase.
This resonated for me after spending the day Friday talking to folks in Washington about what happened this past week in the U.S. Senate, with a series of votes that suggested enthusiasm for free climate lunches and not so much for action that might incur any costs.