Cheap and Clean: How Americans Think about Energy in the Age of Global Warming

Stephen Ansolabehere and David M. Konisky. MIT, $27.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-262-02762-5
Ansolabehere (The End of Inequality) professor of government at Harvard, and Konisky (Superfund's Future), professor of public policy at Georgetown, guide readers to a single conclusion in this rigorous study of the nation's attitudes toward our energy supply. The authors base their work on a decade-long series of surveys that convincingly demonstrate that American citizens have a clear preference for energy that is both cheap and clean, regardless of its source. They further show that concerns over reducing local pollution outweigh price considerations. After they have driven home the first two points, the authors turn to policy implications for attempts at abating climate change. Americans, although concerned about local environmental harms are, as it turns out, unwilling to pay "substantially higher energy prices in order to substantially reduce carbon emissions." Yet, what Americans may support and Californians have already supported is legislation pitched as pollution control. In-depth statistical analyses make it clear that this work is intended for policy wonks, academics, and others who work on these issues at a high level, but it should nonetheless prove to be an important contribution to the ongoing debate over energy and environmental policy. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/15/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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