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U.S. Consumers: Companies Should Pay To Manage Climate Change

The fifth EcoPinion Survey from EcoAlign finds that consumers generally agree on the definition of climate change, the importance of reducing climate change and the role of the individual to reduce climate change. However, significant differences emerge on specific actions to be taken, questions of cost allocation and the role of government.

“Higher penalties on companies that contribute to climate change” was clearly the top response (61 percent) on the best way for society to pay for the costs of managing climate change, a nearly 45 percent differential with the next top response (16 percent) indicating “higher fees on products or services that contribute to climate change.”

But the report is full of seemingly contradictory findings and potential conflicts: Approximately one half (46 percent) of Americans surveyed believe individual citizens have the primary responsibility to reduce climate change, followed by the federal government (25 percent) and oil, gas and coal companies (10 percent).

Even though they have a feeling of responsibility, a majority of Americans (53 percent) were only “somewhat confident” or “not confident” that they personally can impact climate change through actions and purchasing decisions. Only 15 percent of Americans surveyed were “very confident” that they could make a personal impact.


One-third of respondents said that no utility bill increase is necessary to manage climate change and 44 percent said a less than 10 percent increase would be required.

The previous EcoPinion Survey, released in August, found that the Energy Star label is extremely or very important to 68 percent of consumers.

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2 thoughts on “U.S. Consumers: Companies Should Pay To Manage Climate Change

  1. An interesting survey, and encouraging in parts.

    Of course I have never come across anyone (though have seen a few blog posts that would suggest a few of a contrarian aspect) who, if asked, is against anything ‘good’ that is ‘green’.

    One also has to wonder to what extent it was made clear, or the respondents made the mental leap on their own and were still cool on the notion, that the personal cost to them of most company products usually includes any costs the company incurs, plus a bit.

  2. Let me respond to Peter’s question. EcoAlign framed the questions on cost as an increase in the utility bill which we feel will be one of the primary vehicles for paying any charges associated with climate change. While Peter is correct that most companies would not break out the cost for climate change in their pricing, utilities probably will do so because either they are required by regulation or because they want to make a distinction between their core costs and any additional costs associated with climate change.

    CEO, EcoAlign

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