climate: the limits of public concern

August 2, 2009 has a new poll up showing worldwide desire for government action on climate change. But the pollsters didn’t ask people what it was they wanted governments to do, or how much they were prepared to pay for this unspecified action.

The Lowy Institute can fill in this gap, at least with regard to Australian opinion. We asked Australians in July 2008, ‘If it helped solve climate change, how much extra would you be willing to pay each month on your electricity bill?’  

As always, the public wants government to give it something for almost nothing. One suspects that global opinion would not be much different.

And thus the clamour for governments to ‘do something’ disappears in a puff of smoke. It’s really not so surprising — if the public clamour for action implied in the poll was real, then a lot more would already have happened and Copenhagen would look like a cakewalk right now.

via The Interpreter by Sam Roggeveen on 7/30/09