Americans often tell pollsters they want to see the government “do something” about global warming and then Congress draws up costly new proposals that would seriously impede economic growth in the US. When Americans are asked what costs they are willing to bear, and for what actual benefit for the environment, support “to do something” on global warming evaporates. A new poll by the National Center for Public Policy Research asked Americans how much they would be willing to pay for a gallon of gasoline in order to reduce carbon emissions. 48% said they were not willing to pay a single cent more and only 18% would pay the more than 50 cents that some plans in Congress would enforce.

Furthermore, when told that ending emissions from passenger vehicles all together would only reduce world wide greenhouse gases emissions by fractions of a percentage point, 58% of Americans said they were less likely to support action on global warming.